Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Future Lifestyle Aggregator

I'm haunted by this idea of a web app that will let people create plans for how they want their future lifestyles to be. The career plans we developed for Choices Planner include some lifestyle factors like your living arrangements and hobbies, but it doesn't help users find other people with similar interests and plans.

So I've been thinking about how to match people up again. One thing many current sites just aren't getting is that I want to see people who share the most number of my interests. Blogger profiles let me find all the people in the Blogger system who share any individual characteristic, like all the people who like The Weakerthans. But shouldn't there be one giant flashing button on my profile that shows me an ordered list of the people who have the most in common with me? There's probably somebody out there who has read a few of the same books, lives in the same province, has a couple of the same interests, and likes two or three of the same bands -- now that would be interesting!

It's the same limitation with Livejournal profiles. You can click individual interests, but can't combine them. Apparently a few years ago they offered the function to find "best matches", but it overloaded their servers. Surely the technology has come along far enough to facilitate that functionality. Webjay shows me other playlists sharing the most songs with one of my playlists, but the next step in connectivity would be to show me the people who share the most songs across all playlists -- what a great way to find new music that I'm likely to enjoy.

Flickr is doing some interesting things with photo tagging to relate groups of photos. I love "related-to" loops like that, but I'm also interested in finding the people behind the photos. Flicker does similar things to find people who share an interest and they've got great profiles. How to relate them? Wouldn't it be exceptionally cool to have a single click show me the people on Flickr who have the most similar photos (based on the most shared tags), and the most similar interests (hobbies, music, books, etc.)? From what I've seen from the Flickr folks, it's probably only a matter of time.

So, bringing it back to this idea of a site that lets me create a blueprint for my should also match me up with people who most closely share that future. Maybe it could even let me choose to find people who share my current interests and attributes as well as my future plans. Once I've found a few people like that, we could work toward our shared goals together, become friends, connect each other to resources, other people and experts we've found, and learn about the process. That sounds like real learning to me.

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