Take my picture, please

I’ve been testing out a couple of relatively new social networking sites lately — FriendFeed and brightkite. Both reminded me of a pet peeve I have about social networking sites: they all want your picture, but they don’t make it easy for you.

They want you to upload a jpg from your computer. I’m not so vain that I keep a jpg of my mug on my desktop ready for easy uploading. And I’m too lazy to go digging around for it every time I want to test out a site. A good chunk — 40% of my friends on FriendFeed — are lazy, too. As a result, they all get the same icon, decreasing the usability of the site.

My profile pictureHere’s a simple idea: steal my Facebook picture, or my flickr picture, or my twitter picture. (I’m in blue, for those who are wondering.) Easy enough to do. FriendFeed already synchronizes my friends list with Facebook.

Yes, I know not everyone uses twitter or flickr. But their primary audience right now is the Great Silicon Valley Echo Chamber. They do. And Facebook only has a 100 million or so users.

An alternative, which WordPress uses for commenters, is to generate a custom icon for each user. It won’t remind people what I look like, but it will help distinguish one user from another.


About Rakesh Agrawal

Rakesh Agrawal is Senior Director of product at Amazon (Audible). Previously, he launched local and mobile products for Microsoft and AOL. He tweets at @rakeshlobster.
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2 Responses to Take my picture, please

  1. Clint Pidlubny says:

    Good point, how about allow people to use the millions of useless cameras on their cell phones to email a photo to their social site of choice.

  2. Facebook and flickr already do that. It’s hacky and clumsy (thank you wireless carriers!), but it can be done.

    Here are all the pictures I’ve uploaded to flickr from my cell phone.

    Now I just need the option to transmit location with it so the pictures can be automatically geotagged.

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