I’ve posted previously about social networking and the church, focusing particularly on the issue of identity because I believe it’s among the first technical issues to be addressed to make these efforts successful. Every social networking site in the world (and many other sites) require you to create an account to use the site. As Internet users create more and more online accounts, at some point fatigue sets in. I believe some users have already hit their limit. Clearly, this model isn’t scalable. In the previous post I referred to Dave Winer’s idea that Twitter might become a de facto identity system.
I made the mistake of going to OpenID.com and creating an ID there. When I tried to use that ID to log in to Plaxo, it errored out. I have no idea what OpenID.com is, but don’t use it to create an ID. Next I tried MyOpenID.com. See my ID here. It works, but I can’t say it’s ready for prime time. The Personna feature seems like a great idea, but at this point isn’t simple and intuitive enough for a noob like me.
Of course, one of the selling points of OpenID is that you don’t need to go to a provider like MyOpenID at all. People with a tiny bit of HTML ability can make their own. Also, I understand everyone on LiveJournal.com already has an OpenID automatically as part of that service. Google’s Blogger service is also now accepting OpenID authentication.
Bottom line: this technology is very early in the maturity/adoption curve, but it has definite possibilities. Keep an eye on it.