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Despite my best efforts, I can easily get lost on the web. And in doing so, I let some things fall into neglect, like social network identities that I should tend to, or blog content that I should update. It would be really great if I could keep everything in one place. There are sites that try to aggregate these kinds of things for you so that you don’t lose track of them, but I haven’t yet found one that was comprehensive and simple enough to prove useful on a continuing basis. Chi.mp is a new identity management service that looks like it will provide a solution.
Chi.mp gives you a web site to consolidate your contact info and blog/social network content in one convenient location, at a unique URL within the “.mp” top-level domain. It’s a new service, and they’ve only just opened up registration, so you might still be able to sign up and get “yourname.mp” (I snagged darrelletherington.mp). It also serves as an OpenID provider, so you can use your Chi.mp account to sign into other sites that use OpenID. A free domain including a site that requires no HTML knowledge struck me as a fairly attractive package.
Your Chi.mp site is divided into “Profile Items” and “Content Items.” Under the Profile Items tab, you can enter contact information, employment history, education details and more biographical information. Think of it as a plug-and-play web-based CV, complete with links to our work online and an integrated portfolio.
In your Content Items, you can import contacts, updates and other info from a number of popular web services. You can also publish status updates to Facebook and Twitter from directly within Chi.mp, and choose to display your Twitter stream on your profile. All together, thanks to Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Hotmail support, most people should be able to aggregate a fairly comprehensive address book through Chi.mp with little trouble. Unfortunately, it’s missing the option to import contacts from Facebook, which would make it a lot more useful.
All of your imported contacts are stored in your “Ultimate Black Book” located under your Contacts tab. You can add new contacts and edit existing contacts from this page as well. You can also tag contacts for easy searching and grouping, and merge the duplicates that are bound to occur if you’re importing from a variety of address books. Chi.mp helpfully auto-detects duplicate contacts.
Like Facebook, Chi.mp offers you the ability to control the level of access people have to your profile. It does so through “Personas,” which are divided in to three categories. You have “Public,” “Work” and “Friends” Personas, each of which can be customized completely according to your taste.
Aside from integrating many outside services, Chi.mp also offers its own blogging and photo uploading features. These are very nice features to have if you’d like your Chi.mp profile ito be the go-to spot for all your online activity. Chi.mp’s blogging service is rudimentary, but completely adequate for most people’s usage. It works like Posterous and other mini-blogging services, giving you just the basics without the non-essential frills of more complete blogging systems.
In addition to offering customizable content and service integration, Chi.mp also gives you some control over your site’s look and feel. Design options include the ability to choose from a number of pre-set themes, and you can even design your own (limited) theme from scratch if you feel so inclined. You can also add your very own favicon, which many comparable services don’t allow.
It’s a very impressive service overall, and clearly designed to be completely user-oriented. You can even export your entire site with the click of a button, which includes your contacts as a vCard file, your blog posts as HTML, and more. Best of all, it’s completely free. Web workers could definitely do much worse for a comprehensive identity management platform.
What do you use for online identity management?