Lanyrd has launched. It’s a social conference directory. You log in using your Twitter credentials. It sounds like a neat idea. Obviously I need to complain about it…
Lanyrd is for Twitter users, and no one else. Got a Twitter account? Click the gigantic “Sign in with twitter” button. Don’t have a Twitter account? Sorry, you can’t use it. I could not find any way to create an account, or even login using an OpenID. Twitter users only are invited to this party.
Now, I’ve been a fan of Simon Willison for many years. He’s a blogger/developer who has done a lot of interesting things. He’s even written a lot about OpenID over the years. I sort of feel like that’s all been thrown out the window with the launch of Lanyrd. Twitter is your only identity.
Now, to be fair to Simon, I have no idea what is planned for Lanyrd, and it may grow to support other identity options, or maybe it’s just another tool that was built for, and works specifically with Twitter. It does make sense, as it would use your Twitter network to make all the connections.
But part of me sees this fracturing of the web, and makes me a little depressed. If Lanyrd was a services I wanted to use and I was not a Twitter user, I’d feel excluded. It makes me feel like Twitter is my main identity online, and I guess that bothers me. I’ve been using things like usernames, and emails, and even URLs to log in to web sites for years, but now it’s just my Twitter account. Don’t have a Twitter account? You’re out of luck.
Again, I don’t mean to be hard on Lanyrd or single them out… I guess I just see sort of thing as another step in the centralized identity that you can’t really own, and I’m a fan of decentralizing things.
I guess the old method of making connections would be something like:
- Create account.
- Verify account.
- Provide your email address, or Gmail account info, or address book, or some other means of exposing your connections (including perhaps, your Twitter info.)
- Have the system attempt to make connections for you.
- Approve the connections you want to make.
Yes, that’s probably inefficient, and a lot more work, but sometimes freedom comes at a price. There must be some sort of middle ground between making a system elegant, simple, and easy to use, and providing choices. I just don’t know where that middle ground is.
FOAF probably isn’t the answer. XFN probably isn’t the answer. OpenID isn’t the answer in this case… Maybe giving up and accepting the giving away of your identity to a free service is the only option.