22 Ways Skype's Digital Identity System Sucks


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Using Skype as an example, I deconstruct ways in which its user identity system doesn't fit the ways people think about themselves, present themselves in public, or interact in real life.

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  • In Skype's early days the software was not network friendly, and I ended up creating a laptop account in addition to my original account. Skype offers no way to consolidate this into one account, or to use such standard telecom features such as redirect or call forward from one account to the other.

    I have actually found use for having the two accounts, but I no longer need the two of them. I have a balance in the 'laptop account' and will use that up, then abandon the account. But the wise fail-safe is to check in on it, monthly ot bimonthly, just to see if someone who interacted with me on that account happened to attempt to reach me on it, unaware that I am retiring the account.

    My status on that account declares that I am retiring it, and gives the info for the preferred account.. But that has not prevented some well intended communicators from still trying to reach me using the laptop account.
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22 Ways Skype's Digital Identity System Sucks

  1. 22 WaysSkype’s Identity SystemSucksPhil Wolff, @evanwolf, phil@pde.cc
  2. Not to pick onSkype.Lots of other • I just know Skype wellcompanies run • I covered Skypesucky identity since launchsystems. • SkypeJournal.com9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 2
  3. Since 2003... Identity, privacy , portability came a longSmartphones way in nineFacebook years.Net NeutralityLinkedIn9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 3
  4. Created in 2003, Skype’ssystem ofusernames, directories, andprofiles is straight out of1993’s ICQ.9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 4
  5. Skype’s ID System Doesn’t Match How People Interact In The Real World PRIME FLAW9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 5
  6. Here’s what Skype could fix to serve a billion customers for the next generation.9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 6
  7. abnerdoubleday12345679 LETS’ START WITH SKYPE NAMES9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 7
  8. Unable to change your Skype name You should be able to change your username from MsSmithOfOhio to the NewlyMarriedMrsJones or to HappilyDivorcedMsSmith9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 1 8
  9. Unable to change your Skype name Changing your username shouldn’t mean changing accounts, burning your relationships, and abandoning your conversation history9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 1 9
  10. Unable to transfer Skype names are like domainyour Skype name names. You should be able to transfer them to someone else like any other property.9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 2 10
  11. I see deadpeople…9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 3 11
  12. Unable to RecycleAbandoned Skype Names • For every active Skype account, there are four fallow Skype names. • Some are from trials. From name changes. From dead users. • There’s no way to claim an abandoned name.9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 3 12
  13. Linked to OneEmail Address • Change your email? • You Lose your Skype account. • Lost history • Lost contacts9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 4 13
  14. No meaningful Data Exportdata portability Let My Data Go! • Profile • Contacts • Chat and Call History • Transactions • Permissions9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 5 14
  15. Our Data, Ourselves PROFILES SHOW OUR SELVES TO THE WORLD9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 15
  16. Skype Ties Administrative IdentityToo Tightly To Profiles9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 6 16
  17. Skype Ties Administrative IdentityToo Tightly To Profiles • Skype makes your profile the same as your billing account, the one used to sign in. •9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 6 17
  18. Skype Ties Administrative IdentityToo Tightly To Profiles • Skype makes your profile the same as your billing account, the one used to sign in. • Profiles should be separate from your account.9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 6 18
  19. Your Account isn’t Your ProfileAccount Profile• Authentic for billing • Authentic for context• Connecting you to • Connecting you to other Microsoft payments, people and organizations security, support9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 7 19
  20. Only One • I’m really supposed to show the same face toProfile Per everyone?Person9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 8 21
  21. Only One • I’m really supposed to show the same face toProfile Per everyone?Person • Each social context calls for a different persona.9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 8 22
  22. The many faces ofPhil Game of Facilitator Thrones Fan Poet Neighbor Yid Family Protoblogger Skype PunditNanotech PoliticalSupporter Activist Olympic Founder Quoran Product Labor Market Curling Fan Cinephile Manager9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM Technologist 8 23
  23. Only One • I’m really supposed to show the same face toProfile Per everyone?Person • Each social context calls for a different persona. • You should show as many personas as you want9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 8 24
  24. No Logic For ChoosingWhich Persona Is SeenAdd rulesso the right peopleinteract through best-fitting persona.9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 9 25
  25. No Logic For ChoosingWhich Persona Is Seen Bowling Buddy?9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 9 26
  26. 9 Bowling Buddy? SHOW:9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 9 27
  27. Personas Don’t Have TheirOwn Contacts• Let me map each contact to one or more of my personas• Bowling friends see my bowler persona• Easy to know how I’m perceived9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 10 28
  28. Presence isShallow Better: • Activity Streams Today: – I checked in at Farley’s East • Availability • Needs • Mood – I need a bowling partner for Thursday night • Intentions – Will be at offsite next week9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 11 29
  29. No Shared Personas • A Role Shared By Several People – “Front Desk” – “Emergency Contact” – “Shift Leader” – “Company Spokesperson”9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 12 30
  30. Presence Not Mapped ToPersonas • Each public should see the appropriate presence signal – I may be available for a family call but not for a work call • Manage interruptions based on who is calling9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 13 31
  31. Find Me! WE ARE PLURAL9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 32
  32. Shallow People Directory• Skype’s directory has too little data to find the right John, Wěi or Mohammed, among thousands• Enrich people search with geography, social proximity, interest, and other dimensions9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 14 33
  33. The OaklandModel Doesn’t Flower Club SteeringRecognize Groups CommitteeOf People • Create • Share • Find • Describe • Presence • List Members9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 15 34
  34. No Ability To • An update here shouldSynchronize trigger anSkype Address update thereBook With Other • Keep selected contact lists inContacts synch9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 16 35
  35. No Contacts • When Enterprise LDAP directory has theIncluded By freshest list ofReference departments, teams, a nd staff, just show it in Some my Skype client improvements with Microsoft, Facebo ok contacts in 2011, 20129/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 17 36
  36. No Identity Life Automatically provision SkypeCycle identities toManagement employees and members via SCIM and LDAP the way you manage email and other accounts9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 18 37
  37. PLAY WELL WITH OTHERS9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 38
  38. Won’t Use Foreign Logins Sign into Skype with Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Xbox, Bank IDs, National IDs9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 19 39
  39. Some progress in September 2012… Sign in with Messenger, Hotmail, Xbox, Facebook accounts9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 19 40
  40. Some progress in Merge September 2012…Microsoft and Skype accounts 9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 19 41
  41. Can’t Sign In With Skype Elsewhere Sign with Skype to Google, Facebook, Lin kedIn, Xbox, Banks9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 20 44
  42. • Update my work Profile Not persona on LinkedIn Sync’d Across Networks • See it fresh on Skype9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 21 45
  43. No Persona API • Personas should be programmable • The identity you share with others should be under your control • Open up APIs so personas can be written, changed and deleted remotely from other services • Your control over how you present yourself should start with the service of your choice9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 22 46
  44. To Recap…9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 47
  45. Skype’s ID System Doesn’t Match How People Interact In The Real World PRIME FLAW9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 48
  46. To Recap…• Problems with Skype Names and Profiles• Doesn’t Distinguish Accounts, Profiles and Personas• Doesn’t Understand Groups of People• Doesn’t Play Well With Others9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 49
  47. To Recap…1. Unable to change your 9. No Logic For Choosing 17. No Contacts Included By Skype name Which Persona Is Seen Reference2. Unable to transfer your 10. Personas Don’t Have Their 18. No Identity Life Cycle Skype name Own Contacts Management3. Unable to Recycle 11. Presence is Shallow 19. Won’t Use Foreign Logins Abandoned Skype Names 12. No Shared Personas 20. Can’t Sign In With Skype4. Linked to One Email 13. Presence Not Mapped To Elsewhere Address Personas 21. Profile Not Sync’d Across5. No Meaningful Export 14. Shallow People Directory Networks6. Skype Ties Administrative 15. Model Doesn’t Recognize 22. No Persona API Identity Too Tightly To Groups Of People Profiles 16. No Ability To Synchronize7. Your Account isn’t Your Skype Address Book With Profile Other Contacts8. Only One Profile Per Person9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 50
  48. That’s Skype. • They are motivated to do better • Identity builds their Microsoft partnerships • Identity expands consumer use cases • Identity responds to Enterprise demands9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 51
  49. How about your company? • Are you doing better? • What’s your identity roadmap? • What’s your personal data roadmap?9/30/2012 12:16:26 PM 52
  50. 22 WaysSkype’s Identity System SucksPhil Wolff Twitter @evanwolf Skype @evanwolfPersonal Data Journal +1-510-444-8234 about.me/evanwolfPersonal Data Ecosystem pwolff@dijest.comConsortium phil@pde.cc http://pde.cc