You would probably ask, ” I already use so many services – Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Flickr, YouTube etc on a regular basis, what’s the need for another one?”
Well, about.me is not really just ‘another one’ , it’s a service meant to put together all your other services. It’s a neat way to merge your multiple online profiles scattered across different service providers in one single identity – either for your personal use or for professional purposes.
For me the professional angle sounds more interesting. Imagine if you could have clickable links on your business card to your LinkedIn, your resume, your portfolio, client testimonials etc, about.me is exactly like that. It’s basically your business card online with links to the services which promotes you and gives the visitor an idea as who you are. So next time rather than providing someone with multiple links to your online accounts just direct them to your about.me page.
In this post I will walk you through the story of about.me in brief, then visit some nice about.me pages to gather inspiration and then proceed step by step to create one.
Launched in December 2010, by Ryan Freitas, Tony Conrad and Timothy Young, the San Francisco-based startup was acquired by AOL within four days of launch. Brad Garlinghouse, President of Consumer Applications, AOL, quoted “about.me is more than just the aggregation of social profiles, it allows people to easily express themselves in an increasingly noisy environment full of disparate social experiences”. The acquisition according to Young will enable the service to “piggyback” on the AOL’s large userbase.
The success of about.me, I believe comes from the fact that a true personal brand identity is associated with the .me domain. The site uses a very simple user interface, allowing users to set up their page in a few minutes, backed by strong back-end analytics which make it easy for a user to see how many people viewed their profile pages and which social networks they went on to view from there, thus providing users with deeper insight into how to build and market themselves online.
For inspiration you can checkout the pages in the featured section found on the bottom of the first page and the pages of the founders of the site.
Page of Tony Conrad, one of the founders of about.me (http://about.me/tonyconrad)
Page of Ryan Freitas, another founder of about.me (http://about.me/ryanchris)
Creating your own page
Step 1 : Sign up
Start by signing up and creating a unique url for you as about.me/your-name
Step 2 : Register
Register your name, write a short biography about yourself or leave it for later. Choose the tags which you think are appropriate to you or your work.
Step 3 : Customize Background
Your page is now online! Customize your page by changing the background, there are some in-house templates that you can use. However since about.me is all about branding yourself try using a high-resolution image of your own to fill up the entire screen, works pretty well for most of the pages
Step 4 : Biography
The next step is writing a short Biography, here you can write something about who you are and what you do, if you have skipped it in step 2.
Step 5 : Color and Font settings
Edit the colors to suit your background and your taste. Change the font likewise.
Step 6 : Add services
Now this is the most important part of setting up the page, adding the services. There are a few popular services. Choose the ones you are subscribed to and would like to add to your profile. Once you click and choose any of them you will be redirected to the website of the service, where you need to login once and approve permission. You are automatically redirected back to your about.me page once you have authorized the use of the service.
Step 7 : Add contact preferences
Set up your contact preferences using the contact tab. I have selected email contact and AOL chat option, which remains visible on my profile.
Step 8 : Using Analytics
Click on the Dashboard and select ‘Profile Statistics’ to view how many people have visited your website.
Click on the ‘clicks’ tab and you can view the statistics of your added services that were visited in the selected timeframe. I believe this is a very good feature in analyzing which of your online profiles are most viewed, and as I have said earlier it can serve as a useful insight to brand yourself.
Step 9: Find friends
Click on the Account and select ‘Find Your Friends’ option to see who are already on about.me. Once you find your friends from your other networks you can ‘fave’ their profile, and it will be added to your favorites.
Step 10 : Ready to go
The last step is sharing your newly made page with your friends on other networks who are not yet on about.me or are not aware of this service. Inspire them to join or have a look at your page by selecting ‘Share Your Profile’ from the Account tab. You can alternatively send emails with link to this page using the e-mail option.
So there,my friend is my business card online. Its simple, sleek and easy to share.
Prithu Banerjee a.k.a. Prit is a graphic design consultant. He lives in Sweden and has recently started his firm twopointzero.se which specializes in web 2.0 consultancy for startup and mid sized companies. He loves traveling, exploring and experiencing different cultures and cuisines.