Monday, 4 February 2013

Review: About.me

About.me homepageThat's the trouble with this generation, it's all about Me. 

About.me is the best way for people to find your content and learn about you.

At least that's what About.me says of itself. I only became aware of it today thanks to fellow podcaster Olly Clark. Which must be something of a disappointment to service owners AOL, since the service has been running since 2009 and completely passed me by.

Unlike many of the current one-page web-site providers, About.me is specifically positioned as a free on-line business card with social media bells and whistles, especially for the time-poor, ego-rich, technically challenged, non-web-designer web-publishers.
About.me homepageConsisting of a single-page website, with a basic URL about.me/<yourname>, creating an account and a basic page takes about three minutes. The About.me interface is painless and almost elegant. In that time I selected my single photo background, entered my basic biography information, chose my social media accounts to link, authorised some social apps (my Twitter feed), set my colours and fonts, dragged my layout around and published my page. You can easily add links to just about any social/sharing/blogging service; Facebook profiles, Facebook Pages, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogger, Google+, Wordpress, TypePad, Foursquare, Flicker, YouTube, Vimedo, Instagram, and on and on

About.me homepageAll your links and data go in a bounded box that you click and drag where you want it on the background. That's it. Apart from colours and fonts, you don't need to mess with any special layouts or templates. It has responsive design so as you resize the browser window the background will smartly resize as much as it can to maintain your layout. That extends to mobile browsers, but I don't think you can edit the page on mobile (the iPhone app has limited editing capabilities).

About.me homepageYou can activate an About.me email address for yourself, which is useful to keep your real email off the landing page and away from spammers. About.me actively suggests sharing the URL via social networks, links in other sites, and it has a form for submitting the URL (or any URL) to Bing and Google.

From this perspective, About.me is an effective point-and-shoot, fire-and-forget site to pull together all your links and profile information.

Extras
Unusually there's no paid version of About.me, but it will sell you a matching set of business cards for the cost of shipping ($5.50) from Moo.com; your landing page background image on the front and contact details on the back. You can generate a QR code to send people with smartphones directly to your page. There's limited traffic stats, so you can see how many visitors you get (although not where they came from).

What It Is
  • A free service attempting to wrap your bio and all your feeds to show an activity of what you are doing online. Among examples from users:
    I link to my about.me page from my email signature, twitter and blog to centralize my online presence.
    I use my about.me page as my personal homepage so people can easily find the other places I am on the web.
  • A great place to create an "about me" page on the internet that will look good and point to all your other stuff until you decide to change it.
  • A high-level resume and a place to establish and market your online 'brand'.
About.me homepage What it's not
  • It's not necessarily a live feed of status updates. There's no status box to "update" or "tweet", although you can link it to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and a host of other social media accounts. 
  • It's not a replacement for real social networks  

Verdict
All in all its a nice site that offers a one-page profile site. It's almost idiot proof but you can still mess it up if you make the wrong photo and layout choices. And you still have to decide what your online 'brand' is and write your marketing text appropriately. No danger there, then. RC

https://about.me/

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