Introducing Collections: Pinterest for People

Have you ever found an about.me page, then wanted to find it again later but couldn’t? We have. Being able to remember and find an about.me page can mean the difference between making that connection, a key introduction or getting the job.

And now with our new dashboard feed and Quick View, it’s easier than ever to browse lots of about.me pages. Since our dashboard feed launch, each person is viewing an average of 66 people per visit! With that kind of volume, it’s difficult to remember everyone you come across. And with that in mind, we built Collections.

Collections allow you to save and remember the people you come across on about.me. It’s like Pinterest for people.

Tony Conrad's Collections

Curate Interesting People

You can title your Collection whatever makes you happy and you can make it private or public. You can share your Collections or even embed them in your website. To kick start your Collections, we’ve made one each of your Twitter and Facebook friends who have about.me pages.

Journalists

How to use collections

Veronica

  1. On every page and thumbnail, there’s a “+” button, which adds a page to a Collection.
  2. After you click the “+” button, you can add that page to a new or existing Collection.
  3. Then easily access that person by visiting your Collections page.

Discover new people

Collections are also a great way to discover new people on about.me. It’s fun and easy to browse other people’s Collections. It’s particularly interesting to browse Collections to which you’ve been added. Here are some fun Collections to browse from Ryan and Tony:

Tony Conrad's "Artists" Colleciton

Enjoy! The about.me team

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about.me Releases Major Update to App for iPhone & iPod touch

Today we’re excited to announce a revamped about.me app for iOS 7 and web dashboard, both featuring an elegantly-designed home stream that is all about making new connections. The new mobile and web views encourage you to learn more about people interested in you and discover people you have things in common with. about.me is the best starting point for your personal identity on the web, and the new discovery and connection features are a natural progression of our long term vision.

When my co-founder Tony Conrad and I decided to buy our company back, our focus was intent on unlocking the potential we see at the heart of what makes about.me work. Much of our belief in the product remains based in the fantastic feedback we get from our users about the role their pages play in their lives.

Ryan Freitas Dashboard image

Our millions of users have a tremendous affinity for the product, and for the opportunity to discover and engage with others through their pages. Our users take time to build fantastic looking pages, making about.me an ideal starting point to learn more about people interested in you and to discover people with whom you have things in common. The more we listened to what our users had to say, the more we understood where we wanted to take about.me next. We want to take engagement and discovery one step further, to make them the best possible extension of the identity services we currently provide. Where better to explore that opportunity than with our app for iPhone and iPod touch.

connect app screenshot    collections modal screenshot    collections app screenshots

The new version of the about.me iOS app is all about who is engaging with you. We’ve built an elegant view of pages that aggregates the most relevant pages for you – from people who recently viewed or interacted with your page to people who are around you geographically or share your interests. Even more impressively, we can build a stream of just those users who have engaged with you on your connected services. New followers from Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn can show up in the stream, offering more context about the people who are interested in you.

The about.me app is visually driven, making the user’s profile photo the star. Bios and common networks are available to provide additional information, with the option to click through to learn more about each person. When you uncover a new page you’re interested in, save it to a collection, send a compliment or send an email to your new connection all from within the app.

The more time we spent building the app and interacting with the new feeds, the more the about.me team fell in love with the big visuals and the simplified ways to engage with other users. When given the choice of using our Dashboard in the browser or the streams in the mobile app prototype, all of us agreed: the app was a tremendous amount of fun. At that point the decision was a simple one, and so in tandem with our release of about.me’s 2.0 version, we’re rolling out a brand new Dashboard interface that mirrors the new app’s highly visual streams. A unified experience for a product and a team on its first independent steps towards fulfilling our long term vision.

dashboard home screenshot  image

Tony, the team, and I could not be more excited for what we’re announcing today. We’re asserting the future of the product and our company, and we did it by listening to the people we’ve built it for. We want to thank our users for letting us continue to make it all about them.

The about.me App is available for free from the App Store on iPhone and iPod touch.

NEXT

The story of about.me‘s creation, acquisition and recent spin out tends to generate a lot of interest and conversation. “Why did we start about.me?” very quickly leads to “what are you going to do with it next?”

When I think about the “why” behind building about.me, I tend to reflect on my own history with other founders. Over the past decade and a half, I’ve been lucky to work with a number of entrepreneurs I consider to be “founders of movements”: Matt Mullenweg (WordPress), James Freeman (Blue Bottle Coffee), Bre Pettis (MakerBot), Kevin Rose (Digg), Philip Rosedale (High Fidelity), and Jeff Veen (Typekit) to name a few. These founders create more than great companies, they put things in motion, envisioning at their inception a way of life that doesn’t exist yet. They have an innate sense of how others will engage with the products they build and what impact that might have on the world.

The “Why” is easy. When we founded about.me in 2011, we weren’t simply looking to build a better widget. Instead, Ryan, Tim and I wanted to build something that reframed social media so that everyone on the planet could assert their own identity. We wanted to offer everyone more control over how they represent themselves online. At that time, everyone was talking about social media – whether it was Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. These services provide incredibly important functions in our lives (and for the record, are personally three of my favorite services), but one of the things that really frustrated us was the lack of unity as to how they treated and displayed identity.

About.me Photography

Identity is a confusing topic (Evan wrote an excellent piece a few years ago that’s still fairly comprehensive – I’d add “wearables” to the list but for now I think he’s covered the essentials) and it definitely involves more than how you represent yourself online.  But online has become the most effective environment for people to discover and interact with you at scale and we believe it’s incredibly important to have a starting point online for people to learn more about you.

The social media movement fragmented our identities in ways that don’t align with the 360 degree view we have of ourselves. This fragmentation is an unintended consequence of being active on services that represent different aspects of our personalities (i.e., you are a different person on Twitter than you are on LinkedIn or Facebook, etc.). Said another way, you are not the sum of your Tweets, you are not solely defined by your professional experiences/ accomplishments, and you’re most definitely not defined by your social graph. These are all important facets of our identity but none should be given the lead role of defining us. We believe that YOU should define YOU. YOU should navigate people interested in learning more about YOU to a page that introduces YOU on YOUR terms, not leaving it to focused services or a Google algorithm to define YOU.

post-it-man

The about.me team believes that representation with a minimum of additional work or other obligations required (friend requests, constant content creation, etc.) is the basic foundation of identity. These are requirements in order to be a clear identity platform and tackle the areas Evan discusses.  The fundamental power of about.me is its simplicity – the ability to reach a broad audience hinged on it being nimble, flexible, easy to understand, easy to use, beautiful, meaningful. And we believe the person with no tech experience and the 21 year old uber coder can both have an equally profound, pertinent experience with about.me. That’s hopefully seeding a movement of people taking back control of the starting point of their identity.

faves

Every day we see the value we create for people. By giving them a set of tools to curate a page that represents how they see themselves, how to get in touch with them and what they’d like you to do when you visit their page (e.g. pre-order my book, follow me on Twitter, hire me to cater your event, support charity: water, etc. – the list is endless), the power is visible.

As our platform has quickly grown to millions and millions of users, our vision for what role about.me plays in people’s lives has evolved from being your starting point to share how you view yourself to the world to being the best way to discover, learn more about and connect with people who are interested in you combined with an easy way to discover new people with whom you have things in common.

We’re seriously excited about this evolution in how we view about.me. It opens up a ton of opportunities for our new mobile app and dashboard (I can’t tell you too many more details but next week should be a fun week for our users and the about.me team who have been heads down since we bought back about.me!) to marry identity with ways to learn more about people interested in you and to discover and connect with people you have things in common with: interests (woodworkers, photographers, investors, kiteboarding, triathletes), location (home town, places you’ve lived, current city), education (high school, college) and work (first real job, places you’ve worked, current gig).

Stay tuned!

Introducing about.me premium

We’re thrilled to announce that the first version of about.me premium is now available. Using about.me on your own personal domain has been one of the top requested features from our users and is now ready to use!

Having your about.me page on your custom domain (example: yourname.com) is the ultimate in personal branding and is a great way to come up on the first page for a Google search for you name. Here’s what you get in addition to the free features:

Domain Mapping

Display your about.me page on your custom domain. If you don’t currently have a custom domain, we makes it easy to purchase a custom domain through Namecheap.com after you upgrade.

Remove about.me Navigation Bar

Minimize the about.me branding on your page and create a cleaner look by removing the top navigation bar.

Google Analytics

Add Google Analytics to your site to get more in-depth statistics about your page.

Priority Support

Get to the front of the line with any support or help request.

Ryan Freitas on about.me

If you already have an about.me page, head over to about.me/upgrade to upgrade your account to about.me premium. If you don’t have an about.me page, please sign up and you’ll be able to upgrade after you create your page. Signing up takes less than two minutes.

About.me premium is the natural progression of our main goal to provide you with the best starting point for your personal identity service on the web. We are interested in hearing your feedback about premium and any features you’d like to see in the future.

Thanks,

about.me team

Wefollow Joins about.me

We’re excited to announce that about.me has acquired Wefollow. The Wefollow service is a beautifully designed directory that enables people to discover others with common interests (e.g. sports, politics, comedy, etc.).

Wefollow started as a Twitter directory in 2009 and was founded by Jeff Hodsdon and Kevin Rose when they were still at Digg. When Digg was sold in 2012, Jeff re-purchased Wefollow and began building it to where it is today. Wefollow has since grown to a community of over 1.3 million users.

This is an exciting step forward in the evolution of about.me as a service and as a company. As about.me continues to grow, it’s increasingly important that we simplify the way users discover people on the about.me platform. Discovery has quickly become one of the most popular uses of about.me and represents a significant opportunity for us to further evolve our platform.

Wefollow’s prominence scores and algorithms help organize and surface users, and will become a key search offering as about.me enhances people discovery on our platform. Eventually, the Wefollow service will be merged with our own and integrated under the about.me brand. In the short term, as we complete an integration of our two products, Wefollow will continue to operate as a stand-alone property.

We are beyond thrilled. Jeff is an amazing talent and a perfect fit with our team and product focus. He will contribute expertise in building beautifully designed consumer web products. We’ve known Jeff for several years, having first met him when he was a co-founder in Milk with Kevin, a True Ventures investment that was acquired by Google last year. Kevin is the lead investor from Google Ventures in about.me, so there is perfect continuity going forward. Jeff will join about.me’s A-list development team with a broad product and engineering role around people discovery and growth. He will work closely with both Ryan and I as well as CTO Andy Hao and the team on product and growth initiatives.

Ryan Freitas & Tony Conrad

Ryen Freitas on about.me Tony Conrad on about.me

For more coverage check out Alexia’s post on TechCrunch

And more from the Wefollow Blog!

Your Video: Front and Center

Last week we announced the ability to play a featured video on your page. Since the news, the diversity and quality of videos shown on about.me has been amazing. Here are just a few of the pages that caught our eye, feel free to add your url in the comments!

bjoekoe on about.meFrom backpackers to reporters, learning about a persons has never been easier. jackyhabib on about.meVideo provides a rich experience on your page that adds to your bio, networks, and contact information.

christiananderl on about.me

Whether purely creative or primarily informative, video is a perfect way to introduce yourself. andrewelias on about.me

Know of a few more pages with a great video? Add them in the comments, and we’ll be sure to share the best ones with the community.

Daniel Ciurlizza's about.me page

Your Tunes Take Center Stage

Last week we announced the ability to display featured content inside the bio box, including audio tracks and sets from Soundcloud. In fewer than 7 days, thousands of people added audio of all types to their pages, from guitar and voiceover artists, to electronic and hip-hop producers.

Branchez-Music

Like New York City-based producer Branchez, anyone can embed audio from Soundcloud by pasting a link into their bio’s featured content section.

Here are some great examples of how musicians on about.me are making the most of their page:

Nate Maingard

Guy Galaxo's about.me page

Great artwork can help your page stand out, but sometimes it’s best to let personality shine.
Real Chanty's About.me Profile

Chris Ward's About.me PageWho knew there were so many talented musician on about.me? But Soundcloud isn’t only for musicians. Podcasters, radio personalities and sound designers can now put audio on their page as well. What other uses have you discovered for audio on your about.me page? Let us know in the comments!

Soundcloud, Youtube, Vimeo, and Blog

Today we are thrilled to launch a new way to show off some of the content that makes you unique. Choose from your latest Soundcloud, Vimeo, YouTube or blog content to display in your bio box. Keep it fresh by updating when you have new sounds or video to share.

SG69

With the help of Soundcloud, you can embed public tracks, sets or even profiles right on your about.me page. http://about.me/rachelzevita In addition to Soundcloud, we have also added the ability to embed a video or recent blog links directly into your bio box. ScreenGrab- How to add content To include a Youtube or Vimeo video, add the video (not channel) URL.  We want to see what you’re up to! Tweet your updated page with the hashtag #aboutme as we’ll be sharing and featuring the ones we see!

about.me/jacobhartog

Not on Twitter? Just add your page in the comments below. We will choose the best pages with audio or video to highlight next week. Time to update your about.me!

Add a Facebook background and share to your Timeline

We’ve just added the option to connect your about.me page to your Facebook Timeline. With this, instantly share important updates to your page seamlessly to your friends and fans on Facebook.

Screen Shot 2013-02-27 at 2.32.22 PM

You have completely control over what gets added to your timeline. Show off when you update your background, get added to a directory, or compliment another person’s page! It’s a great way to provide updates to the people you are connected to.

Screen Shot 2013-02-27 at 3.30.25 PM

We also now offer your Facebook images as background options on your about.me page. Head to your Background tab for this additional option. Be sure to connect to Facebook on your page to take advantage of these features.

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What better time to freshen up your background? Then share it to your friends and fans!

about.me goes independent

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The new year is a great time for fresh beginnings, something the about.me team learned early in our history. Just a few short days after our public launch in December 2010, we shared the exciting news that we’d been acquired by AOL. We committed ourselves then to building the best product to make it easy for people to learn about you and to find your content on the web.

Twenty-four months and several million about.me pages later, we continue our commitment to building the best personal identity service on the web. During the past two years, we’ve been thankful for the tremendous resources and support of our friends and partners at AOL.

Today, we’re thrilled to announce that we’ll be spinning about.me back out, returning to life as an independent company that is financially backed by our management team and a truly amazing group of investors who have backed companies such as WordPress and Google. Our team will remain the same for the most part, and we’ll continue our roles as co-founders.

Our commitment is to make about.me the web’s starting point for identity – we believe everyone will eventually have an about.me page they integrate into their email signature, add to their Twitter Bio or embed in one of their blogs. Very few products have a legitimate shot at becoming ubiquitous and we think building about.me as an independent company is the best way to get us there.

For those who ask, “what comes next?” we can only promise that many things our users have been asking for (in our forums, on Twitter, and when we meet them face to face) are on our roadmap. To allay any anxiety about what we’ve got planned, we’ve updated our original TOS and Privacy Policy, updated for 2013. You can update your account settings here.

Thanks to everyone for helping make this happen. We are really excited about this change, and hope you are as well. More good news to come…stay tuned!

Ryan Freitas & Tony Conrad

ryanandtony

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