Identity Burro: making social sites more social.

Identity Burro Project Page.
[Impatients can check the Flash video or the Screeshots or directly install the script (current version 0.4).]
Identity Burro is a Greasemonkey script for Firefox that gives quick access to all the public aspects of a person: photos, blog, preferred sites, preferred songs, etc.
Precisely, when you navigate on the Web page of a certain user on (for example) Flickr, it inserts into the Web page links to the page of the same user on ,, Technorati, CiteULike, WebJay,, Rojo, 43things, 43places, AllConsuming, LiveJournal, Simpy (see Screenshots). And of course it works also on the other sites, i.e. when you are on page of user “alice”, links to the userpage of “alice” on the other sites are shown (see Screeshots).

An example? Have it. danah seems to use consistently the nick “zephoria” on social sites so you can try the extension with her Web presence (if you prefer to first watch and then try, you can see the Flash video of what will happen).
1. Just install Identity Burro script (or see install howto ).
2. Then visit (for example) zephoria page on Flickr or zephoria page on
3. Now on the left of the flickr or danah’s page, you see a box with some icons that links to the pages of danah on the other social sites (see screenshot).
4. You can also expand the box to see more descriptive text for links (see screenshot).
5. If you click, for example, on the icon, you land to zephoria page on
6. Can you think of another? Well, feel free to add it in the comments.

So basically when you find an interesting user on, say,, you can try to see (one-click-away) her photos of Flickr, and her blog, and her preferred songs on and Webjay, and the things she wants to do on 43things, and … Of course, sometime the user will have a different nick on different sites and in this case the script is not that useful (however see possible inprouvements) but, hey, it is only one-click-away so you can give it a try anyway, right?

Possible improvements
1. Assuming that a person has the same nickname on all the social sites is of course working on very limited cases. So what do we need? We need a parent place where an user can reasonably keep a link to all her identities (and possibly expressing them with a microformat, hIdentity?), and what better than your own blog? Possibly we could use OpenID, a decentralized identity system but I haven’t thought too much about it. Do you have any suggestion?
An OpenID identity is just a URL. You can have multiple identities in the same way you can have multiple URLs. All OpenID does is provide a way to prove that you own a URL (identity). And it does this without passing around your password, your email address, or anything you don’t want it to. There’s no profile exchange component at all: your profiile is your identity URL, but recipients of your identity can then learn more about you from any public, semantically interesting documents linked thereunder (FOAF, RSS, Atom, vCARD, etc.).
2. From a visual point of view, the HTML element inserted in the HTML page (divs, links, etc) inherits the CSS style of the current site. For example if flickr would have a black background and links in shocking pink, the IdentityBurro box would have them as well. Since I would like to have the same box, with the same colors and spaces between lines and fonts in all the possible sites, the question is: there is a way to clear all the previous set styles for an element? a sort of resetStyle? or somewhere a list of how all the CSS properties are set by default? If you have suggestions, the comments may be a good place where to place them. [In the code there is the variable resetStyle that tries to reset all the styles and it is prepended in every your_element.setAttribute("style",resetStyle+ "your specific inline css here")].
3.Still some sites to be added such: furl, wist, blogmarks, tagsurf, upcoming, jots, podcast, bloglines, smugsmug, bookswelike, Any more?
4. creating an ajax method that query google or yahoo! for “<username> blog” and creates a link with the first returned result (possibly the highest in the two combined queries) with anchor text such as “guessed blog of <username>”. For the ajax-power, I guess I need to steal, … ehm, take inspiration again from the fantastic bookburro code! ;-)
5. peritus was thinking about doing something with FOAF information as well. I can’t remember now precisely what.

Thanks to:
Jesse for providing the fabolous BookBurro Greasemonkey script and releasing it under Creative Commons “Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5”
Peritus for improuving the script in various ways.
– The mozilla community at large for providing Firefox, a web browser it is fun to play with (and hopefully, in the process, improuve it a bit).
– Otis Gospodnetic, creator of, for sending me by email the code for adding simpy to the list of supported sites that was introduced in version 0.4.

The script code is released under a Creative Commons “Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5” (since BookBurro code was). So feel free to play with it, improuve it, redistribute it, …

How to install Identity Burro
1. Install the Mozilla Firefox browser;
2. Install the Greasemonkey extension;
3. Install the Identity Burro script (current version 0.3).
[If you have problems, check the Flash video]

Flash Video of Identity Burro


Identity Burro collapsed on danah’s page on

Identity Burro expanded on danah’s page on

Identity Burro collapsed on danah’s page on flickr

Identity Burro expanded on danah’s page on flickr

Identity Burro collapsed on danah’s page on technorati

Identity Burro expanded on danah’s page on technorati

Identity Burro collapsed on danah’s page on citeulike

Identity Burro expanded on danah’s page on citeulike

Identity Burro collapsed on danah’s page on

Identity Burro expanded on danah’s page on

Identity Burro collapsed on danah’s page on 43things

Identity Burro collapsed on danah’s page on 43places

Identity Burro expanded on danah’s page on 43places

Identity Burro collapsed on danah’s page on allconsuming

Identity Burro expanded on danah’s page on allconsuming

The code is at

0.1 – initial release (working on flickr, and technorati) – July 17, 2005
0.2 – tweaked to add: citeulike, (+audioscrobbler), 43things/places/ideas/allconsuming, rojo and lj
       plus modified idburro() to create a collapse button/function 0.— Daniel Dockery,, Aug 15, 2005
0.3 – refactored the code a bit and cleaned it up (resetStyle, images are more separated from code).
       added and (however audioscrobbler has been incorporated into so the code is commented but maybe in future it will be useful again.
       added 2 todos. added some comments in the code. –Paolo Massa,, Aug 25, 2005
0.4 – added by Paolo Massa, the code was sent to Paolo via email by Otis Gospodnetic — Sep 1, 2005

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15 thoughts on “Identity Burro: making social sites more social.

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  3. paolo

    Since there will be more and more sites I risk to run out of space on the right.
    Next todo:
    – add a “configuration pop-up div” that an user can pop-up by clicking on a new icon and in which the user can select with some checkboxes the links she wants to be displayed. So an user can choose to just have displayed, say, 2 links out of the 20 or more that are possible.

    If you read this, feel free to do it of course ;-)

  4. paolo

    Flickr user “forteller” says:

    Wow.. that’s neat, and kind of freaky.. If you understand.. Well, just wanted to let you know that you’ve forgotten It would be cool if you could implement that one too. And if it’s possible for the script to get information from the different sites and just grey out, or remove from the list completly, those sites that doesn’t have a registered user with that username, that would be awsome! :)

  5. forteller

    I’ll post my comments here from now on.. :)
    I just remembered that I don’t think there’s any public accesible page for users, so just forget that feature request.

    But another thing that I would like “fixed” is that the page you’re at at the moment shouldn’t be showed in the list..

  6. zephoria

    I should note that i’m only using for apartment hunting; i’m using Y!MyWeb2.0 for actual social bookmarking (because i can do layers of access)

  7. paolo

    Hi danah! I’m using Y!MyWeb2.0 myself as well (in place of google) [i still think google has better usability and some small functionalities that make a difference, for example better correction of words when you type them wrong]

    Anyway the problem with Y!MyWeb2.0 is that it is not social at all. It is very difficult the find the identities of people and they don’t have a REST-like, meaningful, you-can-build-services-on-it URL. For example the URL of the page of your identity is
    Orrible. I know that you are working with Yahoo! so maybe you can try to fix this as well.

    Let me know if you use the extension and find something you would like to add.

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