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Programming Social Applications by Jonathan LeBlanc

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The User Profile

A user’s profile (Figure 1-1) consists of personal information, such as name, birthday, websites, interests, photos, location, and a host of other details that he chooses to provide for friends (or the whole world, depending on the privacy settings specified) to see.

Basic user profile

Figure 1-1. Basic user profile

From a development perspective, the user profile is a gold mine of information the developer can use to construct applications that provide a highly targeted and personalized user experience. Many users of social networking containers want to provide as much information about themselves as possible. They want to create their own little corner of the Web, where they can communicate with friends, store photos, or perform any other social networking actions they wish. In addition, many containers provide statistics on how complete a profile is, prompting users to complete their entire profile and engage with the container as much as they can. For containers, this feature helps them develop an engaged user base and increase their daily active users, which in turn benefits application developers as they attempt to personalize applications for each user.

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