As usual I try something and then wait so long to post that you’ve probably read about it in 100 other places. One of the recent things I’ve been experimenting with is Wesabe a social financial site in it’s early stages.

I try to keep tabs on my money and have managed to stay out of debt for most of my young life, including credit card debt. I’ve tried a lot of programs including MS Money, Quicken, KMoney, GnuCash, etc but all left me wanting. I just wanted something simple to tell where my money was going. I ended up not using all of them after a week or so.

Well I’m only a couple weeks in but I’m liking Wesabe more and more. Because of the social nature of the site it has a little more pull then just plain software. Users can share tips and goals which are attached to tags or merchants. When one of your transactions match the information for a tip or goal then it displays a link in you transaction log. You can also comment on tips or create your own for a specific merchant. There are already quite a few on gas, saving on groceries and vendors like Amazon. Many of the tips have a nice debate in the comments about what works for some and not for others.

Some of the features I like:

I was hesitant to use the site as I take privacy, security and my data seriously (though I’ve had lapses). With financial data I’m even a bit more wary and in fact I initially tested the site with information from a closed account. I’ve now moved up to using the site fully and feel at least some trust. What I like is that:

As libraries move into the recommendation and discovery area they will likely keep more data around. Add to that user-generated information and you have a privacy and data concern. I think it will be important to look at sites like Wesabe and see what they are doing. Can your patrons easily read and understand your privacy and data retention policies? Can they delete all of the data easily? Opt-out of aggregated data? These are important questions that should be answers prior to turning on the latest opac feature.