One of the challenges of managing multiple online social profiles, is they serve as information islands, making it difficult to get a complete snapshot of what is going on with a given “friend” or “connection” and their various social profiles. There are products like Xobni (reviewed here) which has features to centralize some social profiles information, but that works only with Outlook, what about Gmail or other email systems? Anyone use a Mac? The point is, until now it has been difficult to centralize information for a given connection without doing a bunch of manual searches, and data harvesting. If you are an online marketer, you should be excited about this proposition. This post will cover the initial impressions of Gist, a web-based service to help you, as their website says “know more about who you know.”
Social networks are great, and can be an excellent tool to connect with people you might never do otherwise. Getting all that information together on one view has been a difficult task. What the folks at Gist have set out to do, is unify that information in their interface.
My Initial Impression
After signing up for the beta (here), I got access right away to their online service. There are videos explaining the service, and they even give you sample data to review.
Setup: I was excited to see they support so many platforms. Outlook, Gmail, IMAP Email systems, LinkedIn, Salesforce, Facebook, Twitter, and even CSV imports. As a test, I decided to use their Facebook integration to bring in my friends there.
What I Like (so far) about Gist
After doing the initial import of my Facebook friends I began to realize why this could be such a useful service.
- Search: You can easily find contacts by just typing in their name in the search box in the top.
- Snapshot: When looking at a contact, it shows a “What’s New” box in the left column under their contact details. On the right side, it shows the results of a Google Search for the contact name.
- Correspondence: I decided to go ahead and plug-in my Gmail account to the system, and shortly afterward, there were all kinds of useful pieces of information presented as it pertains to email exchanges I’ve had, and even my calendar items. When I looked at an individual contact, it showed me recent correspondences, and even called out links shared in those emails.
- Dossier: This is a link on each contact, click it, and it gathers a summary of recent activities where the contact is featured or mentioned. Sections for one of my contacts included, News About Contact, Posts & Tweets from Contact, Emails between you and Contact, and lastly Links and Attachments. This summary windows has a print button in the lower right as well.
- Intelligence: I decided to update a contact with their website only. Click save… and then Gist started thinking… It refreshed the contact portion of the page, and it also added the Twitter ID, RSS feed, and other social contact information it could find (didn’t find LinkedIn for some reason).
Here is the screenshot of what Gist shows on Social Media guru Chris Brogan:
*It is worth noting there is an Outlook plug-in, as well as a tie to SalesForce (I’ve not tested yet).
What I Don’t Like About Gist (so far)
It’s All About Import: I was disappointed that the program only imports contacts, and doesn’t actually sync them with your social media profiles. This means if you get more Facebook friends, you need to re-import them. For LinkedIn connections you actually have to export from LinkedIn, and then import as a CSV file.
For Twitter integration currently it only imports up to 1000 of the people you follow. Gmail you must enable IMAP functionality in your Gmail settings for it to work.
Bottomline on Gist
This is a product that the marketplace has a need for. For marketers, it is all about speed of information, so that you can provide timely (even real time) responses to your contacts, and get the pulse of your followers. With Gist, you can get a quick snapshot of what is going on with key contacts, giving you the opportunity to provide more meaningful engagement in the process.
If they can start enabling a more seamless data import or sync functionality it will certainly result in more adoption of the product. Based on what is on their site, they seem to be a well funded startup (which is key in this economy), but I have no word from them one way or the other on future features.
I say, get started now, and see if you can’t take advantage of the current feature set. I think it is going to be addicting. If you start now, you’ll be in a good place to take advantage of whatever improvements they do have coming. That’s the Gist of it! (couldn’t resist).
It’s Your Turn. Chime in below with comments, feedback, perhaps you have reviewed the product and have something to add. What features would you need in a product like Gist for you to use it?