Best tool to view for all your business contacts. Manage LinkedIn, Outlook, Twitter, Facebook and Gmail with Gist.

I’m a huge fan of Gist“Your contacts are everywhere. In email, social networks, and many other sources. Gist brings your contacts into one place to give you the only full view of your network making it easy to find anyone, anytime.”

As I wrote here, it’s my Life Dashboard.

My REAL Network

With the overwhelming social networking options and must-have ‘networking’ services like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Friendfeed, Google Buzz, (see list here) and 99 others vying for your attention, I’m also a huge fan of nurturing my ‘REAL’ network.

Iphso Real relationships

Iphso Real relationships

My Real network is with people that I have actually met and interacted with, be it for pleasure, business, ‘networking’, tweetups, blogs, VC’s, ex-work collegues and old friends. This is my core network and the network that I can be most useful to and where my pay-it-forward view of the world is most effective.

Serendipty is still powerful

Don’t get me wrong – the broader network effect of serendipity is also hugely beneficial. See Twitter gives free Limo ride!’ and Meeting Crowdsourcing startups one day, Cisco the next…and many surprising synergies. I have met amazing new people that have migrated from my outer network to my core network via this noisy social network, so this also has it’s place and needs managing.

So how to manage this all?

As a lifelong technologist with an approach:

  • dictated by not ever having to do the same thing twice if it can be automated
  • very outcomes focused
  • working smart, not hard, then work hard smartly
  • and a very early adopter,

I tried most of the Twitter tools , various dashboard approaches, email folders, Google Alerts, etc, and #FAILED!

Then I discovered Gist (on 25 May 2009) and the world changed…

So why am I religious about Gist? Simple. They solved the problem. simply.

Gist takes all my relationship feeds – Outlook, Contacts, Gmail, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, emails and calendar appointments and consolidates this intelligently into what I want – a filtered view of my RELEVANT contacts that I can consume in a short snapshot each day. And, after using the service for a while now, I can confirm that Gist is guessing/ ranking relevance correctly, meaning that the contacts Gist ranks highly are my REAL contacts.

Recent Gist improvements

Over the last few months I’ve noticed a few new features that I find very useful. Gist is now monitoring my contacts and suggesting additional profile information to add to specific contacts.

Excellent, so now I don’t even have to troll around for Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook id’s to add anymore!

So what about privacy?

Well, given that I lead a fairly open digital life, I don’t have any issues with Gist. All it’s doing is gathering publicly available data that’s relevant to my contacts, and permission based data (my Twitter friends or LinkedIn contacts) and consolidating it into a useful view.

A practical example

As a practical example of how I use Gist, I’ll quote my recent Quora reply

“As an early user of Gist, I’ve been impressed how they have evolved by gradually zooming in on who my REAL contacts are and presenting that information as a priority. The newest killer feature for me is their recommendations of the broader social profiles and information that Gist continuously gathers.
I use it daily to catch up on my real network and to monitor and track potential customers and interesting people and companies. It’s also a great way to sort through the noise and get relevant, targeted social media updates from Twitter and Facebook because, once again, Gist highlights the people I interact with most as a priority. A positive side effect of the service is the merging of my duplicate contact information.

A practical example of how I use Gist would be that I would load up relevant people that I am meeting at a prospective client a few days before the meeting, and the day before, I’ll use the ‘Print Dossier’ feature to get a snapshot of their hard and soft profile, i.e, Their LinkedIn Professional view to the world and their Twitter and Facebook snapshot. It’s a great way to ‘understand’ what makes the person tick and discover their interests. ”

Gist Dossier

Gist Dossier

Gist tweets

Gist tweets

So, if you’re struggling with managing your networks and there’s one change you make to your daily work routine in 2011, get Gist and you’ll be amazed how the noise disappears.

Let me know how you go or if you have additional tips or advice on managing the Real network in the comments below.

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  1. RIM has acquired Gist. It’s going to be tough to tightly integrate into Blackberry while providing the same level of excellent service to the competition? I’m very keen to see how this happens and ensures that the loyal customers who love the service on iPhone, Google Apps, Gmail, etc get integrated and our choice of technology remains respected.

    More here:,2817,2380342,00.asp


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