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Understanding Gist

October 28, 2010 3 comments

Day 4: The ChatterBachs Product Review Week continues.   

Gist.  Perhaps you haven’t heard of it, but you will.  Gist in its basic form is a way to consolidate all of your contacts from email, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn into one place, thus creating a personalized web-based database.

Gist has a number of powerful features, but let me just hit on a few.  First, you can go to the “People” tab.  From there, you can filter in any number of ways, including how you are connected to individuals: email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.  Each person is given an importance score.  I’m not certain how this is calculated, but it seems to take into account the number of sources (again- email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and/or whether you manually added information about them) and the amount of cumulative correspondence you’ve had with this individual on the various platforms.  You may manually override the score (based on a 100-pt. scale) as well.  You may also filter based on the importance score; so, for example, if you only want to see contacts with a 95 or better, you can do that.  Columns denote all of this information, including the date of your most recent contact.

To get to an individual’s profile page, you may simply select from one of the lists you have generated through the combination of filters.  The columns will initially appear in order of the importance scores but may be re-sorted in alphabetical order by contact’s first name or company name.  Columns for sent and received messages may also be sorted in descending or ascending order; date of most recent contact may also be sorted in chronological order.  If you want to search for an individual who may not be on the list you are reviewing at present, you may use the search field in the upper-right hand corner.  It will begin to suggest matches from people and companies once three characters (letters or numbers) have been entered in the search field.

When looking at a given contact’s profile page, you may review all news associated with this individual.  If you like, you may look at only news items, blogs, Facebook, or Twitter or any combination of these.  From there you may then take these messages or news items and post to Twitter or Facebook or send as an email.

Many times Gist will suggest additional sources for information on individuals; you may then confirm or remove these sources.  You may also manually add or edit information for this contact.  Your correspondence (email and Facebook messages, in my limited testing it didn’t seem to include Twitter DMs) with them is readily available.  Also, shared contacts are listed (although this function seems to be somewhat limited in its capability at this time).  Lastly, I liked the fact that Gist would suggest photos from a Google search that could then be added to the profile instead of a generic avatar.

Of course, most profiles are missing some information, generally at the very least phone numbers.  There is a simple option to send the contact a message to update their Gist profile.

I’m fascinated by the solution that Gist has developed and is continuing to develop to pull all contacts together into one place, and it’s definitely one to start using personally and professionally.  And keep your eye on more from Gist in the near future!

Many thanks to Greg Meyer and Robert Pease of Gist for helping me to understand the product and its many facets.

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