getting to know you(r friends) part 2

Image representing Gist as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

social crm plugin rapportive has some competition. rapportive launched earlier this year. it works within gmail’s web interface, displaying “social graph” information about people with whom I correspond (facebook, twitter, etc). I expressed some initial concerns about rapportive (I didn’t like the lack of control users had over the data that was shown). the developers were very responsive and quickly added functionality to allow more user control.*

Image representing Rapportive as depicted in C...
Image via CrunchBase

I saw and continue to see immense value in the additional insights that rapportive-supplied data can provide, particularly in the networking and fundraising worlds. recently, gist announced that it was bringing (some of) that functionality to my gmail inbox and beloved droid. was this the end for rapportive?

so what about gist?

gist‘s original offering was a web-based dashboard offering information about your contacts. the gist dashboard offers more functionality than rapportive. for example, gist picks up news items about contacts related to my contacts that I can then share to my networks.

I loaded the plug in and did some basic comparisons.

here’s my profile in each service. rapportive displays alongside the message (where the google ads would be), while gist appears within the firefox sidebar. rapportive offers more in the way of job description, while gist has the advantage of a consolidated social feed and additional “columns” of information (nice ui)

gist dashboard in gmail sidebar gist contact in gmail sidebar

here’s my issue with gist. it’s great to have all that information, and I remain a big fan of the gist dashboard for researching contacts. however, most of the extra information that gist provides compared to rapportive is from my system – I already know that I know it. in addition, gists’s calculation of the contacts importance is based on how often we’ve corresponded – again focused on the people I already know best.

rapportive lets me know of additional ways to connect with people with whom I correspond. it works wherever gmail does – that is, everywhere. this is useful while I am trying out the rockmelt browser. gist is firefox only, although I expect they will be adding other other browsers soon. and rapportive doesn’t take up space in my sidebar, which I use for other tools like toodledo. so while I encourage you to try out gist, I am sticking with rapportive for a lightweight, on-the-fly way to boost my engagement through gmail.

* elephant in the room alert

I state above that rapportive has improved on the profiles controls it offers for its users. gist does the same, more or less. however, you may have a profile on the service even if you have never heard of it! readwriteweb commented on this in an article on the gist offering:

You may have encountered sites like Intelius, which built profiles for users by scraping publicly available data they’ve submitted elsewhere, slotting it into a directory that users have no control over, and saving it forever. Gist doesn’t do this exactly, but it gets your name from someone in your social graph, connects it to your social media profiles and slots in your recent blog posts. The “vast majority” of the 100 million people in Gist’s directory don’t know they have Gist profiles, CEO and founder T.A. McCann said. (my emphasis)

rapportive gets its data from rapleaf, an operation similar to intelius. fortunately, you can edit this information in rapportive – but again, only if you have a profile. recommendation – head over to these sites and make sure that you agree with the information that others are seeing about you.

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  • Pamela

    I agree with todd Randolph. GIST’s UI is really nice and it seems very user-friendly and straightforward to use. I like how it gives consolidated information and social feeds.

  • @johnflurry

    The response I have had from the Rapporative team has just been plain awesome. They have made a great tool and their willingness to make needed changes sets them apart in my book.

  • @andytraub

    Saw a link to my Rapportive run through at the end of your post. I wanted to mention that Rapportive also just added a feature where you can tie your LinkedIn to the tools and if you're not connected to the person you can invite them to be connected to you WITHIN GMAIL. Major time saver. I do love Gist as well but I see them as different tools. I use Rapportive b/c it ties in my BatchBook (CMS tool) and my Mailchimp profiles so I get a true picture of if I've got the right information for the person in MY system. For my workflow Rapportive is genius. Great write up…and thanks for the mention.

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  • gregmeyer

    Todd –

    Thanks for your feedback, and thanks for trying Gist! If you or anyone else reading this blog post have questions about how we manage data and keep you in control, please visit the @Gist Promise:

    As always, if you have any other questions, feel free to contact me at


    Greg Meyer
    Customer Experience Manager, Gist

    • todd randolph

      thanks for stopping by. as I noted in the post, I think gist's dashboard product is a beautiful thing. my preference for the rapportive plugin is just personal preference – I think the gist plugin works well too, and the ui is nice. my elephant in the room postscript is based on the fact that if you are not aware of services like gist and rapportive, it doesn't matter how good the user controls are. and the people least aware of social crm are the same ones who leave their facebook controls set on the default. however, they are probably not reading my blog either! : )

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