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The Gist of social media

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Social media has been a blessing and a curse for keeping track of contacts. On the one hand, we can know so much more about everyone we meet because it's all shared all over the place: a little update about the job on LinkedIn, a picture of our weekend trip on Facebook, a quick question on Twitter, and so on. On the other hand, our contacts and connections are spread willy-nilly. It's as if someone came into our 1950s offices and spread parts and pieces of our Rolodex over three different desks on two floors of the office. Individuals and their content are spread about over several networks. Enter Gist, a software tool made in Seattle. Currently in beta, Gist is part of a movement under way among makers of customer relationship management (CRM) tools to incorporate all of that social stuff into useful platforms. The general idea goes like this: You're already using Facebook and LinkedIn and your e-mail account to manage customer relationships -- why not try to put some ord...