Are you tired of surfing from Facebook to LinkedIn to Twitter in order to figure out what’s happening with your friends and followers? If so, a company called Gist.com may revolutionize how you experience social media.

I recently received an e-mail asking me to try a new product called Gist.com. Because the request came from a trusted source, I decided to dig into the site to see what it was all about.

Like Xobni (which is "inbox" spelled backward), Gist provides a solution for easily managing your e-mail. You can share contact information with people in your database or do a host of other functions much more easily than with most other e-mail platforms. Gist tracks how often and when you last communicated with the various people in your e-mail contact database.

Are you tired of surfing from Facebook to LinkedIn to Twitter in order to figure out what’s happening with your friends and followers? If so, a company called Gist.com may revolutionize how you experience social media.

I recently received an e-mail asking me to try a new product called Gist.com. Because the request came from a trusted source, I decided to dig into the site to see what it was all about.

Like Xobni (which is "inbox" spelled backward), Gist provides a solution for easily managing your e-mail. You can share contact information with people in your database or do a host of other functions much more easily than with most other e-mail platforms.

Gist tracks how often and when you last communicated with the various people in your e-mail contact database.

To launch this function, upload your e-mail contacts to Gist. If you’re using Gmail or Outlook, it’s a simple point-and-click process. If you’re not using Gmail or Outlook, type in your incoming e-mail server address. I’m running a Mac and the system loaded my e-mail addresses with no difficulty.

After loading your e-mail contacts, you can also load your contacts from Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. I was reluctant to do this at first. The reason is that many companies that ask for this information are data-mining your contacts and selling that information to third-party vendors.

When I interviewed T.A. McCann, the founder and CEO of Gist, my first question was about the security of my data. According to McCann and the privacy policy posted online, Gist keeps your data completely secure.

Unlike free sites that make their money with ads or data mining, Gist will be charging for their services. The company does have a basic version of its software that it offers at no cost. To have full functionality, the fee runs between $20 and $50 per month.

Real estate applications
Many real estate agents are not active on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. They are not following their clients on these sites, and they aren’t even checking to see if their clients (or competitors) are blogging. Gist brings all these communications together in the agent’s e-mail inbox.

When an agent loads his or her e-mail address book into Gist, the system searches millions of places online and returns content from those various locations.

What makes Gist so useful is that you can rank each person in your contact database from 1 to 100 in terms of how important their communications are to you. This means that you now have a way to easily sort and view the content that matters most to you.

Furthermore, you don’t have to search multiple sources to find it. Gist returns not only e-mail information, but also a person’s blog posts, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn information, provided that you loaded those options into the Gist system. The information appears in your e-mail inbox based upon the priorities that you establish.

For example, communications from active clients would be a high priority. Consequently, you would probably rank them somewhere between 90 and 100. You may have some bloggers or other people you are tracking that you also want to see on a regular basis. Their communications are not as urgent as those of your clients, so you may set their rankings in the 70s.

In contrast, if one of your friends or a family member is posting annoying content, you can set their ranking below 50. You then tell Gist to show communications from only those contacts you have ranked above 50. The annoying communications will no longer display on your Gist dashboard.

For agents who do not have a robust CRM (customer relationship management) system, Gist is an excellent way to keep track of various mailing lists and groups. For example, John Smith may be a first-time buyer who wants to purchase a loft condominium downtown. Gist allows you to "tag" John in multiple ways such as "loft buyer," "first-time buyers," "price $250,000-$300,000."

This allows you to create contact lists that you can easily manage using the Gist system. For those agents using robust contact managers such as Salesforce.com, Gist works with them seamlessly.

While it takes some time to set up, it’s definitely worth it to see your content displayed in the priority that you determine. It certainly beats having to wade through all the various RSS, Twitter and Facebook communications. If your social media contacts are getting to be a little too much to handle, Gist is a great way to get control of them.

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