Since the advent of email, the contact list has become an icon of social connections across the internet. Nothing seems to better symbolize who we know than looking through that long list of names. The problem most of us experience is that our contact lists can get pretty long over time. Some email services automatically add someone as a contact every time you interact with that person. Having so many people on that list can eventually transform what was once a useful aid into a nightmarish labyrinth of tangled-up names and email addresses. There has to be some way to put it all in order, right?
What if you could attach a face to each contact’s name? Unless you are one of the unlucky few with prosopagnosia, faces are more easily recognizable to you than names. Because of this, putting a picture of a person’s face next to their name is monumentally helpful in sorting out who is who, especially in a messy and winding contact list!
Let’s look at some products that do this eloquently:
- Rapportive - If you use Gmail, you may notice that it only pulls up contact pictures from Google Plus. Not all of your contacts use that social network, but you’ll find many of them on LinkedIn and Facebook. Rapportive is a Google Chrome extension that links up your Gmail interface with Facebook. The only obvious problem with this is the fact that this doesn’t work if you access email from mobile devices. Most people prefer to use an app for this activity and forego the entire process of using a browser. For this reason, Rapportive is more useful for desktop environments.
- Rainmaker - A solution for those who wish to see contacts’ faces on mobile devices, Rainmaker offers a variety of contact sync features. Aside from Facebook, you can also pull contacts from LinkedIn and Twitter. Like Rapportive, it’s a service offered exclusively for Google users, particularly those using Gmail or Google Apps. To get real-time sync capabilities (rather than daily), you must pay $9 a month. Supported mobile platforms include Android, iOS, and BlackBerry.
- Plaxo - Although it’s an old service (offered since 2005), Plaxo still has a lot going for it. Its “Personal Assistant” plan at $6.67 a month pulls up information and photos from Facebook, LinkedIn, the White Pages, and other places. This platform works with virtually any email client and continuously finds new information – including work addresses and phone numbers – as it comes along. Plaxo also supports an unrivaled amount of mobile devices, including Android, iOS, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone.
Before your contact list spirals out of control, you need to adopt the right kind of technology. Keeping your list organized will give you one less thing to worry about – another step in reducing the struggles of running your business.