A lot of us here at SugarCRM have been following the social media craze from different angles. Some are following with great interest, some with enthusiasm, and others with a touch of practical skepticism. I think I may fall into all camps.
We had an email discussion around some new social media tools over the holiday weekend – yes we are at that level of geekdom here – and how they could fit in to the Sugar universe. One of the standouts was Gist, which has been around for a little while in beta.
Gist essentially aggregates the social activity around a contact you may have. Oh, and it also aggregates your various contact networks. The benefit for users is that at a glance you can see what a single person has been up to in the social world – their tweets, Facebook status updates, Google search data, etc. It looks like a cool tool for those looking to make contact with someone – say a sales opportunity – and needing a virtual foot in the door. It is identity intelligence, so to speak.
I like that Gist aggregates identities across networks. For instance, a single look into someone’s LinkedIn account may show their professional history, but nothing about them that could give you a really strong “in” with them over the phone. And for other professional relationship data mining, looking into Facebook for instance may not prove fruitful. Gist bridges the gaps between the compartmentalized nature of online personas.
The key for social identity tracking, just as it was for web analytics, will be keeping the delicate balance of providing strong intel while also respecting the proper privacy limits. I think Gist does this well because it is not crawling anything other than freely available networks and data in the vast Google forest of bits and bytes.