When you sign up for a social network, I am sure that it will ask you to provide your email address and password so as to find out who in your contact list is also available in the network. I’m not sure about you, but I am always a little nervous when I let an app dig through my contacts and personal information.
Let’s turn the situation around. What if you can find out which social networks your friends are involved in when you received emails from him/her? Rapportive does just that. Rapportive is a browser extension (available for Firefox, Chrome, Safari and MailPlane) and it works with your Gmail or Google Apps account. When you are reading your email, Rapportive will scan the sender’s address for the social networks he/she is in and present all the info on the side pane, right where the Google ads are.
Install the browser extension from here.
Once installed, login to your Gmail. The Rapportive link should be visible at the top of the page.
Overall, the application is pretty hands-off. When you are reading your email, Rapportive will grab the sender’s address and scan the various social networks for detail.
You are not asked to do anything except read the information displayed. If you choose to interact, you only have a couple actions you can take. You can:
- Click on the links in their displayed information
- Create a private note
- Add information
Why use Rapportive?
The biggest reason I can think of is the building your day to day business connections. People like to buy things from people they are comfortable with. This means friends are high up on the list. If you court potential clients within their comfort zone and do not push your product or service on them, they won’t feel like you are stalking them on their social networks. You will however, get to know them.
Info you see in Rapportive
As mentioned, you see information about your Gmail pen-pal in the sidebar of your message window. This information is pulled from social sites all over the web. Information from Linkedin will show your job history, recent tweets will show up along with links to all of your known social accounts.
Your Rapportive profile
You may be wondering what YOUR profile will show. Well, you’re in luck. You can click on the link at the bottom of the Rapport window. You can see what others will see.
When I clicked on the link to see my profile, I had a good laugh. It displayed a profile picture I uploaded to Myspace quite a while ago to be funny. If this happens to you, fret not. You can change your profile pic at Gravatar.com
With all of the information flooding our head on a daily basis, it would be a miracle to remember small details about your Gmail contacts. Rapportive puts a notes option in the window. Using the private notes allows you to jot down a quick thought or tid bit to help you late connect you with your contact. The note can be anything from a mention of their birthday to an interesting tweet.
I have been testing out Rapportive for a couple weeks now. While you could use Rapportive to track down what social applications friends and family are on, It has a greater value for a small business owner or someone in sales.
My take on the overall goal of the add-on is to find out information to help you make conversation with people you might not know too well. Having a list of sites they might frequent will give you some insight into how they interact socially with people online.
Do you know of other applications like Rapportive? Leave a link in the comments.
Image credit: Rapportive
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