Personal Social Network Management

I am thinking hard to find some good software/website, or even thinked of creating a tool myself, to management my personal social network. The problem I am facing is, I have too many contacts and I need a way to organize the relationship and keep in touch with them.

  • I have many family members. How about sending some pictures of the new apartment I just moved in or notify them when I change my job? Now I am maintaining a private maillist. But I always forget to send interesting things to them.
  • I have old high school classmates. They are all my best friends years ago, but ops, I have never dropped a single piece of email to them for several years. Where are they? What they are doing? Did they get married or have a baby, or something?
  • I am receiving emails everyday, from every corner of the world, asking me questions about Shanghai. I archived the emais. Sometimes, I got an email saying: “We exchanged email in July, 2003 before I came to Shanghai. I am here. How about we meet sometime?” Well? Who is this guy? I have totally forgotten the last email. There is no thread of emails.

How to organize all these emails, friends, and relationships? I need a system to do the job.

Personal Social Network Management

If I am a company myself, the system has a buzz word as its name: CRM (Customer Relationship Management) – a tool to record all interaction and contact information of customers. For me, it should be a system (hopefully, distributed) to manage my social network. By distributed, I mean no body a new address book application when Yahoo! or Hotmail, or Outlook is doing great already. Duplicate websites with same function increase the cost of synchronization.

Help

Anyone has any idea or best practices to management your own social network?

Social Software

Hold a minute before recommending me of social software right now. With the emerging of concept and sites of social software, I am more confused. To be honest, either Friendster, or LinkedIn helped me to solve the problem I am facing. Will I drop something to all my 40+ contacts in LinkedIn? No.

P.S. A joke on Social Network Coordinator

Look at a job in Manhattan: personal social network coordinator . The responsibility of this position is to

  • approving or rejecting invitations of friendship (in social software)
  • managing a database of usernames and passwords for each of the social networking sites
  • keeping my social network synchronized; that is, invite friends from one social networking site to be friends in all of the other social networking sites
  • various “damage control” functions when rebuffed “non-friends” become upset due to non-acceptance of their offers of friendship
  • Future duties may include discouraging companies and individuals from starting new social networking sites so that additional staff won’t be necessary in the future.
  • etc…

It is so funny. Go to the original posting site read the full article since the author said “Reposting this message elsewhere is NOT OK.“.

It is not a serious job posting. However, it described the problem of so many social software.

28 thoughts on “Personal Social Network Management

  1. Nirmalya Ghosh

    Wouln’t CRM be a bit of an overkill? :)

    If I were you, I’d rely much more on a nice mail client to organize my contacts, mailing lists, etc.

    Personally, I prefer Mozilla (http://www.mozilla.org/), but that might sound like a evil word for Microsoft people (?) ;)

    I guess Outlook also has similar features

  2. Andrea

    It’s interesting you mentioned about mapping the social network among family (including extended family) members.

    I, for one, would think it would be very useful to have a tool just for family networking since it is so hard to keep track of what my cousins, aunt and uncles are up to; who are the new additions to the extended family, etc. The challenge is to get the older generation onto the internet.

  3. sinbadblue

    if someone is important for you, you’ll remeber him. if you forgot, then this guy is’not important for you. I just believe this theorem.

  4. bigbro

    By the same token (as sinbadblue’s theorem), if you are a great socially sensitive person you will remember 14,000 names even from 55 years ago (like Zhou Enlai did) and you don’t need a social coordinator. If on the other hand you can easily remember hundreds of code lines and 89 URLs but have trouble remembering even a dozen people’s name/address/birthdays, then you are by definition a nerd and, in this case, a first class social coordinator (which would be 100 times better than any social software) may not be able to impart much improvement in you.

  5. monika

    Here is a nice tool that does not spam your contacts like Plaxo does. It does not integrate with Outlook, but you can upload/download contact lists, create groups, send emails, SMS, etc…

    It is a beta service, but most functions seem to work ok… I think it is the best thing in contact management out there.

    and it’s free!

    Monika

  6. zihawk

    I came across your post and found it VERY interesting.

    I have the EXACT same concept in my mind for month now. Since the #1 most valuable asset in a person’s life is who you know (Network), how come there is no good way to manage that?

    It can be a client software with Online capability. I haven’t seen one on the market.

    Please feel free to drop me an email and we can discuss further. There may be an opportunity to design one from scratch.

  7. Ole Fredrik Ingier

    Hi! I just wondered if anyone have found such a program such as zihawk pictures here?? please let me know…

  8. evbart

    I have also been researching (and doing some preliminary design work) on a similar concept, but have not found anything out there. I’ve called it PRM to play off of CRM. The personal version definately has different requirements.

    In the initial layout I also included a mapping/tree component to visualize the relationships and how they are connected.

    I’d be interested in talking to you more about this, or seeing what you’ve done since this post.

  9. Robert

    Plaxo and Rollerdex are not going to solve this problem…they are simply online contact management sites. What we need is software which will:

    – keep a register of contacts (or utilize an existing register in Outlook etc).

    – record links between them or even discover/find links between them

    – record all interaction and contact information of contacts for sure

    – maintain “reference circles” or groups of contacts that know each other (and plan for introductions of contacts into a particular circle)

    – recognize commonality between contacts (eg. Fred and Sally both like basketball)

    Mind mapping software is a step in the right direction if it allowed easy linking between thoughts in different “streams” or automatically uncovered links between nodes.

    Anyone have any thoughts or luck finding software like this ?

  10. Olle Svensk

    It’s a great idea, especially as Robert skethes it. Exactly what I’m loking for. It’s quite starnge there’s no such software out there yet. Maybe one should do a search at sourceforge… I’ll do just that. This is a too good idea not to have been thought before (or some one will get very rich from this discussion ;) )

  11. go blue

    Hi, I have been looking vor a long long time for a piece of software Olle Svensk, Robert, evbart, Ole Fredrik Ingier etc. were talking about. If somebody knows something else than Cortege, PLEASE PLEASE send me a link ! I would be incredibly thankful. You can contact me at:

    go_blue { at } gmx { dot } net

    Kind regards to everyone.

  12. Sputnik

    This thread caught my attention for the same reasons many others have posted.

    I’ve just started using Cortege, and for just starting the trial period, I already like it and will probably buy it to use while I continue to look for similar software.

    Cortege has some really strong design features, but I’m just now sorting out how to use it effectively with the filters, contact categories, etc.

    I think what Cortege has done that I’ve seen nowhere else (yet) is the use of icons & mapping. If this could be developed to go from 2D to 3D, the visual mapping of contacts and network connections (and catgories, time elapsed or due, calendar events, etc., etc.) would be extraordinary.

    Like go blue, I also hope to find something like Cortege, with a solid sync to Outlook and 3D visual mapping –and maybe customizable fields if that’s not too much to hope for. Also, preferably not a database with a lot of overhead (like things built with MSDE that give systems a huge load to carry).

  13. go blue

    Hi everybody. Any news for Cortege alternatives ? Regards. go_blue#spam#@gmx.net (remove #spam#)

  14. go blue

    Cortege is great but it would be wonderful to have 3D support (like the “personal brain” software on http://www.thebrain.com)

    Besides, I would like to be able to arrange my contacts and their different relations in a way that is more free/flexible …

  15. Bilal

    I landed to this thread for the similar reasons. One software that have graphical capability of showing and manipulating social circles is Huminity 2.0 http://www.huminity.com. However, I see that it keeps things online but its features can form the basis while designing a desktop application for managing personal social networking and associated people circle.

    Olle Svensk and Robert to please check out this. Thanks

  16. Nicole

    I use http://www.octopuscity.com. It’s a free social netork and contact manager but you can bring in all your contact lists from webmail accounts and LinkedIn too. You can create categories and send out messages to various categories of people.

  17. go_blue

    Hi Bilal and Nicole. Thanks a lot for your recommendations. I will look into these apps for sure. And Bilal, what do you mean “[…] can form the basis while designing a desktop application for […] ” ? Who would design it ? You mean, they should develop it further?

    What I dislike about most of these solutions, is that they store your data online which requires a permanent connection if you want to use them. Very limiting.

  18. JP Hatala

    Hello all, I’ve created a process that allows individuals to manage and monitor their social networking activity. It’s based on the latest research. Check it out at my website http://www.flowork.com. I’m always looking for opportunities to collaborate so drop me a line if you’re interested.

  19. Jimmy Twoshoes

    There are far to many social networks now. And not all of them are very functional; most are there to profit and not for function. The soul that makes one social network that “Does it all”, will be a billionaire..

  20. Ray

    So after these many years of discussion, any final verdict on what’s the best software for this purpose? I would definitely be willing to pay for quality software which can integrate and help me manage all of my different contact databases…

  21. go_blue

    OK, so is there still NOTHING after all these years??

    No offline/desktop application for Personal Social Network Management ?

  22. Tom

    I have been searching for something similar as my contacts are scattered in different sources (name cards, social networks, outlook, excel-files etc.) and I can remember very long WHAT a person or a company is doing but forget the name soon.

    Take a look at http://www.gemnetworking.com/gem-networking-business-or-personal-networking-relationship-management-system.

    This comes close; however I would prefer something which has also the ability to combine data with social networks such as LinkedIn etc.

    In any case: my personal network is PRIVATE and MUST stay on MY computer ONLY. Any remote storage open for corporate or governmental espionage is not acceptable.

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