In my quest to get to 10,000 followers on Twitter by 2010 (read more about this in an upcoming post), I realized something: all social network sites (Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, etc.) ask you to import contacts via your email contacts lists to help you find connections. One problem, I do not keep my email address books very current. For a 21st Century digital boy, perhaps this is a major no-no, but I rely on the autofill in gmail, Outlook, and social networking email to fill in the details. So this leads to my question – is there a social network contact importer?
In my perfect world, all social networks enable the pulling of contacts from my friends and contacts lists on other existing social networks. The system would find my friends and contacts on the social networks I belong to (after log in and PW provided) and then send them messages to the social network platform they are on. I’d be able to build my Twitter following by seeing how many of my 369 Friends on Facebook, 72 contacts on Linkedin, and 13 connections on Martindale-Hubbell Connected are already using that site. Also, there should be an option for customizing the invite to eliminate duplicate contacts (people on more than 1 of the social networks identified). Such an application would allow me to truly integrate my social networks, leverage the people I know on each, and help build networks in other communities.
Perhaps the lack of this function as a popular default on social networking sites is a strategy decision by those sites to keep the competition at bay (ad revenue is big business)? There are also sites like Martindale-Hubbell Connected, which cater to a specific community – attorneys and legal professionals – that would not want my artist and business friends from Facebook or Linkedin creating a profiles in the law space. Regardless, leveraging this type of social connection is exactly what Web 2.0 should be about.
To be clear: this technology does exist. When I googled “social network contacts importer” it gave me hits for Octazen Solutions, Open Inviter, and others, but most of these are development apps to be posted on the network or used independent of it. The lack of this functionality as a default on established social networks seems limiting to me.
Then I found Power.com. Admittedly, I have yet to sign up and try it, but the gist of it is their tagline “all your friends in just one place.” This is truly what I have been looking for, both as way to aggregate all my social networks and to possible crack the contact importer nut. Unfortuantely, at the present moment they seem to be in a transition mode. Despite claiming to offer FB support, there is no place to log in as a FB user – only Myspace, Orkut, and Hi5More seen ti be available as starting points. More on this to come.
What social network contact importers have you found that are useful and easy-to-use? What is your experience with social network aggregators like Power?