This is something I have been looking forward to, and I’ll be down at the Gist offices on Friday the 17th taking a look around and doing a general interview with them. In preparation for the interview, I got a beta account with Gist and have tied it into almost a life stream dashboard of people I need to pay attention to, people I want to pay attention to, and those that have some good stuff every now and then.
On first blush Gist is a dashboard for following all the important people to you, which is different that FriendFeed. The idea here is not to start a conversation, but follow the things that they are sending and posting across facebook, twitter, gmail, outlook, or import as a CSV file. Once you have that set up, you can start following along with what others are doing across the social networks and into your e-mail. This is more of a business application than a social application, and this is going to be one that I will use a lot. Although I would also like to see support for MSN and Yahoo mail, and a few other services like FriendFeed because not all my friends are in the same place, and I have friends segregated by e-mail as well.
When you are importing from a service, it only takes a few minutes (for under 1000 friends). Gist will not download more than 1000 people that you are following on twitter. This is not a big deal for those of us with a small followership, but for folks with the mega accounts of 10,000 or more people that they are following, this could be an issue.
The dashboard is very nicely constructed; it makes sense and gives you the information you want in an easy to use and readable format. To pull all your meetings and other information you will need to download the Gist plug-in for Outlook to fully synch the two systems so you can be working off one dashboard in total. It does not have an option to tie into OWA (outlook web access) so remote workers might not be able to fully synch between their mobile systems until they can get to a company computer, and install the Gist Toolbar for Outlook.
Otherwise, pleasantly surprised to see that the product is as good as it is when it is still in beta. Easy to use and understand, importing is very easy, and managing the data is also very easy, from shifting the importance of people, to dropping people who sometimes just end up in an account somewhere. This is promising software, and tons of questions to ask on Friday.
If you have any questions you would like me to ask at Gist on the 17th, let me know, and I’ll ask them for you.
(Cross-posted @ TechWag)