I was really excited when Microsoft released its Social Connectors for Microsoft Office Outlook 2010 (Outlook Social Connectors Make it Easier to Keep Track). In Office 2013 they have, in my opinion, made them even better.
For reasons that defy logic my main contact list (the one I have been maintaining since 1996) has 2,882 contacts in it… many of whom, I am sure, could be deleted without causing any issue or notice. Some of those contacts, however, are people that I will one day need to speak to again… even though by looking at their e-mail address (or even name) I have no idea who they are right now.
I get a lot of e-mail from a lot of people. Not that infrequently I get an e-mail from someone who I should know… but don’t. If an e-mail looks important, but I don’t know who it is from, I will do a bit of research. Before I delete the e-mail (I never delete it, I just mark it as read which means it is gone forever unless I actively go searching) I go to LinkedIn and see if the person sending the e-mail is a contact of mine. Next I go to Facebook and see if they are a ‘friend’. You would be surprised how much you can tell about a person you are not sure you have ever met just from these two sources.
Of course, with 1,000 ‘friends’ on Facebook and 1,200 contact on LinkedIn, that may or may not help… but it is a start.
Now here’s the thing… there is a lot of crossover between my two networks. I find it hard enough to believe that I know 1,200 people, but 2,200 people would be really hard to believe. So let’s assume that the people that I deal with are more accurate with their LinkedIn profile than with their Facebook (Or might have a picture of a butterfly on Facebook and a professional headshot on LinkedIn. So new in Outlook 2013 is the ability to prioritize your networks… ‘Show this network information when available, instead of information from other networks’. If nothing else it limits the number of people whose pictures in my Outlook are of butterflies.
I still love the fact that when I have a meeting or conference call planned I can see in advance who I am meeting with. In this case I know Damir, but I sat in on a call on Wednesday with 125 other people, and it was nice to be able to see the faces that went along with the names. This goes equally well when someone sends me an e-mail… I have the option of seeing who I am communicating with, if I so choose. Of course you can minimize this or even turn it off if you want – it is all up to you.
Outlook Social Connectors have been making my life a bit easier for three years, and they will continue to do so into the future. I am glad that Microsoft is still innovating and finding new ways to stay fresh. I would have liked to have seen a Twitter connector included in 2013, but that would have only been for updates, and so many people are cross-posting their tweets to Facebook so it doesn’t really matter.
- Office 2013: First cool new feature for me! (garvis.ca)