Posts Tagged ‘email’

My secret email weapon

May 26th, 2011

One of the biggest benefits of a social network is the ability to see who you’re talking to, links to webpages that have been shared, content that has been uploaded and activity. Email, on the other hand, can be a far less informative and contextual experience.

Enter: Rapportive. This plugin lets you see everything about the person who is emailing you all within a Gmail sidebar. I’ve been using this extension for quite some time now and I’ve shared a link to it in the past, but if you haven’t signed-up yet I highly recommend you do.

Here’s how it works:

You email me, and when I hover over your name I will get a sidebar that loads within Gmail that pulls all public information about you. It will show your photo if you’ve uploaded one to a social network, links to your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles, as well as recent activity from those networks. Right away, you go from being to being a person with layers of valuable context for me to learn about you.

Here’s how it looks, using profile information from one of Rapportive’s co-founders:


If you connect with a lot of strangers throughout the day, this tool is invaluable. And when you connect with people you know, this tool helps you discover more links to more info about them.

Rapportive has become my secret weapon with email. When I get a cold contact from someone I’ve never connected with, or when I’m trying to connect with someone I don’t know much about yet, Rapportive adds a tremendous layer of context for me.

This is one Gmail extension I could not live without. You can download it here.

Update: Google has announced a “People widget” that does a lot of what I’ve discussed above.

Study: 81% of 2-year-olds have online presence

October 7th, 2010

Photo by Mike Baird

According to a survey from Internet security company AVG, a whopping 81 percent of children around the world have an online presence by the time they are two years old. In the U.S., that number is as high as 92 percent.

So where is all the info coming from? According to a news release from AVG, toddlers are gaining online presence through their parents’ online actions such as uploading prenatal sonogram photos, tweeting pregnancy experiences, making online albums of children from birth and creating email addresses for babies.

Global numbers show parents all over the world are increasingly more active in building a digital footprint for their kids: In the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, an average of 81 percent of children under the age of two currently have some kind of digital profile or footprint.

In the U.S., 92 percent of children have an online presence by the time they are two compared to 73 percent in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

“It’s shocking to think that a 30-year-old has an online footprint stretching back 10-15 years at most, while the vast majority of children today will have online presence by the time they are two-years-old,” said AVG CEO, JR Smith, in a news release. “Our research shows the trend is increasing for a child’s digital birth to coincide with and in many cases pre-date their real birth date. A quarter of babies have sonogram photos posted online before they have even physically entered into the world.”

AVG says the average “digital birth” occurs at about six months when one third (33 percent) of kids’ photos and info are posted online.

In Australia and New Zealand, 41 percent of newborns have a digital footprint at birth. In the United Kingdom that figure is 37 percent.

In the U.S., 34 percent of children have their prenatal sonogram scans posted online, while in Canada that number is 37 percent. In Europe and Japan, sharing prenatal sonogram scans is not as popular: France (13 percent), Italy (14 percent), Germany (15 percent) and Japan (14 percent).

When it comes to being connected, a total of seven percent of babies and toddlers have an email address created for them by their parents, and five percent have a profile on a social network.

“It’s completely understandable why proud parents would want to upload and share images of very young children with friends and families,” said Smith.

That said, AVG also urges parents to think about two things:

  • You are creating a digital history for a human being that will follow him or her for the rest of their life. What kind of footprint do you actually want to start for your child, and what will they think about the information you’ve uploaded in future?
  • Parents need to be aware of privacy settings they have set on their social network and other profiles.

During the survey parents were asked why they share info and post pictures of their babies online and 70 percent of mothers surveyed said it was because they wanted to share with friends and family. However, 22 percent of mothers in the U.S. said they upload photos and info about their children because they want to add more content to their social networking profiles, while 18 percent said they do it because their friends do.

Finally, mothers were asked how concerned they were about the amount of info about their children that will be online in future years. On a scale of one to five (with five being very concerned), most mothers said they were only moderately concerned (3.5). Spanish mothers were the most concerned (3.9) and Canadian mothers were the least concerned (3.1).

The survey for AVG was conducted by Research Now among 2,200 mothers with young (under two) children during the week of 27 September. Mothers in the EU5 (UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain), Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Japan were polled.

For a complete breakdown of the results by country, see AVG’s press release.

Study: Despite rise in social media, content shared mostly by email

November 16th, 2009

A new study released by SocialTwist, the company that makes the content-sharing widget Tell-A-Friend, has revealed habits behind how people share content online. SocialTwist’s “Social Media Sharing Trends 2009 Report” is based on the behavioral analysis of 10 million referral messages sent using Tell-a-Friend.

Among the study’s major findings: Top channels of sharing include email, instant messenger (IM) and social networking sites.

SocialTwist says despite all the buzz around “social media,” nearly 60 percent of overall sharing happens by email, followed by IM (25 percent) and then social networks (14 percent).

Among social media trends, SocialTwist says Twitter is not regarded as a sharing platform, and instead perceived as a news broadcast platform. A mere 5 percent of shared information flows through Twitter.

In an interview with, SocialTwist president Vijay Pullur said, “Twitter is so popular and has been growing like crazy. But if you look at the data, the usage is extremely low. It has been picking up a little bit lately, but not much. What appears to me is that the world of Internet users is a lot bigger than the tech savvy world you and I live in.”

The study also reports bookmarking sites are losing their foothold on the Web, as more people opt for sharing within their own social networks like Facebook. In the  bookmarking space, Digg is the most popular at 44 percent market share, followed by Google Bookmarks (12 percent) and Delicious (11 percent). That said, SocialTwist says only 2 percent of sharing happens on bookmarking sites today.

Facebook is more popular than MySpace when it comes to sharing content online, and LinkedIn ranks the lowest when it comes to social media sharing.

The data also shows Yahoo is the most used email service (44 percent), followed by MSN Mail (25 percent). “Gmail is way behind,” the study reports, at 19 percent.

Yahoo and Microsoft also own the biggest piece of the IM pie, with 49 percent of people using Yahoo Messenger, followed by 34 percent who use MSN Messenger, followed by GTalk at 15 percent.

And finally, in the world of blogging WordPress is king, with 45 percent of people using it, followed by 42 percent who use Blogger. Other sites such as Live Journal, Xanga, TypePad and Movable Type make up the balance of the blog platform pie.