Magazine article Information Today

Measuring Mail and Tracking Tweet

Magazine article Information Today

Measuring Mail and Tracking Tweet

Article excerpt

Email is truly the elder statesman of the internet, and Twitter is undoubtedly the golden child. Email has been there since the beginning, while Twitter hasn't been with us for a full 2 years yet.

But there has been a lot of talk lately about the death of email (rumors that may turn out to have been greatly exaggerated), thanks to messaging on social networking sites. Yet, Twitter's popularity continues to climb in spite of a few recent stability issues (to put it politely). Basically, Twitter is a Web 2.0 darling, while email is about as Web 1.0 as you can get. This month, we'll look at a plug-in for Microsoft Outlook that brings a little bit of Web 2.0 (and some analytics) to your email and an AIR (Adobe integrated runtime) app that could very well be "Outlook for Twitter."

Xobni (www.xobni.com)

What is it? A plug-in for Microsoft Outlook that automatically provides contact information and easy access to emails and attachments

Who cares? Overwhelmed Outlook users and the forgetful

How does it work? Xobni adds a sidebar to the right side of the Outlook window that provides a search field and contact information. Xobni indexes your email and searches across all folders. Unlike Outlook's default "Look for" function, Xobni actually displays a snippet of text with the query term highlighted.

But Xobni really focuses on the contact information. Whenever an email is selected in Outlook's reading pane, Xobni displays the name of the sender and his or her phone number, which it extracts from email text. If you've never received an email with the person's phone number, a link to send a preformatted email requesting the sender's phone number is provided. There's also a link to send an email scheduling a meeting with that contact.

Xobni also graphs all email interaction with that contact, telling you how many emails you've sent to this person and how many you've received, as well as charting the frequency of incoming messages from that contact by time of day. LinkedIn integration provides a link to the contact's profile, if he or she has one, and displays the sender's photo next to his or her name. Beneath the top portion of the sidebar are three separate panes. The first lists that contact's Network--all of the other people that Xobni can determine the contact has emailed, based on To: and CC: entries. The next pane lists all your Conversations (messages and

subsequent replies) with that contact, most recent first. …

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