Jennifer B. Davis
Over the years, I have used a variety of tools to manage contact information for friends, family, and colleagues. I kept little address books, I maintained a Rolodex (perhaps dating myself, I know), addresses in various email programs, and the like. I wanted to tell you about two tools I am using now that you might be interested in trying yourself.

The first is Plaxo. It is an online address book, essentially with a couple of twists. The first is that if I enter an address (triggered by a unique email address) of someone who is also a Plaxo user, we are "connected" and I am alerted to any updates or changes in their contact information. Second, I can send me own information (professional or personal or both) to selected contacts and have them update their own information. This is a useful way to make sure your address book has the latest information. I use the free online version, which requires nothing to be downloaded on my computer and alllows me to access it anywhere. The premium version has some features that are nice as well. I understand that some people do not like Plaxo's model and would rather use a more permission-based system, but for my work information which isn't so sensitive, I have Plaxo to be a useful tool.

The other tool that I enjoy using is LinkedIn. It is a social network that many of my professional contacts turned me onto. In essense, I can invite people to join my "network" and in return, they can access my network, allowing me to help them make introductions to others I know (and visa versa). The network affect takes hold, when you link these networks together by degreees of separation. My 200 (or so) contacts, actually connect me to nearly 7,000 people within 2 degrees of separation. Wild! I have used it to make contact into companies that I would have otherwise had to cold call. I use the free online version.

I'd encourage you to check these out. If you use either of these systems and know me personally, invite you to send me an invitation!
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