I am horrible at keeping in touch with people. My family and friends are the most patient and understanding people in the world because I can go incommunicado for months, without realising it.
But that can’t be how human relationships work. You need to make an effort to maintain contact with people you care about.
On the work front, it’s even more important. Networking is a must-have skill in a professional environment, and one you need to master by periodically checking in with people. It’s even more crucial if you are in the sales, marketing or customer relations departments because your job is about interacting with people.
And that’s where Relately comes in.
Relately is a social dashboard that keeps track of your interactions with your contacts, and smartly reminds you to get in touch with people. It supports contacts from your email, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and sends you reminders in your inbox as well as provides an easy web client.
Sign up for Relately and it makes you do a series of steps to start using it. For starters, you are going to have to connect your social accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and your email, after which Relately will take a little time to important contacts from those services.
The next step is to start tracking contacts. The contacts are separated into three tabs: Tracked, Recently Added and All. Along with a circular display pic and the name, each contact has a slider bar next to them. Slide the bar to decide how important that contact is to you: Quarterly, Occasionally, Frequently or Very Frequently.
Of course, the same contact might have different IDs on different services; for example, a Facebook account with the real name and a Twitter handle with a pseudonym. In such cases, Relately offers the ability to merge contacts. Click on any person and you will get an option to merge by going through the list of all the contacts you currently have.
Tracking 20 contacts gives you a bonus free 30-minute consultation over the phone with one of Relately’s experts on how to better network with people. I didn’t try this out, but it seems interesting for professionals.
Staying In Touch
Once your tracking is set up, it’s time to sit back and relax. Relately will take some time to work on figuring out your interactions with each person.
The Dashboard is your one-look window to see a list of the people you should be reaching out to soon, as well as those you should be talking to right now. A coloured ring around the contact’s name and a “points tally” tells you how often you interact with that person, based on your definition of importance.
Click on any Contact now and you will see a summary of your recent interactions with that person across various networks.
Relately also opens up a Compose window to let you talk with a person. The app even offers a few suggestions on what you could talk about with that person, although this is generic advice and not targetted at that person by learning their interests or anything like that.
These posts can be sent from Feedly to Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Weirdly, it doesn’t let you email that person even though it’s used for getting contact info. For that, you’ll have to go back to your inbox.
Speaking of the inbox, Relately also nominates one person every day that you should be in touch with and sends an email reminding you to talk to him or her. These reminders can be set to be weekly, daily or sent when a contact drops below 70 points.
Relately believes building a network isn’t a cheap activity and its pricing indicates it’s meant more for professional use. The current plans are paying either $27 per month or $270 for a year.
Is It Worth It?
For personal usage, Relately works splendidly but asks for too high a price. I really wish there was a basic free account for individuals who just wanted to track a few important contacts.
For professional usage, Relately can be fantastic for those who need to constantly stay in touch with a few people. It works just as advertised, which makes it a great tool to know who you have been ignoring recently.
I also hope Relately adds other ways of tracking interaction. For instance, right now, it doesn’t recognise if I have called, texted, Whatsapped or IMed someone — four digital message forms I use very often.
Relately tracks your interactions with contacts across different networks and email to figure out who you have been ignoring and need to get in touch with8
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