Friday, July 2, 2010

Rapportive: My new Toy. Watch out!

Technorati, Don Martelli, Email, Sidebar, Social Networks, Social Networking, Rapportive, Facebook, Google, I was having a gTalk chat with the Executive Editor at Technorati, whom I have never met, and he said, "You are/were with Leo Burnett, right?", and I asked him how he knew that. "Rapportive", he answered. It's an app that's compatible with Google and it gives you a sidebar with information about the person who is sending you email. Cool. Or cool? (with a shiver)

Technorati, Don Martelli, Email, Sidebar, Social Networks, Social Networking, Rapportive, Facebook, Google, I immediately downloaded and installed the app and voi la! There in gorgeous color and text was a complete bio of the person I was talking to. All his past jobs, his present jobs, a few tweets and some whatnot. Whatnot for sure.

I checked my own bio by pulling up an email I had written to someone else and holy frickin' jeezuz! There's a rap sheet on me a mile long. This thing is dangerous, especially if someone else is using it.

Imagine you meet a girl in a bar and things are going fairly well so you pull up her email on your iPhone and find out that she's really a man and has had a stellar career in the sex toy industry, right there on your email sidebar.
"Another marguerita honey?". I don't think so.

But it's an app, it's out there and it's free, so better to get your hands on one now and play offensive instead of being on the defensive later with your wife, girlfriend, boss or parole officer. Once on the Internet, nobody can really hide anymore. And that is the absolute God-given truth.

I futzed with the app a bit and found that it collects all sorts of data from social networks, Facebook, etc., that you're a member of, and also takes tons of Google profile info and makes it public, but once installed, you are able to go in and edit this info so all your underwear isn't flapping about in the digital breeze. I deleted all my old jobs so only my present title and company show up.

Take a look-see up above for a sample of what it does. It only works with Google currently but I wouldn't be surprised to see Yahoo and others far behind.
Damn. Being a stalker used to be fun. Now they can see you coming in 360. Privacy takes another hit at the hands of the Digerati. Orwell was only off by twenty six years or so.

See my Technorati story on this same subject by clicking here.


  1. Hi David, thanks for your thoughtful post! We're spending a lot of time thinking about privacy while we're building Rapportive — we think it's an incredibly important but also very tricky point. Lots of information is already out there and being used by people, and we want it to be more accessible and convenient. At the same time, we wouldn't want to expose information that shouldn't be public, or even show inaccurate things.

    We think part of what we're doing is "educational", if you will excuse the expression: showing people what information is already public about them, so that they can take control and make sure that it accurately represents them in the way they want to be seen. As you say: you just need to be in the offensive yourself :)

  2. Thanks Martin. (Martin is one of the creators of Rapportive)

    I worry more about what permissions I did or did not give Facebook and the like. Yes, I put it on their site, and restrict access to my "friends" only, but they're spraying it all over, and to RapLeaf and eventually you. It's all in the fine print somewhere. I'm just raising a flag. Thanks so much for the note, but I don't think anyone's going to buy the "educational" angle for a nano-second. Cheers.


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