Becoming a Professional Networker: Tags in Address Book OSX Needed!

[fr] Besoin, de toute urgence: plugin Address Book.app permettant de taguer ses contacts.

For some time now, I’ve been aware that I’m becoming a professional networker. Almost all I do to promote Going Solo, for example, relies on my reputation and the connections I have to other people.

Now, I’ve never been somebody to collect contacts just for the sake of collecting contacts, but until LeWeb3 last year, I had just been content with butterflying around and stacking business cards somewhere near by desk. At LeWeb3, when I started telling people about Going Solo, I also started realising that the people I met and contacts I made were going to have more importance for my business than before.

And if I’ve learnt something during these last two months, it’s the importance of getting back to people. I’ve figured out how iGTD and GMail can play nice together to help me with that, but it’s not sufficient. I need to keep track of who I’ve asked what, of who can help me with what, who has this or that connection. And yes, I have too many people in my business network to keep everything in my head.

As I explain in the video above, the lovely Cathy Brooks put me on the right track: use Address Book.app. I don’t really need to keep all the contact details related to a person close at hand (ie, phone number, e-mail, etc.) because I have that in LinkedIn, Facebook, GMail address book, or on business cards. I’m not interested in keeping an exhaustive repository of all the contact details of all the people I’ve met. What I’m interested in, however, is keeping the names of these people somewhere I can attach meaningful information to them.

Where we met. What we talked about. Stuff that’ll help me remember who people are.

So, I started simply adding names (Firstname Lastname) into my OSX address book, along with a few words in the Notes field. The nice thing about the Notes field is that you don’t have to toggle edit mode on to add stuff in the Notes. So, of course, I started using the notes field to tag people. Not too bad (smart folders allow me to “pull out” people with a certain tag) but not great either, because tags get mixed up with notes, and it’s a bit clunky.

Somebody suggested I create a custom “Tags” field (a “Names” type field is fine). Unfortunately, though this looks like a good idea at first, it fails because you have to edit a contact each time you want to add tags. Also, you can’t create a smart folder based on the contents of that field — you need to search through the whole card. Clunky too.

I don’t know how to write Address Book plugins, but I know they exist, and I have an idea for a plugin that would save my life (and probably countless others) and which doesn’t seem very complex to build. If there’s anybody out there listening… here’s a chance to be a hero.

I want a “tag your contacts” plugin for Address Book.app. What would it do? Simple, add a “Tags” field that behaves similarly to the “Notes” field. That would allow me to separate notes and tags — they aren’t quite the same thing, don’t you agree?

In addition to that, the plugin could display a list of all contacts tagged “thisorthat” when you double-clicked the tag. That would be nice.

Does anybody else want this? Does it already exist? Would anybody be willing to build it? (If other people are interested, I’d be willing to suggest we pool some cash to donate to the kind person building this life-saving plugin.)

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This entry was posted in Being the boss and tagged address book, address book.app, code, contacts, details, entrepreneuring, field, Geek / Technical, mac, network, networking, notes, osx, people, plugin, software, Software and Tools, tagging, tags, tool, utility, Wanted. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Becoming a Professional Networker: Tags in Address Book OSX Needed!

  1. Firas says:

    This isn't come remotely close to addressing your AddressBook.app concern, but you may be vaguely interested in Highrise — built as a “keep track what I said to whom and what's next” solution.

  2. Stephanie says:

    Hey Firas — I looked at Highrise, actually, and it's a bit overkill (and hence expensive) for what I want to do. I tend to generally remember people quite well, I just need a trigger for the name <-> face <-> person association and a way to keep track of small bits of info like “get back to this person about sponsorships when we do the next event”.


    HIghrise would certainly do the job — it's made for that — but I'm not sure it's worth the price for me (not yet, in any case, I haven't given up trying to hack Address Book.app!)

  3. What about using #hashtags in the Address Book note field to diffentiate tags from normal prose?

  4. David Touvet says:

    hello
    voici comment je fais ce que tu décris, j'ai un doc google docs avec une colonne tag
    et je peux filtrer les colonnes avec le ou les tags que je veux
    easy et accessible de partout
    ciao ciao
    david

  5. Stephanie says:

    Jochen: that's a great idea!

  6. Lloyd says:

    Well I found your blog because I am looking for exactly the same thing….any luck so far?

  7. No — what I've ended up doing for tags is that I use hashtags (#journalist, for example) in the notes field. Like that I can do a search for a tag and not have files show up which just contain the word in free-form text.

  8. Adam says:

    I feel your pain… I would absolutely love (i.e. would be willing to buy) a robust plugin for Address Book that provided a feature set similar to the excellent Mail Tags plugin (see http://www.indev.ca/MailTags.html). In the meantime, thanks for the #hashtags tip. It's a crude workaround, but it will have to do for now :(

  9. Chris Hsiung says:

    I’m looking for the same thing! Right now I use a * to mark tags.

    Now X is another product is in development, but it’s also more expensive and might be overkill.

    http://www.nowsoftware.com/nowxsubsite/

  10. Stephanie says:

    Chris, have you given it a try? let us know if you did — seems there is a public beta.

  11. Stephanie, thanks for this post – I’ve got the same problem. I’ll give the #tags a try. Have you heard if anyone’s actually making a plug-in for Address Book to create real tags?

  12. Pingback: What Have We Done? » Day 3 – Jacob (London)

  13. Jacob says:

    I know this is an old post, but the issue still irks me. Found this article today (http://bit.ly/cJJp1V) which suggests that #tags don’t work – apparently the hash gets ignored? I just tried it myself, and it seems to be true. Dashes/hyphens work, however. Still looking for a plugin. Tag auto-completion would be nice…

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