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Inboxes are pretty cluttered these days, and there are more than a few startups clamoring to clean them up. The latest is one called Gist, which aims to integrate email and social sites like Facebook and LinkedIn to give you a beefed-up version of your Outlook Contacts. But as often happens with Big Picture tech ideas, there’s a side effect that’s rapidly becoming the main story: You get to rank your friends.

Instead of arranging emails by time like every other PopMail app, Gist uses the power of social media to rank your contacts from most important (boss, date, tailor) to the somewhat less important (chain-mail loving aunt, tech-savvy president). The good news: you’ll get a head start on the next meeting request. The bad news: If it catches on, getting a foothold in a new contact’s inbox will get a whole lot harder.

Maybe you could send them a telegram?

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom