I spent some time manually grabbing contacts on all the YASNs I belong to. Here's the recipe. The trick is to make your GMail account the master list of all your contacts.

1. Get as much CSV as you can. Export your contacts from Outlook, LinkedIn and anything else with a contacts export function.

2. Import all your CSV into a Gmail account.

3. Use Plaxo to sync everything you can into GMail

4. Go to each YASN and use the import or find friends function to grab your Gmail contacts and find friends that are already on that network. Be very careful that you only find existing members and don't spam or send invites out to those that aren't. Almost every YASN now has a Gmail import system to help you do this.[1]

5. Repeat every once in a while.

Now clearly, this ought to be automated. Which is what Brad is getting at with his essay "Thoughts on the Social Graph".

What's sad here is how few of the YASNs have an export function.

[1] if you're a developer check out Octazen Contact importer code. They've got cheap PHP code that will grab the contact list from a large number of web email systems.

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[ 15-Sep-07 8:50am ] [ ]