i try to keep is a single csv (text) file with details of everyone i know/work with/have ever emailed with, etc. and go to great lengths to keep this consolidated list up to date and centralized across various social networks, email clients, im, and other contexts...
every once in a while i like to try to re-sync all of my contacts across spheres, by uploading them into gmail, and then syncing various networks (twitter, facebook, etc) against my centralized gmail list. every time i do this hilarious and interesting things happen.
last week, i synced twitter - of the few odd thousand contacts i threw at it (i don't at all discriminate) several hundred had twitter accounts set up. 'following' them was a funny and interesting experience. an untold number of people (including my father) that are clear second/third wave twitter users had one or two posts up that just said "trying twitter", "twitttering", "i don't get it"...
more interesting still was to see the huge number of 'dead' twitter accounts associated with tech folk who are heavy twitter users. when you search for them by email address you get all of their old stubs, demos, experiments that they played with for different projects or before fully adopting the tool. so, my contact dump twitter story is first an amazingly high number of people have tried it/are trying it from the mainstream -- and a lot who are not yet convinced
dumping all my contacts into facebook was an even more interesting experience largely because the scale is staggering. upon sync facebook found 600 contacts in my email that were on facebook but with whom i was not friends (on top of another 800 with whom i was already friends)... upon pushing friend requests to the group i got almost 100 confirmations within an hour... and they are continuing to stream in.
the vibrancy and reach of the property is staggering. i am now friends with the woman who organizes helicopter ski trips in northern canada for cmh, tons of developers i know in the philippians, people from all over the globe and of all ages.
it was also amusing to get tens of 'do i know you' emails from people that were in my gmail 'contact' list but i don't really know (in most cases, people that had been cced on chains i was responding to). getting emails back asking about relationships highlights the fundamental difference regarding how most people feel about their facebook profiles... the reality/accuracy of fb's network may be diluted from what it once was, but it is still much more 'real' than anything else out there.