Refresh Your “Pocket-Sized Digital Briefing Document”

December 10, 2013
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Shortly after waking every day, I check the calendar on my phone or tablet. Collective Bias typically decorates my day with a rainbow patchwork of double and triple-booked time slots. Simply attending all these meetings is hard enough; keeping track of everyone in the meetings (CB folk and our many advertisers and agency partners) is almost impossible.

While reading Mashable over the Thanksgiving break, I discovered Refresh, an app that promises to “deliver an instant dossier straight to your iPhone about the people you know, the people you meet, and the people that you run into during the course of your life.”

A sucker for a shiny new app that promises to make my life easier and more efficient, I immediately visited the iTunes app store. (No Android version exists yet, but Refresh says that it’s on the way soon.)

After the download, Refresh asked me to connect every major social account I own. The app can currently access:

  • iPhone calendars
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Mail
  • Google+
  • Angellist
  • Evernote
  • Foursquare
  • Link Exchange
  • Yahoo!
  • iCloud


refresh 3

I disabused myself of the notion of privacy in our online world long ago, but I balked at the amount of access Refresh wanted to my online accounts. My curiosity got the better of me, however,  I had everything authenticated within minutes. (I told you I couldn’t resist a shiny opportunity to test a new app/toy.)

Refresh connects the dots between all the public information shared by my contacts and the private information they’ve authorized me to see across their social sphere. About 30 minutes before each meeting scheduled on my calendar, I get a notification that the dossiers for each attendee have been updated and are ready for my review.

This at-a-touch collection of important facts about my contacts is fun to review for friends and coworkers, but it will become invaluable the next time I’m meeting a new client for the first time (or revisiting an existing client I haven’t seen in a few weeks or months).

Here’s what my own profile looks like in the app.


When Twitter and Facebook became popular, we all marveled at how they helped us stay in touch with people we hadn’t seen for years. Seeing pictures of my cousins’ kids helped me to feel connected to them in between our yearly visits at Thanksgiving and Christmas. The networks also helped me get to know someone before I ever met them IRL. Before we knew it, though, Twitter and Facebook became too cluttered and lost their ability to facilitate intimate connections.

Refresh doesn’t create intimacy, but it does cut through the static created by our over-messaged, always-on, keeping-it-all-updated-gives-me-a-headache social profiles. I welcome some much needed clarity in my social connections and very much hope that it can deliver on its promise to use “the world’s information to deliver personalized insights to bring people closer together.”



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