Futures Lab Update #157: A Deeper Look at Crystal, a Platform for Tailored Messages

    by Rachel Wise
    July 8, 2016
    A screenshot from this week's Futures Lab Update video.

    This story first appeared on RJI’s Futures LabReporting by Haley Reed.

    This week we look at Crystal, a platform that determines how to better communicate with different individuals. Crystal uses public data and personality tests to create comprehensive profiles that provide tips on how to compose tailored messages. This tool could help journalists more effectively communicate with sources, colleagues and other social media contacts.


    For more information:

    • The way Crystal works is by scraping the web for public data, which it then filters through an algorithm. With that information — along with a DISC personality assessment — it sorts users into one of 64 personality types. Then, as WNYC describes, it acts as “an email writing coach and therapist rolled into one, from big picture advice (“Be interesting!”) to smaller-seeming details (“Say ‘Hi’ instead of ‘Hello’), giving tips based on what it knows about you.
    • Anyone can sign up for Crystal, take a personality test and browse contacts at crystalknows.com.
    • Crystal offers a Chrome plugin that works with Gmail and adds a “View Personality” button to profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
    • Help files, how-to tips and other support can be found on the Crystal blog.
    • It’s free for users to sign up for Crystal and use basic features, but additional options are available through different monthly subscriptions. Crystal also offers a free 7-day trial to test out more advanced features.

    Rachel Wise is an editor at the Futures Lab at the Reynolds Journalism Institute and co-producer of the weekly Futures Lab video update.



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    The Reynolds Journalism Institute’s Futures Lab video update features a roundup of fresh ideas, techniques and developments to help spark innovation and change in newsrooms across all media platforms. Visit the RJI website for the full archive of Futures Lab videos, or download the receive email notification of each new episode.

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