Rapportive is a contact management browser plugin for Gmail that is really useful for networking online.
You can see their photo, recent Tweets, links to their Facebook and LinkedIn (who acquired Rapportive recently), and more.
I often meet people for lunch I’ve never met before, and it’s hugely helpful to get a picture of the person, as well as to be able to get more of a feel for them through their various social networks.
The same goes for meeting new people at conferences.
Sure, you could do that legwork on your own, but you might not find the correct accounts for a given name.
Also, it makes it easy to connect on these networks with the contact, and establish a rapport. Cool, free tool – check it out.