Call it a blessing or a curse, but there’s an increasing number of people who spend a majority of their working and far to often non-working hours glued to the web. Those with careers in online marketing, media, and communications shouldn’t have trouble relating. To some extent maybe it’s just a part of the job, but those who’ve been in the trenches know very well that it can also become an organizational nightmare and a huge time and productivity suck. This is the primary reason why I’m excited about Engagio, a recently released web app that’s trying to help fix these woes by being a one stop destination for keeping tabs on day to day conversations across social networks. It’s not a listening dashboard, although it does make for a nice compliment to one, but rather an inbox for comments and discussions.
The idea for the service came to life when founder William Mougayar reached out to mega venture capitalist blogger Fred Wilson to discuss what a “gmail for social conversations” would look like. Not too long afterwards with some hard work via Mougayar and his team Engagio was born. After test driving it for a week it’s safe to say that today’s version does look and function a lot like gmail.
One reason why I’m a fan of Engagio is that it takes all the conversations that you’re engaged in on Disqus, Twitter, Facebook, G+, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Foursquare, and even Hacker News, and puts them all in one place. Unlike a monitoring dashboard such as HootSuite or Seesmic that might require constant attention, Engagio can be referenced whenever need be and doesn’t come across as overwhelming. I can keep tabs on the people I’m having fresh conversations with, but also track and hold onto these conversations over time. It’s a useful tool for relationship building especially within the context of blog comments. I can imagine using Engagio in a scenario where I’m a community manager and I’d like to stay close to influential contacts or when I’m proactively trying to build a relationship in hopes of a earning a link or press coverage. For those who aren’t heavily involved with the social web, but still have a presence to keep up, Engagio is perhaps one the easiest ways to periodically check in and see if there’s a message or comment that needs to be responded to.
Although it’s still early, Engagio is only likely to be getting better from here on out. Right now it’s 100% free to use, so it should be interesting to see what a premium version looks like or what additional features will be tacked on in the future.