As the number of commonly used social media platforms proliferates and those sites play an ever-increasing role in the life of an average internet user, the need for tools to manage a user’s online presence grows stronger and stronger.
People search and social discovery site MyLife, which was formed in a 2009 merger of Reunion.com and Wink, has launched a social dashboard to allow its 60 million plus members to find connections and manage their multiple social and email accounts via a single interface. Supported social networks include Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as well as email platforms Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, and Hotmail (soon to be Outlook.com) — Pinterest, Tumblr, and others are said to be coming soon.
“Consumers are juggling so many social media sites and accounts that they’ve become totally overwhelmed by the fear of missing out on an important event or status update,” says CEO Jeff Tinsley.
Tinsley argues that everyday users are not well served by the more complicated “pro tools” offered by the likes of HootSuite and others and do not have access to alternative consumer-grade solutions that sufficiently meet their needs. The company refers to its new dashboard as a “personal relationship manager (PRM).”
Within the MyLife dashboard, users can view all social feeds at once in a single stream — possibly a good thing, but more likely an overwhelming experience — update their status, post comments, Like or Tweet, and view and comment on photos and videos directly within the unified stream.
The more than five year old MyLife has quietly been adding a ton of new users as of late, more than 1.5 million per month according to the CEO. This growth is in large part due to an aggressive advertising campaign with planned 2012 spending to the tune of more than $25 million.
MyLife acquired social communications manager Threadsy in March of this year, building on top of existing technology to release today’s new dashboard product. The platform is available on the Web and via native mobile apps on both iOS and Android.
In addition to unifying user’s social media and messaging feeds, the service will continue to offer the people search functionality on which it was built. Users can perform unlimited searches within the company’s database of more than 700 million profiles, which offers far greater granularity and precision than similar tools, including search by 25 attributes such as name, maiden name, company, school, current location, past location, and relationship status.
Through the combination of social media and email messaging in a single platform, MyLife Dashboard offers functionality to match LinkedIn-owned gmail plugin Rapportive which allows users to view social profiles, status messages, and photos of connections while messaging. For the majority of those who user Rapportive (myself included), the plugin is viewed as one of the best and most useful social communication tools online. The ability to compete in this area might end up proving an unexpectedly powerful value-add within MyLife.
With so many user accounts and profiles managed within a single platform, privacy and security become an enormous concern. Tinsley explains that the platform maintains the very same granular privacy and sharing controls available within each respective social network and that users can manage their visibility to other users of MyLife.
The MyLife Dashboard is free to use to the extent described above. The site offers a paid premium upgrade centering around identity management. Specifically, if users want to view who has searched for them and visited their profiles, this functionality is only available with a premium account. The company has previously reported having more than 600,000 paid users.
MyLife, which is currently profitable, has raised only a single institutional round of financing in 2007. The $25 million round was funded entirely by Oak Investment Partners. At the time of the merger of Reunion.com and Wink, the former was reportedly generating revenue of approximately $52 million.
In conjunction with today’s dashboard launch, MyLife commissioned a Harris Interactive study titled Connecting and Communicating Online: State of Social Media. The study revealed a number of things about social media dependency in the modern world, including that 62 percent of consumers fear of missing out on news or important updates — a statistic that increases to 72 percent for singles.
More frighteningly and indicative of the extent of social networking addiction, 40 percent of users (including more than 50 percent of Generation Y) would “rather undertake unpleasant or potentially painful activities, from getting a root canal to spending the night in jail, before they would give up their social networking profiles.”
“Surprisingly enough, while everyone knows different social networks serve different purposes, the way people are using sites to consume or share content doesn’t fall in line with what we might expect,” says Tinsley in reference to A number of other interesting statistics revealed by the study.
- LinkedIn is tops for consumption; 68% of people say they use the site mainly to consume content
- YouTube (57%) and Twitter (53%) were next in line when it came to sites where people tend to view content without engaging in the conversation
- Foursquare trumps Facebook (44% vs 17%) when it comes to the social network adults use primarily for sharing
- Pinterest (48%) narrowly edged out Facebook (46%) as the site where people are most likely to equally consume and share content. Tumblr was a close third at 41%
“Consumers are bombarded with so much information online – from status updates and photos to tweets and check-ins – that our anxiety around missing out has shifted to our digital lives,” says Tinsley. “The fact that many people would rather run a marathon or spend a night in jail than give up their Facebook or Twitter account is proof positive.”
[Image source, Mashwork]