Managing social networks is becoming an increasingly hard task. Whether you’re an individual trying to consolidate a plethora of social networks, or a social network manager trying to keep up with multiple Facebook and Twitter accounts, you’ve probably noticed that this world is moving fast. The situation is further complicated if you’re also running a blog – now there are also comments to deal with.
There’s no lack of solutions and managers out there, but no matter how sophisticated, they can’t make us faster than we already are. Keeping up with various tweets, messages, comments and updates becomes next to impossible, especially if you use more than one account. Into this mix enter FanMix, which offers a web interface that turns your social activity into something not unlike a Gmail inbox, promising you’ll never overlook another comment again.
The Social Inbox
Fanmix is a completely free service (although future premium options are probable) which consolidates your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Disqus accounts into one slick mailbox. To start, sign up for a Fanmix account. This takes about 15 seconds.
You can now start adding all your social accounts into Fanmix. You can add multiple accounts from each network; simply provide your user credentials and watch your list of accounts grow. You can always add and remove accounts later on, so you can add just one or two for now to see how it works.
Fanmix will start archiving your messages, threads and conversations immediately, and present you with your new social inbox, which includes activity from all the accounts you’ve added. This is a general overview of the inbox, which, as you can see, resembles an ordinary e-mail inbox.
Fanmix offers several mailboxes aside from the general inbox, such as a priority inbox, sent messages, archive and contacts. You can also easily add, remove or reconnect (for troubleshooting) any account through the Connected Accounts list.
With time, Fanmix will learn more and more about what’s important and what’s not, and mark these threads with a golden flag. You can manually mark and unmark messages as important to help the process along. You can also use stars to mark your conversations. The priority inbox shows you your important and starred threads first, and then all the other messages.
Just like with e-mail, you can search Fanmix using keywords or names and instantly find all the relevant threads from all your networks.
Communicating Through Fanmix
Fanmix is not a means of updating several social networks at once, but rather, helps you keep up with everything that’s happening across your social networks and blogs. To post a new message through Fanmix, click on the Compose button and write your message. You can choose one of your accounts to post the message through.
You can also track and engage in conversations through Fanmix. When someone replies to your post or sends you a message, it will show up in your Fanmix inbox. In this example, you can hold a Twitter conversation, making sure you never miss a reply. You can even retweet right from Fanmix.
One weird oversight is the lack of a URL shortener. URLs you post in Twitter through Fanmix are not shortened in any way. If you wish to use short URLs (and you probably do), you’ll have to use a different service for that.
Things get even more complicated when it comes to Facebook, but Fanmix has that covered as well. You can easily follow comments and likes from Facebook, post comments, updates, etc.
The Contacts box is also really useful. You can find all your contacts in one place, view only contacts from a specific network, and sort them by name, conversations, network size and most recent.
Adding Fanmix To Gmail
If another perpetually open tab in your browser is not what you’re after, and you happen to be using Chrome, you can add Fanmix to your Gmail inbox, and run everything from the same tab. In Fanmix, find the “Add FanMix to Gmail” button (only in Chrome), and click it to download the extension.
You may need to refresh a few times after installation, but next time you load Gmail you’ll find the FanMix button right there on the top left. Through it, you can track all your social activity right from Gmail.
After using Fanmix, I can safely say it’s one of the best ways to track and keep up with multiple social interactions online. It might not entirely replace other social clients, as there are important features still missing, but when it comes to never missing another thread or ignoring a comment by mistake, Fanmix is a true life saver.
What do you use to manage multiple social accounts? What do you think of the e-mail interface of Fanmix? Share in the comments.