I’ve been a fan of HootSuite for years (the fact that they are also in Vancouver and lots of my friends work there is purely secondary). They quickly replaced TweetDeck as my Twitter dashboard of choice and if I’m advising clients on how to manage and update their social media profiles—HootSuite is the first (and really only) suggestion I have for them. The thing is that today I realized that HootSuite isn’t a social media dashboard. Yeah, nope, not any more. With their latest updates to the apps available within HootSuite, HootSuite has tipped their hand at what the true direction for the company is: be your entire online life dashboard.
More that Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn
Today HootSuite added Gmail and a slew of other apps (including apps for VidCaster and Pinterest) that you can use within HootSuite—You Asked and We Delivered: The Most User Requested Apps Have Arrived—and if you look at the apps currently available I’m at a loss to find an online activity that you can’t do from within HootSuite. This is essential to understand and let sink in; HootSuite has an add-on app (some are paid subscriptions) for almost everything that you can want to do online. When Twitter declared open war on third party Twitter clients, I think all of us wondered what would happen to HootSuite. HootSuite carved out its place in our online lives as a Twitter client and what if Twitter pulls the plug on HootSuite? Well, it turns out that HootSuite has a unique position and relationship with Twitter, so that isn’t likely to happen (but I wouldn’t bet on it never happening), but seeing their precarious position Ryan Holmes and his team have built something far, far more than a mere Twitter client.
With each new service that HootSuite supports natively (I use Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn myself) and each app they foster (like an RSS add on to help soften the blow of Google Reader’s demise or the new Gmail service), HootSuite makes themselves invaluable to netizens. Not just invaluable, but also HootSuite becomes more and more of a digital hub for everything you do online. Need to interact with Flickr? Check. YouTube? Check. Tumblr, Blogger, WordPress? Yep 3X. Light RSS reading? You betcha (admittedly I haven’t tried it, I figure I’m a little beyond the scale of who HootSuite is catering to with their RSS reading solution). Heck, even Evernote is supported within HootSuite.
It’s a model based on becoming essential
Now you see it don’t you? That HootSuite isn’t a social media dashboard. It’s an online life dashboard. That’s their real business plan (and why they received $165 million in new investment), they know that focusing on any single social network is technological suicide. Being “just a Twitter client” won’t work. Being the app that connects your digital life together (and happens to post to Twitter…and Facebook…and LinkedIn…and…) works. Maybe this is a blinding flash of the obvious to you, but for me the addition of a Gmail app was the final piece in the puzzle that could allow someone to live their digital life almost entirely within HootSuite and be gloriously happy to do so.
Disclosure: I have a complementary “friends and family” HootSuite Pro account from back in the early days of HootSuite Pro.