Fellowup: The grandma-approved social service you should use

Web service keeps up with your contacts, tells you when you should send them congrats and condolences.

Your grandmother--the one with the birthday book, so she never forgets a family member's special day--would approve of Fellowup. It's a modern-day version of the same thing. It watches your contacts on Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as your Google mail and calendar, and gives you a clear dashboard showing you which of your contacts could benefit from the personal touch today. In addition to grabbing birth dates from social profiles, it also keeps an eye out for things like relationship and job status changes, and news articles that mention your contacts. It will show you an alert when these things come up, so you have an excuse to make personal contact.

The service also lets you create your own dossiers on your contacts, adding private tags for a person's interests, for example. With upcoming Google Calendar integration, Fellowup will also be able to ask you for feedback after a meeting with a contact, so you can enter your impressions or to dos.

Fellowup lets you post directly to your contacts' Facebook walls from within the service, which makes it even easier to pretend you remembered a contact's birthday. It can also send e-mails.

Much of what Fellowup does you can, of course, do directly with the services from which it pulls data--Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google. But Fellowup does a very nice job of gathering the personal event data you're likely to benefit from the most by acting on. What TripIt does with data from your travel Web sites, Fellowup does for personal contacts: It pulls together information you're likely to care about, and gives you a superclean, very useful dashboard with the data.

Fellowup reminds you when your contacts have birthdays, get mentioned in the news, or when there are other excuses to send them a note. Screenshot by Rafe Needleman/CNET

What Fellowup won't do is tell you which of your old contacts you might want to reach out to absent relevant events. Another company, Graphight, is supposed to nag you to connect with people it thinks might be valuable but that you've let fall out of touch. (See also: Gist.) Fellowup CEO Tomer Cohen claims that using "trigger" events as reasons to connect, which is Fellowup's stock in trade, leads to better emotional connection than just random, "We haven't talked in a while, let's have coffee," connection attempts.

Cohen does realize that with Fellowup alerts as well as Facebook's own birthday notifications, the value of a personal event-based note is diminishing. A "Happy Birthday" is worth less today than it was before Facebook, which makes the greeting stupid simple. However, while the value may be decreasing, "it will never go to zero," Cohen says.

Fellowup is fairly new, and not all the service's features are live yet. The current mobile app is also rather pointless since it doesn't show alerts, just your contact database; the next version will have more functionality, and Cohen says his company's development efforts are shifting to mobile first, ahead of the Web.

The app is free right now, but there will be pro "freemium" features to come later.

Fellowup is a good service. I signed up for this thing an hour ago and already love it. And I think Cohen and his team understand well the social dynamics they're working with. Watch this one.

 

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