iOS App Review: CircleMe

I consider myself to have social networking A.D.D. (attention deficient disorder) and in spite of my on and off again relationships with Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter I am always on the hunt for a new muse. I stumbled upon Circle Me and found myself intrigued by their tagline: “Collect all your likes, plant them around town, find new things”. Hmm, sounds like all things I would enjoy doing. So I grudgingly took my eyes of my Instagram feed for a few moments to “Circle In”, and see where this journey would take me.

Overview:

Users are encouraged to “plant” a song, a book, a movie, a venue, anything really, with a related message for other CircleMe users to find and enjoy. As the site is still in its infancy stage, the CircleMe team took the liberty of pre-populating the database with about 1 million items to “like”, and another 11 million to access via API connections with other networks. Users explore what other people have “planted” by receiving real-time notifications when other people plant things in their near-by location. The iPhone app works in conjunction with a visually compelling web interface.

Pros:

  • Connect with like-minded people with similar interests
  • Let’s you “plant” and find virtual items based on location
  • Track related news
  • Trade recommendations with friends
  • Share future plans with different social circles
  • Ability to import your favorite things from other social sites services
  • Add or remove items from your library
  • Web interface creates a user profile that is visually competitive to any other social profile you might have
  • Create “To Dos” related to any of your collected likes
  • Find friends through Facebook
Cons:
  • Can only find friends through Facebook, no option to search friends through iPhone contacts or any other social media site like Twitter or Instagram
  • Dashboard is confusing for a new user
  • First impression of feed was alien for my taste, feed was pre-populated with users that were strangers to me and there was no explanation of how it got into my feed
  • Time sensitive items are not updated (ie: a concert gets planted but only lasts a day, it still remains on the CircleMe map after the event is long over)
  • Location based services have to be turned on to optimize user experience, drains battery life after about 6 hours
Conclusion:The concept is exciting and slightly different from anything else out there. If you are an artsy person filled with various passions, or someone who frequents coffee houses, book stores, music venues, or museums this app might actually enhance your experience. The ability to see what other like-minded people have done in the same location is intriguing to a certain extent. Some of the things planted are a bit confusing if the user doesn’t leave a message with it. Being brand new to CircleMe the app itself could use a boost in the tutorials and user education. I had to really lean on the CircleMe website to feel comfortable with everything the iPhone app had to offer. The biggest obstacle I experienced was that I couldn’t find one person in my real life that was already using CircleMe, which left me basically trusting in complete strangers and their interests and opinions. The second challenge was that no one has planted anything in my surrounding area. I guess I’ll have to be the trail blazer for CircleMe here in sunny south Florida. In the end I felt like until more of my real-life friends joined my time invested into CircleMe will be limited.

To learn more about CircleMe visit their website or download the free iPhone app.

 

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