Swipp screen shots from iTunes
Swipp describes itself as a social intelligence platform to find and display what the world thinks about everything. Pick a topic, rate it on a sliding scale, swipp your opinion, and then you can see what everyone else thinks about the same thing. The results are displayed for everyone, for your friends, on maps, or on a general topic outline.
Right now, you can do this on the web at app.swipp.com or with an iPhone app. Although the company has been putting this platform together for two years now, there is no Android app yet. Instead users are told to use the web app.
How it Works
Early Wednesday morning, almost as soon as the app was released, I gave it a try. It only took me about five minutes to get signed in and do a couple of swipps. The only way to sign in is via Facebook. Your swipps can be shared to Facebook and Twitter if you want. The app itself provided this opening tour. I include reading through the tour in the five minutes it took me to begin using it. I took screen shots of the whole thing.
It showed me how to enter a topic, use the sliding scale, and add a comment.
It explained the explore and stream tabs, which show you what other people are interested in at the moment.
The tour told me about the reference screen, which gives you a sort of Wikipedia-like reference to whatever the topic is. The index screen shows you a map and how the topic is scoring among everyone.
I was ready. I entered my first topic: Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (Don't judge me.) I gave the show the highest rating and touched "swipp it."
This early on the morning of the product launch, no one but me and another early adopter, Eliza Dushku (AKA Faith, the other Vampire Slayer) had rated the show. What a show -– loved by fans and cast members alike, both of us with excellent taste. Notice that she entered a comment, but I did not.
After my successful first swipp, I got an email from Denise, the BlogHer community manager. She had quite a few opinions about Swipp already.
- I want to be able to search swipps.
- The data on who has swipped seems incomplete or slow to update. I swipped Hillary and looked at the Swipp Index data and found it showed one male, (probably the original person), though six people had swipped. I assume Swipp is getting age/gender/location demographics from Facebook and those aren’t complete because people are hiding that data (though I don’t think I am hiding mine.) Or, maybe it's just slow to update that section because it does have to pull in data from Facebook. (Update: Yes, the Swipp Index data did improve as the day passed. Eight hours later, there were 16 swippers and the Swipp Index was showing a/s/l information for 10 of the 16.)
- I love that you can easily add a photo with your swipps, (I suspect swipps with photos are going to do better, over time, than those without.)
- Why is it that when I look at the stream of swipps, I’m compelled to only swipp positively? Is that me or is that something others feel as well? If I see a swipp I’m ambivalent about, I skip it. Or one I can’t really swipp positively about, I skip it. (Update: Based on watching the swipps fly today, it looks like this is my own personal issue and probably says something about ME and not all of humanity.)
- Trying to access the FAQs from my phone is a bit of a problem. It’s taking forever to load and it looks like it’s not fitting on my iPhone screen. Maybe it will adjust properly once I actually it to load, but right now it’s more of a frustration than it should be. (Too many people accessing the FAQs right now?)
- TOTAL TIME SUCK. TOTAL TIME SUCK. TOTAL TIME SUCK. (In a good, fun, time suck sort of way.)
- Trying to become PRIME swipper is addicting. It was fun to try and come up with new things to swipp that others had not yet swipped. I'm completely addicted to this.
I tried swipping Hillary after Denise's comment. I didn't have the problem with slowness that Denise had. Here's an image of how the results for Hillary Clinton look in the web app. You see more at one glance on the web than in the iPhone app.
Swipp is on Google+. You can see a video there that further explains how it works.
Is it Useful?
The company says it's working on an app just for the Super Bowl. I think it's safe to say that other specialized Swipp apps for other events are going to be in the making.
Swipp is an open platform -- the data is open and the API is open. It's a distributed system that aims to embed social into everything and aggregate it all into big data. Therefore, the answer to "Is it useful?" has to be yes. I know there will be plenty of silly stuff in there like ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but there will also be serious material that gets talked about over time. For example, it's early days yet, but the opinions on genetically modified foods are uniformly negative. Information like that might have an effect on the food industry. Global swipps on climate change or revolutions or social issues could mount up into a clear mandate for action.
If you are thinking you can't handle one more social network, then give Swipp some time to gel. If it lives up to the hype, you can join later. But if you are interested in it right now, it's free and easy to get started.
Disclosure: BlogHer.com editors decided to cover this story independently, because we cover social media for our community. However, we want to disclose that the company that is behind Swipp employs BlogHer CEO Lisa Stone's better half. -- Julie
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