As fun as social networks can be, they can be equally (if not more) daunting to maintain. Between Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Foursquare, Tumblr, Pinterest and many more, it’s hard to find time to keep tabs on everything. When I load up my Twitter feed and see 100+ new tweets, part of me feels it’s not worth the hassle, but another part worries that I may miss something worthwhile.
The tools I use to consume social media content on my iPad (Facebook, Tweetbot, Google+) are all well designed for the most part and aren’t really the issue. The real issue is the content that’s present on my feeds. Most of the posts I encounter are really enjoyable, but I also have endure posts without any real substance, which in turn degrades my experience.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a tool that weeded out the “noise” and left only the good stuff. ThusFresh, Inc. believe they have made such a tool with Undrip. Hit to jump to see if it really works as advertised.
Before discussing whether or not Undrip is a worthwhile app, it’s important to note that it’s currently under a closed beta. So, if you want in you’ll have to sign up for an invite, or find a current user that can send you an invite. My invite took nearly two months to receive, but the app has been in beta for awhile now, so you may receive your invite faster than I did.
Connecting to Your Social Networks
Once you’ve received an invite and signed up for an account, you’ll need to add your social networks, if desired. Currently, you can link to your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and App.net accounts (it’s a bit disappointing that Google+ isn’t available). When you request an invite, you’ll have to connect either a Twitter or Facebook account, which will already be added when you sign in for the first time. Additional accounts can be added by in the settings menu.
While Undrip started out as a tool that connects to your social networks, ThusFresh, Inc. recently added features that made Undrip a social network within itself. Much like Facebook and Twitter, you can add friends and post content that’s only shared with other Undrip members. It’s a nice feature to have, but it suffers from the same problem most new social networks face — a lack of users to share the experience with.
One thing I really like about Undrip is the interface and navigation setup. At no point did I ever feel lost, especially since Undrip uses informational prompts that discuss how to use various sections of the app. Starting with the bottom navigation bar, buttons are available to add a post (called Drips), which are shareable on Facebook and Twitter.
The remaining buttons allow you to navigate to the different areas of the app, including Flow (allows you to view posts from your feeds), Downpour (view popular content from other Undrip users), People (displays suggested Undrip users for you to follow) and Me (view your posts and change your settings).
Consuming Your Feed
Unlike most social network apps, Undrip offers a lot of filtering options to consume your feeds as you see fit. The main filtering option allows you to view content by category (articles, images, videos, websites, and all), which can be toggled by tapping the umbrella icon in the top left corner. You can also sort your feeds by popular posts (an algorithm decides a post’s popularity) and recent posts (referred to as Fresh).
As someone that likes to consume content by categories (fun fact, I tend to eat my food in a similar manner), I really enjoyed these sorting features and wish they were available within the actual social networks themselves. Facebook does allow you to sort by Top Stories and Most Recent, but it’d be nice to sort by category to avoid more annoying posts.
Drips and Ripples
Reading posts and consuming content is only part of a social network experience. When I find something I enjoy, I like to pass it along to my friends so they can enjoy it as well. In my experience, Undrip both succeeds and falters in this area. Starting with the good, there are numerous options to share content with others. Next to each post is a Drip button, which allows you to compose a thought and share a link (if needed) within Undrip, and to Facebook and Twitter.
You can view more sharing options in the Ripple menu, which is accessed by tapping the gray icon with a squiggly line. Depending on the social network from which the post originates, you’ll find a series of options that pertain to said social network (e.g. posts from Twitter include options to retweet, favorite and reply). A bottom row of buttons provide more sharing options (post to Facebook or Twitter, or send an email), an option to save the post to Pocket or Instapaper, an option to open the post in a built-in web browser, and mark the post as read (which removes the post from your feed).
The Open Button at the top of the Ripple menu will display the post on the social network site (e.g. a post from Facebook will be displayed on a Facebook page), while the Open In Web button at the bottom will open the content from it’s source (e.g. a video from YouTube will be opened on a YouTube page).
While all of these sharing options and features make it easy to consume and share content, there seems to be a key element missing within Undrip — socializing. When someone posts a photo or video to Facebook, viewing said photo/video is only part of the experience. The other part is interacting with people and discussing the photo/video with others. I follow a Doctor Who page on Facebook that gets tons of comments with each post, but when I view said posts in Undrip, I can’t see what other people have said unless I tap the Open button to view the post from its original source. Doesn’t that kind of defeat the purpose of making content consumption simple?
Unless you have friends on Undrip that you can socialize with, the main functionality that the app offers is turning your social networks into an RSS feed of sorts. When I used Undrip, I felt it provided a great way to view content that was posted by people I followed. However, when I went back into the Facebook app and Tweetbot to view that content that wasn’t provided in Undrip, I found it annoying to see those posts I’d already seen. It’s the same feeling I have when I take care of a notification on my iPhone (e.g. someone replies to me on Twitter and I reply back) and the same notification is waiting for me on my iPad when I get home. I shouldn’t have to see it again.
These problems aside, Undrip can be a useful tool depending on how you use your social networks. If you’re the type of person that uses social networks to follow people or websites but not interact with anyone, I strongly encourage you to checkout Undrip. The user experience (full of great easter eggs including Mr. T, Mister Rogers, Darth Vader icons and more) is simply top notch, and allows you to consume your content with ease.
Undrip removes the noise from your social network feeds, leaving the content you really want to consume.7