Spottlife is an iOS app from Gamai LLC. It is available for free in the App Store and carries no additional in-app purchases.
Gamai’s Spottlife is a social networking app that combines the feeds of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram and sorts the content by the topic of discussion. Gamai’s argument is that there are so many users and so many conversations going on at once, it can be difficult for users to keep track of the issues that are important to them. Through the use of a minimalist layout, Spottlife tries to make finding interesting conversation as easy as possible. While it is a good idea, Spottlife has a few obstacles it needs to overcome before it can compete with other social media dashboards.
When first opening Spottlife, users are prompted to create an account. This process is quick and painless, and can be done entirely within the app. After signing in, users are greeted with an overview of what the app has to offer. The minimalist look to the overview sets the tone for using the app itself, and it works as a nice tutorial to help users understand what makes Spottlife unique. Once the guide is complete, users are asked to sign in with one of the four compatible social networking accounts. After linking the desired accounts, Spottlife will take a few minutes to create the feed and sort entries by topic. Once Spottlife finishes, the rest of the app is fully available for use.
What makes Spottlife unique is its effort to help users find conversations they care about by sorting all conversations and updates by topic. Once the feed is formed, users will be greeted by a vertical list of numbers and words that show what their friends are talking about and how many have been commenting on that topic. The topics range from broad categories, like technology and politics, to time-specific categories, like the NBA playoffs and Mother’s Day. Tapping a topic brings up a list of all the relevant updates, so users can look at them and comment on any, if desired. This system works well in theory, but it starts to show some flaws in practice. Spottlife categorizes updates based on keywords. Words like “biology” and “chemical” will fit under science, and topics like Google Glass, are easy to pull out by name. The problem comes when the assumed keyword has little to do with the actual topic of conversation. Voting in an internet poll has may have nothing to do with politics, but because Spottlife sees words like “vote” and “poll”, it assumes the conversation is political in nature.
Topics being incorrectly categorized makes following conversations in Spottlife harder than it is normally. This isn’t the only source of troubles for the app, though. Spottlife also struggles to work as a conversation starter. There’s no difficulty in posting comments or liking others’ comments. However, Spottlife has problems posting status updates, Tweets, or Instagram uploads. Regardless of whether or not a user uploads a photo with the update, it will fail to post. We attempted countless times to post numerous updates, and it consistently got stuck at the “posting” screen. Odds are, users who frequently post their own updates will quickly go back to their app of choice, though users who are simply interested in continuing conversation may not find this to be a big issue.
Spottlife is a good idea in theory. The ability to sort massive friend feeds by topic is something that hasn’t been deeply explored. The problem that arises is Spottlife’s over-reliance on keywords. So many topics are incorrectly categorized, and there’s an inability for users to post their own updates. Because of these issues, it’s hard to recommend Spottlife. Users with giant friend lists may find the occasional use, but most will quickly go back to their preferred dashboard app.
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