Manage your social life with Ketchup

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By Pete Davison Comment

mzl.esjkjhmk.320x480-75Ketchup is a new iOS app from Reddyset LLC, also available as a Web-based service. It’s available now as a free download from the App Store, and carries no additional in-app purchases.

Ketchup is an app designed to help people manage their “real world” social lives and encourage friends to hold each other to their promises. Essentially, it is a means through which friends can indicate which activities they might be interested in participating in, and inviting others to join them. Using the app, they can arrange meetups for various purposes and record how often they have managed to keep up with various members of their social circle.

Using Ketchup requires a Facebook account to quickly and easily retrieve the user’s friends list. Reddyset may wish to consider implementing some sort of proprietary account system at some point, as App Store reviewers in certain territories — most notably the U.K. — tend to react negatively towards social apps that do not offer any options other than Facebook to sign in. The benefits of using Facebook Connect are obvious — quick and easy registration and the ability to access a friends list that is already in place rather than having to create a new one — but some users prefer to keep their third-party apps away from the social network’s prying eyes, and others still don’t have a Facebook account at all.

ketchup

To start using Ketchup, users must create a “Ketchup” and add it to their “Table” through a button in the corner of the screen. Next, they must choose a friend from their Facebook friends list that they would like to hang out with, followed by an activity. Nine default activities ranging from “Hang Out” to “Concert” are initially displayed, but a longer alphabetical list of possible activities can be accessed by scrolling down, and users can create their own activities if they desire, too. Once the user has set up their Ketchup, they can add a message to it and then send it to their friend via Facebook message, SMS/iMessage or email. Alternatively, if their friend is already using Ketchup, they can choose to rely on Ketchup’s push notifications rather than other messaging services.

Received requests appear in the user’s inbox and can either be agreed to or declined. If agreed to, they are added to the Table and the time since agreement begins being tracked, just like with created Ketchups. Ketchups currently on the Table can be viewed by tapping on them, and from here either user in the exchange may mark the Ketchup as completed or “flake out” on it. If the latter option is chosen, a reason must be given from a multiple-choice list that includes the opportunity to write a custom message. If a Ketchup is marked as completed, the participants can brag about how they successfully engaged in a social interaction via either Twitter or Facebook, including how much time elapsed between the Ketchup being created and it actually being completed. Completed Ketchups are also marked on the user’s profile, and the in-app Facebook friends list keeps track of how many Ketchups have been completed with each friend.

Ketchup is a sound idea that depends on users getting buy-in from their friends on the idea — though the use of Facebook rather than a proprietary account actually works in the app’s favor here, as there is no requirement to curate yet another friends list, since it simply uses the user’s Facebook friends. However, I’d question the use of the terminology used in the app. “Ketchup” may sound like “catch up” and “Table” may be a reference to “tabling this for now” — putting something off to be done in the future — but it’s difficult not to think that the app’s purpose might have been made a little more clear with some more recognizable terminology, as the use of the “food” theme just comes across as a bit gimmicky and deliberately obtuse. Despite this, the app is overall well-designed, easy to use and intuitive to navigate, and is certainly worth a try for those looking to give their social lives a little bit of extra organization.

You can follow Ketchup’s progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.

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