Keep your friends close with Socialite

Socialite for Facebook is a new iOS app from independent developer Bryce Satterfield. It’s available now as a free download from the Apple App Store, and also has an optional, separately-sold Pro version available that removes ads.

Socialite’s core concept is to provide an app that allows users to reconnect with one another based on their location as listed on Facebook. In order to use the app, the user must first provide their “home” location via GPS and optionally their phone number, then connect with Facebook. Once this is done, the user is then able to browse their list of friends according to geographical proximity and then interact with them accordingly.

When browsing the app’s “Friends Near Me” list, the user may view their friends either in a list sorted by proximity or on a map showing their current (or last checked-into) location. From either the list or the map, the user may tap on a friend to view a summary of their profile, which includes their Facebook profile picture, their name and their current location. From this page, it’s possible to view the friend’s Facebook profile (an option which switches to the dedicated Facebook app rather than viewing it within the Socialite app), send them a message either via Socialite (if the friend has it installed) or their Facebook profile, call them (if they have signed up to Socialite and provided their phone number) or “nudge” them. “Nudging” Socialite users provides an immediate notification; “nudging” non-Socialite users sends them a Timeline post informing them that you are in the area.

The app can be set up to automatically notify the user when their friends are within a certain distance of them. This facility can be customized — by default, the user must be 100 miles or more away from their defined “home area” before they will receive notifications of friends being nearby, and notifications will be received if friends are within a 50-mile radius. These distances may be relatively “small” for larger countries such as the U.S., but in smaller countries with smaller urban areas (such as the U.K.) the minimum distance of 50 miles is actually a significant way away — by several towns or cities in many cases. It would perhaps be more practical to have had the facility to see when other users are in the same town, or within 5-10 miles rather than 50.

This issue aside, Socialite has the potential to be mildly useful. Because it’s based on Facebook check-ins and location information rather than third-party services such as Foursquare, it’s a good means of easily keeping tabs on friends in the area. The fact it uses Facebook also means that it isn’t reliant on its own proprietary network — in fact, it’s not really all that clear why Socialite even has its own proprietary network, since all the features the app offers (sending messages, calling, nudging/poking) are already present in Facebook.

The app is free but ad-supported, with inconspicuous banner ads on the app’s main menu. The aforementioned “pro” version removes ads for $1.99 and claims to offer “additional perks,” but doesn’t elaborate on what these might be in the App Store description. At present, the ads are unobtrusive enough and the app isn’t fully-featured enough to justify a $1.99 price point. The developer should perhaps consider implementing the removal of ads via in-app purchase rather than an unnecessary separate download.

Socialite has some potential but doesn’t really do very much at present. This is fine for the free incarnation, but those paying for the app will probably expect a little more for their money. The app itself is certainly well-presented and intuitive to use — it’s just a little limited for now.

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