Did you update your Facebook status yet today? If you use the social media site, chances are you’ve probably thought about it at least once today. In today’s world, we’re connected more than ever and a world of information has become more readily available with a quick tap of our finger. We live in a society where some of us have two different lives: the tangible one where we can dump ice water on our heads for charity, and the online one in which we talk about that crazy thing we did IRL (in real life).
For the past week or so, I’ve had the pleasure of trying out an app called Refresh, which is available to iOS devices for free
on the App Store. Refresh aims to put all of the information that you collect and share over social networks into a simple tool that can be used to catch up and “refresh” yourself with your contacts. The idea is to have a tool that can help you better connect with the other people in your circles and establish better relationships. But is Refresh as helpful as it wants to be, or is it just another way to get your online stalking done?
The first thing I want to mention is that Refresh’s performance depends completely on your willingness to connect your social networks with the third-party application. The app simply doesn’t work like its supposed to if you deny it sources from which to pull information. I can see this being a deal breaker already, but if that’s the case you probably weren’t very interested in the app to begin with. Once you’ve connected your social networks, Refresh will start syncing information and connecting the dots between your different contacts to give you full summaries of all of your connected friends.
I will admit that the dossier style profiles are pretty cool and can be handy when trying to find general interests or online posts from your contacts. However, you should take this information with a grain of salt since your contact could have just clicked “Like” on a skateboarding post but really has no real interest in the activity. Please, don’t put yourself in that awkward conversation. If you’re going to use the info gathered for small talk, bring it up organically. I think that will be my only social interaction tip for today.
Getting back to Refresh, the app will show you information like resumes, mutual contact information, significant and popular posts, contact info, general interests, places visited and lived and any interactions they may have had with you. Now, anybody who wants to take the time going through the different social sites can find this information without Refresh, because it’s all already there. What makes the app useful is the fact that you don’t have to go out and find it yourself; it’s put together in an organized fashion.
On that note, I will say that I like the way Refresh looks and runs. The app is smooth and quick, and the information is clearly defined on each page. These qualities are a must for an app that is meant to be used as a social interaction preparation-type tool. I really enjoy having the Refresh on my device. I may not use it all of the time, but I can see how it would come in handy for networking.
The Good: Refresh looks clean and runs efficiently. It can be handy for networking.
The Bad: Refresh relies on social networks as its source of information. The information can be misleading since the truth tends to be embellished online, and an unwillingness to connect the networks will keep certain users away.
The Verdict: I will probably keep Refresh on my tablet as a way to pass the time. The information that it gathers can be interesting at times, but ultimately one can get the same information by reading through the social sites themselves. I can see Refresh becoming a very viable source of information in the future as more of our lives are captured online.