After asking around and a bit of searching, I was finally able to get a copy of SocialScope for BlackBerry. SocialScope, a mobile inbox for your social network, brings your entire online life to your BlackBerry in one easy to use application. If you are like me, you probably managed multiple applications for your social network. FaceBook, UberTwitter, Twitter for BlackBerry, MySpace, Flickr, and FourSquare! Up until I got my hands on this application, I had each of those applications running at any given time. While this application doesn’t replace my use of the new FaceBook 2.0, it did allow me to delete all the other applications from my device! This was great on freeing up memory and improving my battery life notably. With that said, lets get moving.
Login & Settings
When you first launch SocialScope, you will be presented with the Login Screen. This screen only shows if you have either not registered, or if you logged out when you last used the application. If this is your first time launching, you can move your pointer up to the JOIN button in the top right corner and fill in a few details. While SocialScope is in limited Beta, you will be required to provide an activation key. You can sign up for the Beta, if you haven’t already, at getsocialscope.com. I am a huge fan of the new bubble style graphics and of colors that mesh really well, so when I first saw this screen I expected great things from the application.
On initial sign in, or alternatively by pushing the Berries button and navigating through the pop menu, you will be taken to the settings page. The first section, and the most crucial, is the Services section. Here you can enable multiple Twitter accounts, Flickr, FaceBook, and FourSquare. As of yet I have not seen an option to integrate MySpace, but my friends and I rarely use MySpace. In that regard, I don’t feel like I’ve lost much. Enabling an account is as simple as clicking the account you want from the Available field (there is a hidden Twitter button that enables more twitter accounts), and filling in your login details for the respective account. Even though this provides a nice FaceBook integration, I still use my FaceBook 2.0 application. FaceBook Chat, Places, Photos, and a few others are simply to nice to be without. However, for quick status updates and to easily read my feeds, SocialScope is my go-to app.
The next section within the settings menu allows you to control your notifications. I’ve chosen here to Integrate messages into my inbox and to be notified on new messages. Since I have so many accounts linked up, I disabled All Messages and Public Replies. The integration into your inbox is clean and crisp, even including custom SocialScope style images to let you know what type of message you got.
The next two sections cover Display and Refresh settings. For the most part, I left these at their default values. I did change frequency to Auto and I set Refresh On Launch to be active. I’m not sure what the difference in Auto and the other settings are, but I would assume that it calculates the average time between messages/updates for me, and refreshes my news feed accordingly. If this is the case, I may need to change it to a set time rate to preserve my battery as I am sure my average time between is very short.
Last, we will look at the Advanced settings. For connection you have the options of Auto, BES, BIS, TCP, and WiFi. I left mine to Auto since I don’t have to worry about data charges each month, but you can select whatever works best for you. Image service lets you pick between TwitPic or Plixi. While some of the others may be a little more obvious, one that I was a little curious about in the beginning was Change tabs with left/right. Once I started playing with the application, I realized that the tabs along the top of the screen that we shall see shortly can be selected from anywhere within the screen by flicking the trackpad/ball left or right. With this disable you have to actually scroll to the top of the screen and then move between the tabs. This is a pretty hand little setting and really no use in disabling it unless you have a tendency to scroll like a drunk driver and keep switching tabs.
Next we will take a look at Feeds. I figure at this point I should introduce the concept of tabs, as this is the first screen we’ve really encountered them on. Along the top you’ll notice a set of tabs. The first three are pretty standard. The SocialScope logo shows all your feeds combined in chronological order, the second one shows Direct Messages which could include wall posts, retweets, twitter directly replies, etc. Moving on we have direct messages such as private messages on FaceBook. The last three you’ll see in my screenshot, but which will differ from you, are application specific. They only appear as you activate different services. All your twitter accounts are combined into one dedicated tab, then you get your FaceBook, and last is FourSquare. For those that have already noticed, there is one final tab at the top, a plus sign. I’ll let you wonder about this one for now as I’ll be covering it later on.
Starting at the beginning, we’ll take a look at the global feeds. Please note that at any point, on any screen, you can toggle your Berry menu . This menu will let you Refresh feeds, post new updates, check into places using FourSquare, manage mutes, send direct messages, and a few other options. You don’t have to be on any one specific screen to see a different set of options.
The main screen, for me, is probably my most widely used screen. Typically, unless I’m just plain bored, i don’t really care to dig down into the details of each of my social accounts. I mainly just want to know what has been happening at a top level glance since I last checked in. This provides me with as much detail as I need to get my social networking fix, but I do like having the option to drill down into specific services via my other tabs should I want to.
The next tab that I refer to as direct replies, is simply that. Anytime someone mentions me in a Twitter post, comments on a FaceBook status, or any other number of actions, I get a notification of that event here. This is great to see where I am showing up on Twitter, and with what kinds of tweets, as well as what is happening on FaceBook that involves me. This time is pretty straight forward and simple, and the information is going to be custom tailored more towards you.
Now lets drill into the Messages tab. Sadly, I get more FaceBook messages than anything else, so that is all I have to show. This tab, unlike the others, is all about you. Pop into this tab to read through private FaceBook messages, Twitter messages, etc. You can also select a message, in the case of FaceBook, and see the entire threaded conversation. SocialScope also gives us the ability to reply to these messages from within a nice interface that is simple to use.
The Twitter tab is all things Twitter. For all you Twitter freaks out there, this is going to be your new nesting place. What’s great about this tab is that it integrates all your Twitter feeds into one. Unlike with applications such as Twitter for BlackBerry that lets you only set one account, or UberTwitter that makes you switch between the accounts you have activated, you get a view of everything here. You also have the option to post to both Twitter accounts (as well as FaceBook) when you update your status, or to post to only one or two. The granulated control that SocialScope gives you makes updates a breeze.
Similar to the Twitter tab, the FaceBook tab is all about FaceBook. The main thing I’m seeing here is status updates and notifications, such as people accepting friend requests. I’ve also seen where people tag me in photos, or check me into different places. I use this tab only a handful of times throughout the day, when I want to see what my friends are doing.
The final feeds tab we will explore is my personal favorite when it comes to a dedicated tab. I’ve been using FourSquare for over a year now, but here recently I’ve gotten really addicted to it. The main page itself lets you view where your friends are and what they are doing. Stalkerish in a way, but if they want to let the world know it instantly becomes your business. I visit this tab mainly to check in, though it hasn’t entirely replaced my FourSquare application (yet!), but ever so often I’ll flick through and see if any of my friends are close by. When I am bored it is always a good time to drop in on someone at a bar or other place, whether it is announced or not!
Check-In & Updates
At this point we’ll cover checking into FourSquare, and updating your status. They are going to be the most commonly used features within SocialScope, depending on the services you’ve activated. Both are extremely easy to do, which makes this application all the more enjoyable. I hated not being able to easily flick open an application to update my Twitter, FaceBook, or FourSquare with ease. SocialScope doesn’t only make it easier to do, but they have made it where I can use one application to update it all with two options.
Checking into FourSquare is fairly simple. Toggle your Berries button and select Check-in (FourSquare). You’ll be presented with a check-in screen that lets you search for venues, shows your nearby favorites, and shows all venues nearby.
Once you’ve selected where you want to check-in, you’ll be taken to that venues screen. One thing to note is that SocialScope uses Bing instead of Google for its mapping API. Other than that, the screen behaves as it does within FourSquare, but with a much cleaner and easy to use interface. One option that I haven’t seen on my FourSquare is the ability to view the venue on Yelp, which is one of my favorite websites when it comes to venue information.
Last, but not least, is the ability to update your status. From any screen or tab within SocialScope, as I stated earlier, you can toggle your Berries button and select Update Status. When you do, you are presented with this screen. The first thing we notice here is at the top it says To: and lists out where our status will post to. The +1 lets you know there is something else there, but is nice because SocialScope doesn’t try to cram everything onto this little screen like other applications try. If you want to not send this update to a particular account, perhaps it is a twitter only update, you can click the To: button and uncheck services. You also have the option of adding a photo, adding a link, and geo-tagging your location to your status update.
So, did anyone remember the plus sign up in your tabs bar? Were you wondering throughout this post what it was, or did you discard it for later investigation? The plus sign actually gives you a variety of additional options depending on the services you have enabled. I’ll try to do a good job of breaking this down for you, especially with the absence of screenshots (which I felt were not necessary).
This options presents you with three additional options: SocialScope Group, Twitter List, and My Timeline. The last two are pretty simple. If you have Twitter lists set up within a twitter account, you can add those lists as tabs so that you see updates for just the people in that list. The same goes for the My Timeline. SocialScope Group, after some experimenting, lets you add a new tab named of your choice and add group members to it.
This lets you see what is trending in the moment on Twitter. For those of you who follow trends, and try to squeeze them into your updates, this will be come a handy feature for you.
FaceBook Friends, Twitter Friends & FaceBook Pages:
This option allows you to see your friends and pages on FaceBook. If you click a friend, or a page, you are taken to their profile. The profile view looks just like what you’d see in the FaceBook app. You can view their wall, their info, and their photos. For those of you who wanted to go ahead and get rid of the FaceBook application, this will serve as a nice replacement for it. It will also let you view the profile of the people you follow on Twitter. Another great way to easily replace the one or more Twitter apps on your phone and transition into one super app.
Simply stated, you can view the profile for each of your accounts. Since I was so impressed with the detail of profile views, I decided I’d give a teaser screenshot. It is clear that SocialScope truly meant to make this a full on replacement for the handful of apps you’d need to accomplish this level of social interaction. Where upon initial download I believed I’d need to keep all my apps for normal profile interaction, and that this would merely act as a feed and status update, I quickly found that this one of a kind app has went above and beyond.
The Near Me option gives you the ability to view tweets and venues that are near you. Tapping into the power of Twitter and FourSquare, you can see everything that is going on around. Who knows, you might discover a little fun that you didn’t know about!
I apologize now for the long review. This truly is a great app. I feel like I have simply not done the app justice as there are more screens and features that I didn’t capture and share. For now I’ll leave it as it is, but with this note; there are many more features and screens in this application that are not only amazingly detailed and designed, but truly do enable you to delete all those other apps. I’ve never been a fan of all in one apps when it comes to my social networking, they never get the job done and I always switch back to my handful of standalone apps, but I believe that SocialScope has converted me to using a social network super app. I highly recommend going out and getting your hands on a Beta version of this app!
Once the next release comes out, if there are any new features or if they move it from Beta to public, I’ll consider a follow up review. I’ll make this my Introduction to SocialScope and the next one we can dive into more indepth features, but for now I want to leave you wondering what other gems your missing so you’ll go and get your hands on this amazing application.