Rowl Review
iPhone App
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Rowl Review

Our Review by Monica Stevens on January 28th, 2015
Rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar :: MISSING MORE THAN A G
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Do we really need another social network? Does the question even need to be asked anymore?

Developer: Rowl, Inc.
Price: FREE 
Version Reviewed: 1.1.3
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 6 Plus
iPhone Integration Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar
Re-use Value Rating: starstarblankstarblankstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar 

I am not (insert slang of choice to connote being on the cusp of all stuff new). I was slow to hookup with Facebook. I still find Twitter pointless-ish. I like Instagram for its lack of text and for its monumental success to set a literal tone for how its users culturally craft imagery.

First off, if I am not using the major social media sites to virtually share and communicate, I wonder what the appeal of Rowl is. I am still looking for a legitimate reason to use Ello. I do not have time to spread my social posting that thin.

I am not even certain how to pronounce Rowl. Is it like an exotic Barcelonian bullfighter, "Raoule?" If so, this app should consider growing a slick handlebar mustache. Am I to say "roll," indicating a ball or middle school snack cake lunchbox favorite? If I am unsure how to say Rowl, how will I roll (or Raoule) with it?

Rowl is about as bland as it appears at first glance. The graphics are simple but not in a grabbing, artful way. Simple here highlights the plainest sense of the word. The app is free, which is to be expected in its genre. There is nothing to lose by downloading it. There is not much to gain, though, either.

Using Rowl, I can connect through Facebook, or I can create a separate account through Rowl. The app's content is easy to navigate because the app lacks rich content. I follow Shawn Johnson, since she is the only person I remotely recognize on the second screen I click. There are only three choices of people to follow, by the way.

Sports, music, and theater/comedy categories offer a moderate subrange of options to follow. I select Lily Allen from the music category. (Hey, I know her from five years ago!). By clicking next to her handle in a format that is familiar and cleanly designed - but also static and formulaic - I follow Lily Allen.

I can find my own friends via the usual prospects: email, SMS, Facebook, Instagram. I can look ahead at varying intervals: a week, two days, tomorrow, to see what is happening. (Is that a good slang term, or am I even faux getting close?) I can meet my friend at a basketball game or recently released flick at a nearby movie theater.

What begs to be explored by Rowl is why I would choose Rowl over Foursquare or Facebook Messenger to do any of the above and so much more. Why do I care what Shawn Johnson is up to? Should I?

Rowl is underdeveloped in content and lacks a branding that makes me want to reach through my phone and hit up a friend to meet me at the opera. I live in the suburbs. We do not have those here as a general rule.

Rowl may be useful in urban areas that offer an enormous range of cultural, sporting, and music events almost regularly and in major venues, but I am unsure that the average person will take to Rowl.

There is no visible lasting value in Rowl. It does sparsely what major social media sites do effusively, which supports my overwhelming urge to peruse my current Netflix queue, curate my Facebook sticker collection, and stay in my pajamas. I was gonna do that anyway, to be fair.

iPhone Screenshots

(click to enlarge)

Rowl screenshot 1 Rowl screenshot 2 Rowl screenshot 3 Rowl screenshot 4 Rowl screenshot 5
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