Plag** – The Network [Android, iOS]
Developer: PLAG Limited
Have you had enough of the social networks, yet? If not, you are sure to check out Plag* and get stuck for a while. It’s a social sharing app with the main perk of showing you a geographical map of how your shares and messages spread around the world. You know, like the plague.
To think of it, the main addiction factor behind Facebook or Twitter is to get online and see if anybody liked, shared or re-tweeted and favorite-d your posts. If the online crowd ignores your selfies, your life sucks, and there is no consolation. If or when you choose to go Facebook-free, you will have to go through a painful detox and rehab process and learn to live a life as it used to be – when we talked to our friends, visited our relatives and didn’t indulge in self-documenting that much.
Until we grow up, however, apps like Secret, Whisper, and now Plag* will provide for the unlimited hours of swiping through the strangers’ thoughts and revelations, liking and sharing them, spreading the word to other strangers and thinking we have enriched our inner world and the quality of our social interactions without breaking a sweat.
Plag* lets you sign up and start weeding through the hundreds of short posts, some containing images, some not. If you find them noteworthy, you can comment on them, or if you find them offensive, you can report them. If you find them interesting enough, you can share them to the Plag* users who are near you geographically. As a result, you will be able to see a map of the news you have shared, and see how well it spreads – a colorful map displaying tiny people on the globe, sharing and spreading the “infection.”
Basically, if the news or the post is noteworthy, it will spread on its own while if it is boring, it will sink in the sands of oblivion. If you wish, you can share the posts you like via any of your favorite apps from WhatsApp to Google + and text messages, e-mail and social networks, like Snapchat, Twitter and Picasa.
Plag* has no befriending or following options, but you can add posts to your Bookmarks and share them anyway you like. If you tap on a user profile, you will see a short description and an image – both can be anything a user feels like to introduce him or herself to the community. A user profile also contains the infection index – “each user’s posts spreads to X people nearby.”
Hence, if you wish to start spreading the infection and see the map, you will have to allow Plag* access your location data. If not, you can still spread the news, but you will not see the map.
See the news, swipe up to spread the news and while you swipe, you will see to how many people you are spreading the word to. Even if you haven’t connected Plag* to other accounts of yours, you will be sharing to Plag* users near you.
Swipe down to discard the news. The downside is if you mistakenly discard the post, there is no way you can find it to share it or comment on it. The posts appear on your screen one by one, and you either discard or share them, or comment and bookmark, or report if you wish.
The next thing that caught me by surprise is there is a limit to the posts you can see, and in a few minutes I reached the screen that read – Cleared! Try a little bit later. That’s interesting. Does it mean I can only see the posts people near me are sharing, or does it mean there aren’t many users on the network? The latter does not seem viable judging by the app’s ratings on both iTunes and Google Play, so what seems to be the reason that I get like 20-30 posts? If the reason is my location and the lack of Plag* users nearby, it just means you will be bored if you install the app while traveling to the world’s remote places, where Plag* is not a big deal and they still use Facebook.
In your account dashboard, you can add your other IDs in other social networks, add a profile pic, add or edit your profile description. I experience a consistent crash when trying to add an image to either my profile, or to my posts.
From what I have experienced, Plag* is pretty much like Whisper or Secret, but less provocative since it allows users to share things via their personal accounts, so there is less anonymity. Besides, to post things you will need to sign up using your e-mail, so anonymity is not on Plag*’s agenda.
In most cases, the posts remind me the flow of consciousness – do you like your life, or check out my dog, or vote for the libertarians to upset the Republicans, or I am a guy and I like the other guy, but I don’t know if he’s gay – what do I do?
The comments are mostly like the posts themselves, and you can reply to the comments you find interesting.
One other thing that I found somewhat surprising is that I am seeing quite a lot of posts from one and the same user. Again, if the app limits the posts you see to the ones shared by the people near you – it’s a Con against the app.
Also, there is no way to subscribe to or find a user whose posts you like.
- Social networking addicts will find it an interesting and quite a novel way to spread the posts they like
- The map graphically displaying your post’s infection impact growing and spreading like plague might give some a rewarding feeling of a genuine accomplishment
- Simple, intuitive UI
- No offensive content so far. At least from what I have read
- An easy way to join a conversation
- A neat, clean design
- No way to search for posts pertaining to a specific topic
- No way to find a post you discarded by mistake, and considering it is way too easy to confuse what means swiping up and down, you may lose something noteworthy for good
- No following or subscribing to others
- A limited number of posts you can weed through at a time
- An app for the reckless – you give the permission to trace your location if you want to see the map of your shares spreading like a virus
- Gets boring once the novelty wears off
Overall, Plag* is a fun way to kill some time, sharing posts and watching them spread like a virus on your map. It’s quite refreshing, and as far as I have seen does not contain the bullying or indecent content that eventually spreads through other similar apps.
The interface is simple, if not limited, and there aren’t some features you would expect to find in a social news sharing app, like following other users or searching for posts relating to a specific topic. It’s just a flow of posts found newsworthy by other users.
Sometimes you would find an interesting topic and you’d join a conversation. You can then bookmark the post and check back later for new comments, or receive notifications about them.
Overall, Plag* does not bring anything new to the table, but if you are the kind of socialite who likes to visit new pubs in previously unstudied neighborhoods to discover if you can find a few strangers to chit-chat with, or maybe watch a baseball game and have fun, or get punched in the face for saying the wrong thing in the wrong place – Plag* might attract your interest for a while.