Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check h Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check him out on Google+.
We first covered Checkthis way back in May 2011, when it was merely a Web-based product in private beta. We likened the micro-publishing platform to Tumblr…but a lot simpler.
Fast-forward twelve months, and the Belgian startup upped-sticks and moved to the Big Apple in time for its public beta, armed with $910,000 gleaned from a seed round led by Lerer Ventures. Then, just before Christmas last year, Checkthis launched Social Posters, which we called a “quick and elegant way to share content”. Its Social Posters are like single page blog posts or About.me sites, created just for an announcement, blog post, product listing or even a gif, if that takes your fancy.
As we’ve noted in previous coverage, sometimes you don’t need an entire website or blog if all you want to do is share the occasional bit of content; all you need is something that looks great and is easy to share with the online masses – this is where Checkthis comes in to play. And now, the New York-based startup has launched its very first mobile app, kicking off with iOS, though its’ not optimized for iPad. Yet.
Checkthis checks in to iOS: How it works
The idea behind the app is simple, and if you’re already using Checkthis, then you’ll love the mobile app. “It allows you to tell stories with multiple images, words, and more,” says Founder Frédéric della Faille. “We’re working closely with our favorite users and they love it, they post great stuff from cooking homemade pizza to a weekend in upstate New York“.
You can register for Checkthis directly through the app, though you will need to so using your Facebook, Twitter or Google Account credentials…there is an evident preference for the former though, given the prominence of the ‘Connect with Facebook’ feature.
You then confirm your details, which also involves registering your email address. This seems a little excessive given you’re already required to connect using one of three online profiles – while I can understand why it requires an existing social profile to use the service (Checkthis is an inherently social platform), the need to also register an email address feels a little unnecessary. Della Faille says this is to send email notifications about activities on stories, but surely push notifications would be enough?
Anyway, moving on. You can automatically choose to follow existing Facebook, Twitter or Instagram contacts who use Checkthis, which certainly helps set the social wheels in motion from the get-go.
Then, you’re in. The main menu has all the usual items you’d expect from such an app, including notifications.
It’s also worth mentioning Featured stories, which surfaces some of the more alluring content being shared…such as ‘Random Book Covers’ in this instance, which is where one user shares a series of photos containing, well, random book covers. Alternatively, you can just view your main feed which features posts from those you choose to follow.
This is all well and good, but Checkthis is really all about creating, not reading or following. When you hit the ‘Create’ tab, you’ll be presented with a blank canvas. At the bottom of this canvas, you’ll see four icons – one for a ‘title’, one for ‘image’, one for ‘text’ and one for ‘poll’.
It really is very easy to use, and it’s clear that simplicity was a key philosophy during the design phase. You can create anything you like, from a random observation on your travels, to a birthday invite. Multiple images can be imported simultaneously from Instagram, your camera roll or in real-time using your iPhone’s camera itself.
If you fancy creating an impromptu poll, you can do so too and add any number of options for the answer. At the end, simply hit ‘Share’, indicate whether you also want to post to Facebook and Twitter, then hit ‘Post’.
The app has all the usual features of a social network – friends can view, like, comment and share your stories within the app itself or across the Web — even if they’re not using Checkthis. A very neat addition is the ability to draft and save a post offline, then share it whenever you like.
Checkthis sells itself as being more than just another microblogging platform, such as Tumblr or Twitter. It’s about ‘stories’. Indeed, it does nestle rather nicely in its own little niche, and it’s clearly only going to grow in popularity with the launch of a dedicated iOS app.
However, Android users may have a long wait before they can expect a little love from Checkthis – della Faille says that a version for Android currently isn’t being planned, but they will see how things go based on demand. They actually carried out a poll before they started building the iOS version and, well, iOS came out trumps by almost 100% over Android. An iPad-optimized version will be landing some time in 2013 too, “We’re so excited about the iPad mini as a creation and communication device,” adds della Faille.
Della Faille says that with Checkthis, they’re looking to build the “next generation of publishing platforms.” And with a mobile app now in tow, it’s just added a significant string to its burgeoning bow. “Our users were asking for an app for months, and so we did it,” he says. “After six months of hard work with my team, our advisors and friends from Instagram, GroupMe, Foursquare, Sunrise and so on. We’re ready.”
The new iOS app is available to download for free now. Meanwhile, you can view the official Checkthis demo video for yourself below.
Disclosure: This article contains an affiliate link. While we only ever write about products we think deserve to be on the pages of our site, The Next Web may earn a small commission if you click through and buy the product in question. For more information, please see our Terms of Service
Feature Image Credit – Thinkstock
Get the TNW newsletter
Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.