You’ve heard of Foursquare, Yelp, and Plixi – How about Whrrl?

One of the social networks I was introduced to a year ago called Whrrl has today delivered a mobile app on Android platforms, joining the iPhone app they launched over a year ago. I’m starting to play with it now, and I’m excited that the service is relevant to me again.

However, I’m still a bit confused as to how I will use it. Whrrl offers a Foursquare/FacebookPlaces/Yelp-like check in experience and is focused on encouraging its users to share content about that place – i.e. tips, photos, etc. Eventually, you earn points and badges and potentially even “real” rewards. And, as I understand it, the service will begin to learn your “footstream” habits and begin to recommend things you might like to do, which would be one thing that differentiates Whrrl over the aforementioned services.

Another difference appears to be Whrrl’s various “societies” where you can join other like-minded people – great idea (as this would presumably increase the chances you will get relevant recommendations) but for now, I’m just confused. I currently have invites for 9 societies awaiting my response ranging from a local group in Ohio (I don’t have any ties whatsoever to Ohio) to other societies from people I actually do know but I’m not sure it makes sense to join in with them via this network versus say, Facebook.

Again, I’m eager to test it out but at first glance, I wonder if Whrrl is missing out on capitalizing on their amazing photo sharing service. The way I previously used it: I collected photos I captured at various events and “Whrrled” them up into a narrative and shared it both via my iizLiz Whrrl account, tagging those who were part of the story, and also shared it on my blog, like this:

More check-ins at Magnolia Cafe
Powered by Whrrl

Photo sharing via Whrrl is better than say, simply posting the photos on the blog, because you can tag people via Whrrl or Twitter to let them know you’ve shared a photo of them and take advantage of all the social sharing on Whrrl. Of course one could argue you can have the same type of experience on Facebook; however, I keep my Facebook account primarily for people I know in real life and not all the people I want to share photos with are Facebook friends. And you can easily share photos on social sites like Plixi (formerly Tweetdeck) too, but I like the “story” aspect to Whrrl.

I’ll keep my mind open for Whrrl – they have done a great job being part of the active social media community and as such, they have the ear and interest of many of the social media elite / influential bloggers, it seems. Getting the Android app out the door to join people with the legions of iPhone users is a great step… and, I’d offer, making the web interface more user-friendly and clearly articulating what benefit this service provides will be key as more and more people come on board. I think the content sharing elements here have the potential to be better and more valuable than Foursquare and Yelp… and I wish Whrrl/Pelago well as they try to scale and appeal to a wide audience because after all, if my friends aren’t on this – or any other social network – my interest starts to wane.