Facebook is actually pretty intelligent about pointing out friends’ stories that you might care about (babies and engagements seem to make their way to my feed without fail). But in my Twitter app? I have little clue if one post is more exciting than the next. And besides, both experiences are just lists. More and more and more lists. I’m sick and tired of lists.
Biologic is a free iPad app by Bloom, the same young software firm that turned our music collections into galaxies. Their latest app reinterprets the social network feeds of Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn in a novel way.
Biologic displays your friends as cells—stick with me, it will actually make a lot of sense—and each cell is full of smaller substructures, which are status updates. As these status updates are shared, the microstructures within each cell grow, and the cells themselves grow, too.
Eventually, your feed becomes a sort of microscopic survival of the fittest. The cells of your most active friends with the most popular stories will expand, naturally grabbing your attention more through sheer volume. And hopefully, your eye is drawn to the most important stories in your network.
"Facebook is a clean and well-lit place for human relations. It’s very sterile—white and blue—it has the feeling of a franchise restaurant," Bloom President Ben Cerveny tells Co.Design. "Biologic is a little bit squishy and a little bit messy. And that’s something we wanted to show through, that social and human relationships really are quite messy."
But on a larger level, Bloom doesn’t see Biologic as a mere skin on your social feeds, like Flipboard, but as part of a larger wave of "killer apps." These apps will ignore old desktop metaphors (like folders, files, and even dreadful lists) and embrace the casual, exploratory data-rich UI of the gaming sector.
"Games present complex systems in playful ways," says Cerveny. "We’re actually saying that those feed aggregators that are, at the moment, shown to you like a magazine, are really much more rich and interconnected than a magazine paradigm could ever hope to expose."
At the moment, Biologic is only scraping the surface of what it will one day do. Cerveny hints at an evolving product that will play with ideas where cells have purpose, working autonomously in a larger system like programmable bots, surfing hashtags and curating other relevant content.
If you’d like to try Biologic for yourself right now, it’s free in the App Store. Just don’t try it on an iPad 1. We were warned that the calculations might melt it.