I’ll admit it. For my age, and the generation I was born into (the Millennial generation, in case you’re interested), I have the technological know-how of an ant. I don’t know how to use Skype. I revel in the yellowed pages of old books. I only got a Twitter account last month and last week learned that the verb associated with vocalizing something on Twitter is to “tweet” -not to “twitter” (how this is intuitive, I don’t know). I enjoy taking notes by hand with…yes, a pen. In fact, I acquired my first smartphone only six months ago. With the exception of one vanity photo editing app, for months that phone contained only the apps that were preloaded on it.
That is, until I encountered Pulse. The bubbly Karen Nga and I met for coffee and beers to catch up about life, boys and rock and roll, the way all girlfriends do. And in the process I discovered Karen had started work as the community manager at Pulse, which I initially thought was some sort of healthcare-related company (checking one’s pulse, get it?). Karen was quick to set me straight, and I learned a few things over drinks and coffee that day:
– Pulse is a social news reader application for the iPad, iPhone, Android devices, Windows phone and the Amazon Kindle Fire.
– It’s free.
– It allows me to unabashedly engage in my love of salacious celebrity gossip, on-the-go.
Cut to back at my apartment later that day. I’m rushing to finish an Untapped article for my editor that was way past deadline and telling my boyfriend about this curious new “application thingamajig” that lets you read all sorts of things at the same time. (I clearly don’t have much retentive memory for tech-related information). After one quick tutorial, my boyfriend and I downloaded Pulse from the Android market…and he and I have been hooked ever since.
So what is Pulse and why am I, the self-nominated Luddite of my generation, raving about an app? Quite simply, because Pulse is an easy way to read stuff online, and if there’s anyone that loves to read stuff online, it’s yours truly. Sounds simple, and that’s really the beauty of it. Pulse’s design is slick and easy to use. According to Google, the tech word I’m looking for here is the “interface” -and yes the interface is amazingly intuitive. I get to select all the outlets I want to follow-whether it be the unabashedly gossipy Gawker, the deliciously salacious Jezebel, the thoroughly financial Wall Street Journal, the fashionable Sartorialist or my personal favorite, the artful curator of the undiscovered, Untapped Cities. I get to scroll through the stories by tapping on tiles within a grid, each of which gives me a glimpse of the headline and an illustration. “Kim Kardashian abandoned QuickTrim diet?” Yes, give me some of that. “Woman in Love with a Horse?” Yes, give me some of that, too!
I’ve spent many a commute on the dratted San Francisco Muni buses reading scandalous ravings on Jezebel; silently cursing the beautiful, skinny people on the Sartorialist; and marveling at the photography on Untapped Cities. Pulse allows the reader to read within its simple, clean news reader and just like that, has taken away the inevitable exasperation I face when trying to load a “mobile” version of some site and having it be all crooked, mis-sized and simply unreadable-no matter how I flip my phone.
The momentum that Pulse is building is clearly palpable. Steve Jobs (RIP) singled out the app at the Worldwide Developers’ Conference in San Francisco last year. They were one of three apps to be preloaded on the Amazon Kindle Fire tablet. If you watch closely, you’ll notice that Pulse is included on the newest Verizon Droid RAZR ads. I have been told that Verizon chose to feature Pulse in its commercial independently. Apparently the New York Times had a bone to pick with Pulse last year, but that appears to be the only skid mark in their trail blazing. From the looks of it, other publishers are keen to get on board with Pulse, and the app is adding as many as ten new sources every week. Pulse has partnered with more than 250 of the most recognizable names in media, including The Atlantic, ESPN, The New Yorker, NBC News, USA Today, and Al Jazeera (its first international partner). The app anticipates reaching 10 million users by the end of this year, one of whom is little ol’ me!
And finally, shameless plug here: Untapped Cities, your favorite source for everything beautiful, cool and fun in your city is also on Pulse. Download the app and look for us!
Update: As of March 9, 2012, Pulse has launched “Local,” a feeds channel in the app that to give users a simple way to discover what’s happening in your city and explore your favorite city guides, like UntappedSF, UntappedNY. Make sure to add Untapped Cities to your Pulse!
Follow Untapped Cities on Twitter and Facebook. Get in touch with the author @mmmagpie.