Social networking is one of the buzz word of the 21st century. As people's face to face relationships deteriorate in the face of constant technological development we have created institutions to try to remedy that through this type of networking. Sites like MySpace and Facebook shoved this logic into the public domain and now there are social networking utilities and applications with almost any focus, ranging from mere friendship to more specific sub-categories. Mobile applications have become one of the most central areas for social networking as cell phones are already hubs of communication. Now the smart phone design will create a unity between common mobile phone functions and each of these self contained services. Like any genre or type of utility some are more useful than others. Chomp is not on the winning side of this spectrum.
To call Chomp a true social networking tool is a fast and loose use of the term social networking. It is classified as a Social Networking free iPhone application. This is likely only so that people who are already cyber obsessed will download it and try to interpret it within these parameters. Instead Chomp is really just a network for discussing iPhone applications, and even within that limited context it is not entirely successful.
Chomp offers a whole number of different ways to "review" iPhone applications and read other people's reviews. This works similar to Twitter in the ways that it allows you to follow certain reviewers, but this is not going to be entirely relevant for most people because the general mass of iPhone applications and games are not going to be of interest to everyone.
As you enter reviews yourself you are going to find that in the base menu you have a Recommendations section. This will allow Chomp to give you recommendations to you for apps you may like based on the ones you give positive and negative reviews. This is only occasionally accurate as the way that Apple classifies and sets up their applications is particular to them and not necessarily parallel to the way that you see these applications. In the end the recommendations are often so out of bounds that they are not even worth considering.
There are a lot of different aspects to Chomp, but none of them really lead you out of the basic dychotomy of read and review. You can do this in almost any way humanly possible, but it does not add any more credence to these reviews.
Chomp is not all bad, especially if you cannot get enough of information about iPhone applications. However, if this is the case there are likely other places online that you could go much easier. The App Store itself is often a better place to see reviews anyway, especially since most of the reviews on Chomp fail to give even the slightest bit of information about the application or why the reviewer liked or disliked it. Over all you begin to wonder where the balance is between its "social networking" features and its purpose as a hub for application reviews.
There is a lot of attention paid to the ability to follow other people, add friends, and sync to other social networking utilities like Facebook, but what does this really have to do with checking application reviews? What purpose does it serve to actually add friends in Chomp so that you can be closer at sharing reviews? More than this, it really leads you to wonder how many people download enough iPhone applications to warrant a constant stream of customer reviews through an account based social network? These questions are better left unanswered. After a while you really begin to wish that the developers of Chomp would have spent all their time and design energy into an application that has real value at its core.
Two out of five stars. Via iTunes