For social apps, it’s clear the lines between types of content and their delivery services are changing. Back in the day, Facebook was for profiles and photos, Twitter was for short public messages, and iMessage or SMS was for on-the-go texting. No one had really figured out social video, but products like Airtime and Chatroulette were certainly trying. Instagram was the poster child for mobile photos.
But the increasing prevalence of smartphones and a constantly-connected generation of consumers seems to be changing some of the product distinctions associated with social apps and services. When we walk around with these apps on our phones in our pockets, the opportunity to use them more like SMS is increasing. A variety of companies, most notably Snapchat or Facebook Messenger but also apps like the newly-launching Digisocial, are looking at the real-time media space as room to grow, as text-only SMS seems more and more outdated. (Just look at how people are using Emojis as proof that text-only is kinda boring.)
Digisocial is an app launching on Wednesday that allows users to upload images (very similar to the filters of Instagram and the presentation of Path) and then add audio clips to their photos, either a music clip or someone talking or narration in the background. Users can like and comment on each other’s posts, create group messages, and then share creations out to other social networks. It’s tempting to file the app in the often-tiresome “Video for Instagram” category, but Snapchat’s recent success makes me think twice about this. Based on the company’s description of its services, it clearly isn’t billing itself as a one-dimensional photo app:
“Users upload VoicePhotos with stylized filters, chat with friends, meet new people, search trending topics and images, optionally locate nearby users with similar interests, and more, using the full capabilities of modern devices and audio sharing.”
There’s clearly a market for apps that allow people to exchange photos and texts in real-time, and the combination of photos and audio is intriguing. There have been times where I’ve been texting with iMessage and wished I could send an audio clip to a friend — something Facebook Messenger is now testing out by allowing users to record and send audio clips through its message app, which is now available to even non-Facebook members as a solid replacement for SMS. Twitter clearly hasn’t prioritized its direct message or DM feature for multimedia sharing, but that could be another contender if the company was interested.
When viewed strictly as another photo-sharing app with an audio twist, Digisocial doesn’t seem terribly mind-blowing. But if the rise of Snapchat has taught us anything, it’s that people are willing to experiment with spontaneous and friction-free ways to share messages on the go. Granted, part of the appeal of apps like Snapchat or Poke are their disposable natures, which is less the appeal of Digisocial, but it doesn’t mean users won’t swap audio-photos with the same frequency if the app makes it easy enough.
If Digisocial can make multimedia messages simple, it could have a shot.