Twitter and/or Voxer Could Do Something That Would Change the World
I’m going to give away an idea that I think could revolutionize communication and entertainment. This idea came from conversations with my brother Levi, and he deserves most of the credit.
I am a huge fan of Voxer and Twitter. Both have changed communication for me in significant ways, and Twitter has for the whole world. This is why I’m so excited about what I see as a potentially breakthrough combination of the two.
First, let me briefly outline a few of the things that are so powerful about each.
What’s great about Voxer
Voxer is by far the best form of one-to-one or small group communication I’ve found. It allows asynchronous voice messages of any length that can be listened to in a real-time back-and-forth, or left for the other party to listen whenever they get a chance. The beauty is that it maintains a single, ongoing conversation that fits the contours of the schedule of each party. In this way it’s like email or text, except you don’t get all the messy clutter of a huge email thread, and you don’t have the fat thumbs problem of texting. Not to mention the inability of texting to convey full emotion, or to be done while driving (or walking if you’re like me).
The best part is the ability to create group threads. In my company we have four or five separate Voxer threads for conversations relevant to marketing, education, events, and more. We have an urgent action thread and a get-to-it-anytime big picture thread to leave ideas as they come. These group conversations are amazing, and far superior to email or trying to get everyone on a Google Hangout at the same time. I can’t even tell you how much fun my NBA and NFL threads are with friends. We have ongoing conversations about the sports, as well as live in-game commentary and jokes. Voxer also has an individual voice memo function which saves in the cloud instead of taking up space on your device.
Voxer occasionally glitches, but they’ve got the functionality down for the most part. You can email, download, or forward individual recordings. You can also post text and images.
What’s great about Twitter
By now most people are aware of the amazing ways in which Twitter has changed the world. Without getting in to all the benefits in ways many others have already done better, I’ll just boil down what seem to me the most powerful aspects of the platform.
Twitter destroys gatekeepers. No longer do you need to enroll in an MBA program and read about a great entrepreneur in case study. Now you can follow Marc Andreessen’s Tweetstorm firsthand. He’ll probably even like your Tweet if you mention him. No longer do you have to trust the gossip column to convey what a celebrity or athlete is thinking or doing. They can tell you themselves. No longer do you have to wait for official news coverage, often warped by political preferences, to see protests and major events worldwide. Twitter lets each individual — whether famous or not — control their own brand and communicate without mediators to their audiences.
The other major breakthrough is the size. Twitter brought on the idea of micro blogging and tiny packets of information that are valued more for their timeliness and rawness than for their depth or polish. Getting a quick gut-level reaction in 140 characters real-time is something totally different than a long-form, heavily edited thought piece. Twitter is the first place you go when something you’re interested in is happening live. You can read a recap about a football game or a major event, but nothing is quite like watching the stream of Tweets go by as it happens.
With the acquisition of Periscope, Twitter is adding even more value to the shared live experiences part of the product. That’s where Voxer comes in…
The killer combo
Imagine watching a game, but instead of being forced to listen to whatever commentators the network selected, you could mute the game and instead listen to one or two or five of your favorite journalists, comedians, athletes, or friends give their own live take. Imagine Pardon the Interruption but live, during the game. Imagine hearing Stewart or Colbert lampoon a political speech…while it’s happening. Imagine being able to listen in to an ongoing conversation between a few of your favorite thinkers. Imagine a podcaster doing micro episodes live on the spot as ideas come to them. Better yet, imagine you sharing your own voice.
With one small change all this and more would be easy. Voxer could create a unique link for every thread — whether between me and my wife, or between my team at work, or even my individual memos — that I could share with the world. Anyone could click the link to listen to the thread. Just like any Voxer user, they could scroll back to listen to older messages, or start right in with the most recent. They could listen in real time or after the fact. They could not participate, only listen.
The ability to share asynchronous conversations between anyone with anyone would open up everything. Periscope is great, but for now it only lets you see one person’s live video at a time. Voxer lets you hear not just one person’s voice, but much larger conversations between many people. Think about your favorite podcast interviews. It takes so much time and scheduling and production to get Tim Ferriss and Tony Robbins sitting down in the same room with a mic. What if they had a public Voxer thread, where Tim could pose questions anytime, and Tony could respond anytime, from anywhere?
The possibilities are endless.
Twitter is the company in the best position to build or acquire something like this. Voxer already has everything but that last little bit — the publicly shareable thread link.
I’m not a tech guy. Neither is my brother. We both love this idea. We investigated the time and cost of building something like this from scratch and it’s more than either of us can realistically commit to, as we are both building our own businesses. If I had a pool of developers at my disposal, I’d put them on this in a heartbeat. The next best thing to building something awesome is sharing the idea so someone else can build it.
Voxer, Twitter, or anyone else if you’re listening, take this idea and run with it!