Thursday, December 01, 2011

Is Voice Microblogging the Next Social Media Trend?


Companies such as Bubbly and Qwips are rolling out voice-based messaging platforms. Could voice messages be the Tweets of the future?Many people scratched their heads when Twitter was first created, yet the social media tool has grown to be one of the most popular Websites among individuals and businesses. A new type of microblogging in the form of voice messages sounds just as weird as those 40-word tweets once did—but could it be the next big thing for Web 2.0?
Bubbly, a voice-based messaging service, lets users—known as bubblers—record short messages read in their own voices. “It’s like Twitter with a voice,” the company’s slogan touts.
According to the microblogging site, voice media provides a more personal connection between a blogger and his or her fans. Voice messages ensure authenticity, especially important for celebrities, whose staff often manages Twitter and other social sites. With voice blogging, fans can hear directly from the stars.
Voice-based messaging also allows for more emotional and effusive broadcasts—ideal for religious leaders and motivational speakers. The tool might prove useful for businesses by enabling them to reach out more personally to customers.
Bubbly was introduced in India in 2010 and is now available in Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines. More than 100 million bubblers have exchanged more than a billion voice messages through the service.
A recent article in The New York Times discusses the new technology. “Voice SMS technology is one-to-one communication and has existed for some time,” Krishna Baidya, an industry manager at Frost & Sullivan, told The Times. “But voice-blogging, one-to-many, is newer.”
Qwips, a New-York-based start-up company, is also on the frontier of the social voice trend. With the service, users can record 30-second voice clips to share on social media outlets, including status updates and comments on Facebook and Twitter. They can also email and text voice messages.
Despite the simplicity of voice-based messaging, several setbacks may prevent the technology from taking over at Twitter-like speed. With recordings, users can’t quickly filter out uninteresting content the way they can while reading through a Facebook feed. And many social mediaphiles may prefer rounder forms of communication, such as video.
Still, according to The Times, Bubbly is gaining 100,000 new users each week.

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