Driving Toward Voice-Based Social Media?

09.15.17 / Brian Kelley / Social Media



Will a voice-based social media app ever catch on?

Several have tried, including Anchor, Bubbly and Listen. But somehow, they’ve never really seemed to take off.

The HearMeOut app might be succeeding where others failed by becoming voice-based social media for your car.

On Aug. 15, HearMeOut announced that the app has been approved for use in Ford cars in the U.S. This builds on HearMeOut’s Ford presence in the U.K. and Ireland, and its inclusion in the SmartDeviceLink™ system used by Lexus, Toyota, Mazda, Subaru, Peugeot, Daihatsu and other makes.

HearMeOut lets you share 42-second voice clips. Content includes personal and spontaneous moments of people hitting record and talking, singers and songwriters presenting original music and covers, and cleanly produced headline news segments on world events, entertainment news and sports. Users post written comments and repost content that they like.

There’s a traditional mobile device interface, the kind that you’d expect, but also a hands-free driving mode for your device or in-dash display. You can record, share and listen, and post to Facebook and Twitter while driving.

There don’t seem to be ads yet – or none that I could find anyway – and too bad! I think quick, well-produced audio advertising could be fun on this app. Quick humor. Celebrity voices. Flash theater of the mind.

My advice to HearMeOut is, when you decide to monetize, don’t let the ads run the whole 42 seconds. Keep ‘em short, sweet and entertaining. Keep the user’s feed moving. He or she is busy driving and can’t always scroll.

To me, the content quality isn’t quite there yet. It feels like “Hey, is this thing on?” mode. Lots of recordings of “Good morning! Checking in!” Lots of “uhs” and “ums,” and off-mic mumbling. I don’t think HearMeOut has found its purpose yet, but with its Ford news, I think it will.

HearMeOut has found a captive audience. They’re literally strapped in.

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