We’ve launched private messaging on audioboo – the ability to post audio to another user that remains totally private but still includes all that title, image and location metadata we all love. In my love of hyperbole, I like to call it social voicemail. Others have called it Visual Voicemail, although that’s apparently already been taken by some small Californian company.
So the thinking here is that we interact with more and more people on a digital social level who we don’t know in the real world – at least not well enough to have their telephone number. And because voice is so much richer emotionally that text – for those times when you want to say you’re sorry, make a comment, complain about the noisy neighbour or whatever – we think that private voicemails via audioboo is an interesting idea for those times when you don’t want the whole world to know what you’re saying. Still social, but in a different way.
It’s not yet integrated into the mobile audioboo apps, both of which (iPhone/Android) are just starting major upgrades to add comments, Streams, private messaging and whatever else is available on the website to them, So, for the moment, after you’ve had your first message, you can type in a username in the new Messages menu on the web. Or, just go to someone’s profile, hit the record button, add a picture and location and you’ve just sent your own personal audio message, which they’ll be notified of. It’ll appear in a new messages section and they can just hit the reply button to get right back to you.
Everyone who’s email we have will get an email alert when they have a new message. If you’ve signed up via Twitter, we won’t have your email, so either add your email to your profile at audioboo.fm or instead follow @theboobot. He doesn’t tweet (shy chap) but it will mean you get a DM whenever you have a message waiting.
You can, however, only get access to it if someone initially posts you a message. So remember to ask nicely on Twitter, post a comment on a boo at audioboo.fm or, as a last resort, beg in the support forum. We’re friendly people.
After intense debate amongst the team we’re launching it so you can message anyone. We had a lot of chats about only contacting people who are following you but in the end felt that was too restrictive for audio. We may well be proved wrong and are ready to amend that decision if necessary. We’ll at least introduce blocking nuisance users sometime after launch and hopefully go onto group messaging and whatever else you start to clamour for.
We’re quite excited by this but our users know best and time will tell if it’s really a feature that’s wanted or even needed. User cases during the build ranged from me on holiday sending a DM to Steve saying what a fantastic time I was having, complete with a pic and location (mainly to make him jealous), to a late night message for a loved one and then a completely random one from someone who just loved someone’s boo. Hopefully you’ll give us lots more in the near future.
We’re also incredibly fortunate in having had the input of that great national english treasure, Stephen Fry, in the launch of private messages. All will become clearer when you get access to it.