[App Fridays] Shout - Instagram meets Yik Yak for location specific sharingHarshith Mallya
Many of us may have shared something on social media which we thought was interesting or funny and then received a lukewarm response, either because it may have been an inside joke among colleagues or something specific about a particular place, which not many could relate to.
“With the number of social media posts shared every day, why do people hesitate to post things that were only relevant to a specific location? After speaking to our users, our team realized people don’t share content that’s only relevant to a specific area because it goes against the norms of sharing on social media. There is not a faster way to get unfollowed, unfriended or blocked than to clutter someone’s news feed with content that they don’t find relevant,” says Mullan, Co-founder of Shout App.
What is Shout?
Developed by the team behind Spangle Inc., Shout is a mobile social network that lets people share and consume location-specific content.
The company’s view is that Shout’s defining constraint of creation , for example Snapchat and ephemeral, Instagram and filters, or Yik Yak and anonymity, is that that the location to which ‘shouts’ are shared is restricted during creation which encourages users to share new kinds of content that is relevant to a specific location and hence more enjoyable to consume.
-Shout enables users to interact with people nearby like in a college, an entire city; in a radius on the map from 30 feet to 25 miles and start chatting with others within ‘shouting distance’.
-Users can comment, share pictures, questions, tips, or breaking news to specific places like: buildings, neighbourhoods, campuses or cities. Users can share pictures with people at a party, share what they want to do and find people nearby to join them or also use it to share information in case of emergencies with the right people nearby.
Team behind it
Developed by a team spread across four different countries and three continents, they came together a year and a half ago to build their first app named ‘Spangle’ after the name of their company. It was started by three founders. Charlie Mullan, a 2014 graduate from Trinity College, co-founded the company while he was studying there; Supriyo Roy was a former UX designer at Amazon,Microsoft and a YahooHackU Hackathon winner; Gabe Gajecki, a senior software engineer at companies Amazon, ESPN, and Thomson Reuters. Misbah Ashraf, Founder of Cibola and a college dropout, joined the team later as International Growth Officer.
They launched Spangle in September 2014 and had some success among college students. They constantly collected feedback from users and realized there was one thing that was always consistent. Users all related to the problem of feeling disconnected from their immediate surroundings, especially on campus, even while social media allowed them to be connected almost anywhere else in the world.
Spangle Inc. was able to raise $2 million in a seed round from angel investors, including Robert Wolf, CEO of 32 Advisors and advisor to President Obama; and Shane McMahon, Chairman of You on Demand, son of WWE's Vince McMahon. After market research and user feedback, they came up with the idea for Shout.
When asked about the funding and its intended use, Mullan said, “It will mainly be used for product development and investing in our company’s technology.” He added that after launch they may decide to use some of the funding to accelerate that growth so long as it does not compromise the quality of the app experience.
To help their marketing efforts, Shout's parent company, Spangle Inc., has a college ambassador program with 75 university students in North America and Asia promoting and spreading the word about the app.
The app is free to download and use for iOS users and will be released on Android in one to two months. The company is currently seeding Shout and not looking to monetise it yet.
What we liked!
The features of the app are self-explanatory and it provides a good UI and UX. The idea of sharing hyperlocal relevant content is interesting and the use cases for them are interesting. Users can share only text, only images or a combination of both.
There is potential for such a service to bring people of a particular area together, share a laugh or chip in and help out in times of need.
What could be improved?
As of now users can share only upto 140 characters at a time. Depending on the kind of content shared this could be an issue. For example, in case of emergencies 140 characters might be to less to state the nature of the problem and request for help.
Also for ‘Shout’ to be effective they will need a large user base that is constantly active. Other social media platforms such as twitter also allow users to track location specific trends in broader sense and join in on the conversation. So customer acquisition and retention will be important for ‘Shout’.
While the team agreed that not all the components of Shout are necessarily unique, the location-specific sharing is a USP and they are optimistic that users will find value in the service. The app has the potential to form close knit communities through social media and it will be interesting to see how users adopt the app and engage with each other.