Kumar’s hierarchy of communication

Let’s say I want to get in touch with you. I only have nine options if we are not in the same room:
1) I could make a phone call to you
2) I could text message you
3) I could email you
4) I could contact you on Facebook with a message or a post on your wall
5) I could write you a postcard or letter
6) I could send you an @message or direct message over Twitter
7) I could try to call you, and fail, and leave you a voicemail
8) I could use Skype
9) Newly minted audio communication apps such as HeyTell or Voxer bring back the missing Nextel walkie-talkie model for people who can set up point-to-point networks with other friends that are on those same networks.

Tinyvox is our new 10th option, and we believe it has many of the advantages and few of the disadvantages of the above communication vectors.

1) how many times have you wanted to get someone on the phone and you couldn’t? You simply might not have their phone number, and even if you did, if they don’t recognize your number they might not pick up. Phone calls really only work with our closest friends, the ones we expect to hear from. You can call strangers when in the context of business, but even then you are often left with the dreaded voice mail, which we will cover a bit later in this article. Last, there is no permanence to a phone call, like a conversation. We are left with our memories or scribbled notes to recall the moments of conversation we have on the phone, and I don’t tend to remember such things very well, personally.

2) text messages can’t really tell the whole story, although you can arrange for a meeting or phone call later. The convenience and delivery of text messages is excellent, and if a bit of news can be compressed quickly into text, it’s a perfect solution. But this is hardly the same as a phone call, although it will connect a lot more commonly then a phone call because it is asynchronous. Finally, we rarely would text message people we haven’t seen in years.

3) email is asynchronous, because I can create an email and you can read it on your own time whatever. Like a text message, it is not as rich as a phone call for communicating the vibe of your situation. When was the last time you wrote a really long email to one of your friends? Email isn’t really suited for such communications, although everybody is on this network and it is free. While wonderful, email is just not as rich as a phone call in most cases.

4) Facebook messages are also all text, but with 950,000,000 users, the network is accurate and less choked with spam because messages leverage the social graph to keep your inbox filtered. Facebook encourages others to express ourselves effectively, so we may actually tend to create rich messages to one another. Multimedia, however, is the coin of the realm on Facebook, and most communications between us are limited to text. Using Tinyvox on Facebook steps into the gap, adding a layer of audio richness to Facebook quickly and easily. A phone call is easier and richer because voice is so simple and straightforward.

5) I ought to send more postcards out, but… This is 2012.

6) 140 character tweets are amazing tools for chat, and tinyvox makes them richer. Without it, the dryness of text pervades.

7) voicemail is annoying to leave, and may not connect because many no longer properly check it. Often they just try and call you back, leading to “phone tag”.

8) Skype: same issues as phone call, with the additional discomfort of video calls (I just don’t like them much personally, sorry)

9) now are getting somewhere, but these services require both parties to have the app and know how to use it, a stretch if you have friends like mine. Also audio messages left with these services are very short and somewhat unwieldy to create. Personally I find it impossible to build proper network using these apps but they have their fans and I understand the appeal completely. However,

10) tinyvox lets you talk with your own voice to anyone, anytime, anywhere. You don’t need them to have Tinyvox to hear you! You’re basically emailing them a link to our website or an MP3 attachment. It works for anybody. Use the richness of your voice. Furthermore, it’s asynchronous, meaning you never have the angst of not connecting. Finally, it is built to add a cool, easy audio layer atop Twitter, Facebook, and many other services. Our development centers on filling this important void in person-to-person communications.


About tinyvox

The Social Tape Deck
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