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Will Airchat Become the Next Big Social Network?

“Hey, why haven’t you written about Airchat yet?”

Because it’s not going anywhere. It’s a buzzy app, for sure, and some tech industry folk are hyped about it. But it’s simply not going to ever see mass take-up and become a legitimate challenger in the social media space.

For those who don’t know, Airchat is a voice + text network, similar to Twitter in basic UI, but with the addition of voice for every post.

Airchat

Users speak their posts into existence, with the system then translating their speech into text, then displaying it in a Twitter-like feed.

And it looks good, it looks smooth, and full credit to the team that put it together, as it incorporates a lot of elements of other successful platforms (Clubhouse, Twitter) into a neat, stylish package.

But it’s not going to catch on at significant scale.

Why?

Because most people don’t want to have to use their voice to create content, as evidenced by the eventual downfall of Clubhouse. Phone calls and audio snippets are not the way of the future, despite audio adding more context, which can improve understanding (some of the examples from Airchat have been particularly interesting in this context).

But essentially, I don’t see most users choosing to post in this way. Which isn’t the end of the app’s opportunity, as most social apps rely on just a small fraction of their user base to create fresh content.

But the other killer for Airchat is that people can already do the same, on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, and TikTok, in more popular creation formats.

The auto caption features of these apps are essentially the same approach, but on a bigger canvas, giving users more presentation tools to work with. And if Airchat was to catch on, and reach, say, 100 million users, how long do you think it would be before all of these apps just added similar features to tap into the same?

They already have the systematic infrastructure, so cloning the functionality wouldn’t seemingly pose a big challenge.

It’s also costly to run audio/video networks like this, and eventually, Airchat just won’t be able to compete. So even if it does see success, that’ll just increase the size of the target on its back, and it’ll get killed off either way. Like Clubhouse. Like Meerkat.

“Oh, you were probably all in on those apps at the time though.”

Nope. I was consistent in my criticism of Clubhouse, repeatedly noting that it would struggle to scale in the face of rising competition, along with other buzzy apps like BeReal, Peach, and various one-time industry darlings.

The only one I did miss early on was TikTok, which I didn’t think would be able to become a real competitor for the incumbents, but its advanced engagement algorithms have proven to be way more powerful drivers of compulsive user habits than anticipated.

That said, I’m pretty confident on this one. I don’t think Airchat’s going to become a major network.

Feel free to rub it in my face if I’m wrong.    

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