New York sneaker trends. The social division in Turkey. Crypto, no-gos on the first date, the Netflix series that started yesterday - a person's everyday life in 2021 is complex and varied. You want to learn more about everything and hear different opinions. Your own social circle threatens to quickly become an echo chamber. Fortunately, there are countless sub-forums for every topic on the Internet.
So far, however, mainly through the medium of text. Anonymous users: people with long sequences of numbers in their names post posts - this often creates a harsh, impersonal climate. But how about if you don't read the people's texts, but hear them speak - directly and with the speaker's own voices?
This is exactly where the new social audio app Beams from Berlin comes in. “Our users often refer to our app as Reddit for Voice,” says Alan Sternberg. “That can be understood as our product vision.” Sternberg is one of the founders of Beams. Together with his co-founder Robert Kilian, he launched the app in April of this year.
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An audio mosaic of stories and thoughts
Beams is a social media platform on which everyone can create channels on every imaginable topic and then talk to each other within them. A voice contribution - also known as a micro podcast or beam - is up to 90 seconds long. And unlike at Clubhouse, it's not just selected hosts who speak, but the entire community. The result is an audio mosaic of various stories, thoughts and topics.
Sternberg and Kilian got the idea for this when they set up sound installations in New York and San Francisco in collaboration with the French artist JR. Thousands of voices told their stories in voice messages, including 48 inmates from the maximum security prison in Tehachapi, California.
Kilian and Sternberg realized how powerful the audio format can be because it creates a completely different intimacy than photos and videos. "We noticed how intimate it is when someone tells you personal stories in your ear," reports Kilian enthusiastically.
The two saw that there is no platform that depicts this phenomenon. Kilian about the moment of clarity: "We said: Let's start a company that is based on that."
A little digression: the name of your app goes back a long way, as far as the projection art of the 17th century. At that time, the Magic Lantern was becoming increasingly popular: a projection device that travelers used to tell their experiences. You entered a dark room and listened to the story of the person performing. You stared through the Magic Lantern at small images that were projected in front of your eyes by light beams - "beams of light".