This week saw the launch of a new social networking app from Napster-founders Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning called Airtime. I had a chance to try it out on Tuesday and I will add my voice to the hype and say that I’m very impressed. Sure, there were a few minor bugs but the second I first connected to someone else in the one-on-one video chat, I “got it.”
Here’s why: the very first person I talked to was legit. This isn’t like Chatroulette where you’re pairing yourself up with an absolute stranger at all times. Instead, you actually log in with your Facebook profile and connect with seemingly random strangers who really aren’t that random. Airtime uses your location, friends list, and interests directly from Facebook to pair you up with someone you’ve got something in common with.
The app isn’t about followers nor is it a giant platform to mass-market: it’s all about one-to-one, face-to-face connections.
In my first run, I was able to connect with two different people who I instantly had something in common with (Airtime shows you what you have in common). Right away there’s some sort of connection. It’s actually (surprisingly) not creepy at all.
And that’s what impresses me most about Airtime: It uses Facebook integration perfectly.
There are thousands of apps and platforms that connect to Facebook, but Airtime actually integrates with Facebook and pulls and pushes data in an almost seamless manner. As I mentioned, it does an awesome job of pulling your data from Facebook to create the non-creepy video chat experience, but then it also does a great job of pushing data back to Facebook in case you connect with someone you want to remember. This happened in my very first conversation and I was able to find out more about that person just by following the link on my timeline.
Also, Airtime will actually block usage from people with too few connections on Facebook (i.e. psycho stalkers who set up new accounts) and they have a strict one-strike-and-you’re-out policy among many other well-executed safeguards to limit abuse of the platform.
I dig it, and I do agree with Gary Vaynerchuk that this has a very early Twitter-like experience to it.
What are your thoughts about Airtime? Will we still be talking about it and on it a year from now?