The First Social Media Platform Powered By Your Voice

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Bursting onto the social media scene is Sowt, a new Jordanian online platform that allows people the ability to share their thoughts and ideas and to interact with each other using short audio clips.

Sowt, which is Arabic for “voice,” founded by the Zureiqat siblings, Hazem, Tarek, and Dana, allows users to record up to 42 seconds of audio through its website or mobile app, and then post it to their network, along with a text description and a picture if they so wish. Users can even “echo,” or pass-on, their favorite audio clips posted by other users.

The following gives a better understanding as to what Sowt is and its venture to become the next platform in empowering citizen activism in the Middle East:  

“The initial idea behind Sowt was inspired by the events of the Arab Spring. We wanted to create an audio-based citizen journalism platform, through which people can report their news on the go, attach a picture, and share with the world. That idea quickly evolved into development a more encompassing social audio platform that could be used by journalists and others. Sowt is a platform centered on audio of the human voice. It is not a text or photo-based social media platform like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, nor is it a private messaging platform like Whatsapp. Sowt is already fully integrated with Facebook and Twitter, and we plan to integrate it with other platforms soon. Today, posts people create on Sowt can be automatically posted to users’ Facebook and Twitter profiles. Others who see these posts can play them directly from within Facebook and Twitter” says co-Founder and CEO Hazem Zureiqat. Hazem continues, “voice remains the most common and effective means of human communication, yet it has never been integrated into online social networking platforms. Sowt aims to bridge that gap, combining the power and the emotions that come with the human voice with the impact and wide reach offered by social media. Our vision, at the end of the day, is to elevate the discourse taking place online.”
Hazem believes that what will get people to embrace Sowt and use is its slick, user-friendly interface, its growing community, and, more importantly, the fact that communicating through voice is so common and familiar to us all.
Like TwitterSoundcloud, and competitors Audioboo and Bubbly, Sowt offers users asynchronous follow, or the ability to follow others without creating a mutual connection, and it allows users to engage in discussions by commenting on audio posts via voice and text. Different from Twitter and SoundCloud, Sowt offer users the ability to create your own personalized crowdsourced radio station by enabling users to search any given topic and listen to a continuous playlist of all related audio posts. One way that Sowt stands apart from both AudioBoo and Bubbly is that neither of the other platforms incorporate voice and text together, thus giving users the option to express themselves in both mediums. Sowt also has a more interactive and social interface than either competitor, which may help current social media users easily incorporate an audio-based platform.
The ultimate aim behind Sowt is to elevate the online discourse by introducing the human voice. This can only take place when people talk and engage with one another openly. Nevertheless, it is evident that the team still plans on introducing some privacy features, as well as others that add some degree of anonymity to posts created on Sowt.
At present, users’ posts are monitored manually. “We also has a ‘report’ option that will become more effective as Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 11.57.03 AMthe number of users increases. If the audio clips include any offensive or inappropriate content, they are typically removed. In some cases, the user accounts may also be suspended” explains Hazem.
Sowt’s marketing activities are currently targeted at the Arab world for various reasons (the first being that the creators of Sowt are from the region and are familiar with its landscape). The largest markets within the Arab world are Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
“The platform is already regional, attracting users from Saudi Arabia, Egypt,and North African countries, as well as a few non-Arab countries. As of today, Sowt has 50,000 users across the Arab world and beyond, engaging on a wide variety of topics from news and current events and social issues to music and poetry. Some are even using Sowt to share ambient sounds” explains Hazem.
The social audio space is still nascent, but there are some successful players out there. These players target different regions and languages and have a slightly different offering than Sowt. Sowt team, therefore, sees their success not as a threat but, rather, as validation that they are doing the right thing.
There are various revenue generation schemes that are currently being explored and tested out. These include B2C arrangements, native ads, and a freemium offering.
The interface is available in both English and Arabic on all three platforms (web, iOS, and Android) with French and other languages coming soon. The content today is mostly in Arabic, given the region in which Sowt team are focusing their marketing activities.

The following is a short introductory YouTube video which explains Sowt in details:



  1. The First Social Media Platform Powered By Your... - July 3, 2014

    […] That idea quickly evolved into development a more encompassing social audio platform that could be used by journalists and others. Sowt is a platform centered on audio of the human voice. It is not a text or photo-based …  […]

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