I’m one of the few people who still regularly uses the U.S. Postal Service, so when I first heard about ShoutOut, an app allowing location-based chat between users, I didn’t think I’d be first in line to test it out. But after talking with the team behind it — Erwan Lent, Joel Green, and Adam Hegedus, three friends who met at UCSB and say they are “committed to changing the mobile communication landscape” — I realized that ShoutOut could actually prove to be a very useful innovation.
So what exactly does it do? “We’re a location-based chat-room mobile application where we allow people to communicate locally, either anonymously or by sharing their identity,” Hegedus said. “Say you’re at a concert. You can go on ShoutOut and see what other people are talking about, get information, meet with other people … say you’re in your office, you’ll be getting push notifications for what people are talking about in the chat room while you’re there, and as soon as you leave, you’ll stop getting those notifications.”
“Why not just walk up to the person next to you and say hi?” I asked. “Why not cut out the middleman, as it were?”
Hegedus explained, “You can go and talk to the people around you, right, but the reason we’re making ShoutOut is that you can’t talk to everyone around you. For example,” Hegedus continued, “you can make a chat room the size of Santa Barbara and ask, ‘Is there anywhere to get lunch, or does anyone want to play basketball,’ or some kind of question like that, and then you’ll get the information, potentially meet other people around you, and be able to network more quickly rather than having to go through your friends, Facebook connections, friends of friends …. You have a new medium that will let you talk to the people that are most relevant nearby.”
Hegedus said users can also create a “global chat room,” which allows you to bypass the location-based aspect of the app. This could be used to stay in touch with people you’ve met without having to exchange phone numbers, email addresses, or Facebook information.
The app is now available on iTunes and coming soon to Android. See getshoutout.me.