Shortwave App : Video Meets the Conversation

Everyone thinks that social networking is the next big thing and wants to join the bandwagon. If one looks at any of the app stores one is sure to find countless social and video apps. So when we came across Shortwave, we were close to dismissing it as just one in the crowd.  shortwave-logo

But when we did give it a go, we found the app to be highly engaging. Unlike other apps in the space, Shortwave is about facilitating interesting conversations, and not just sharing memorable conversations.

Shortwave, which is available for free on the iOS App Store, lets one watch and contribute to a threaded video conversation. You can call it a message board with video. The app then stitches together short clips into a threaded conversation. You can easily search and join any topic.

“We were partly inspired by a short video from a protester in Egypt during the Arab Spring. This led us to think about creating a way to converse in video on any topic from anywhere in the world. We also love Reddit’s forum style conversations, where the community has the power to up vote or down vote comments and links. We combined these elements to build a video message board, ” says Aditya Avadhanula of Bubblesoar, Inc, which created the app.

Bubblesoar was founded by Sean Chen and Aditya Avadhanula, who met while they were students at Cornell University. Sean has interned with Google and Microsoft and is currently on leave of absence from Stanford, where he is a grad student. Aditya worked at Micron and in M&A at EY before Shortwave.

Quick review


To start with one can either share a video to start a new topic or you can respond to topics that have already been created by others.

Starting a video conversation is a snap, and one can either choose to make it public or keep it private and choose who to share it with. The videos can be a minimum of five seconds and last up to a minute. The private and public videos can easily be shared using email/SMS, or even using Facebook and Twitter.

While browsing, the videos load rather quickly, but this is because video quality has been compromised. We think that speed is more important than quality, so actually did not mind the low-quality videos so much.

When viewing a video, you can all the video clips play one after the other or skip through the ‘boring’ ones. After watching a video, you can vote on whether you think it should “float” or “sink.” This helps other users discover better content, as the one with more votes gets pushed up the thread and warns users when a video has been sunk a lot. There     is also a thread menu that lets you jump to any point in the conversation.

When a user is viewing a video, he can easily share the clip and people can watch that on the Internet.

In the explore section, one can either see the top videos, latest videos or even search for topics you are interested in. We found the search functionality really useful. Some interesting topics that we came across were a singing competition and a topic where a user asked which movie deserved an Oscar.

We found the app a lot of fun to use and can see it getting better as more users join it. We recommend downloading the app, and who knows you may find just get your next big idea through a conversation on Shortwave.

Aditya Avadhanula mentions that they plan to release an Android version of the app.

Download Shortwave here. It is compatible with the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad and requires iOS 5.1 or later.


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