Imagine if Tom Paine, or Benjamin Franklin, or Emma Goldman had the power to cast their passing thoughts, while walking down the street, to thousands or millions of people all around the world, with ease, in minutes. They would expel the building material of a mason, wouldn't they?
That power is now in all of our hands, thanks to a new class of mobile applications that's maturing very quickly. Mobile podcasting apps are now powerful, easy to use, free and tied to big social networks for distribution. The latest to hit the scene is Cinch, from BlogTalk Radio, which landed in the Android marketplace this morning after several months on the iPhone.
Cinch is a relatively simple app, and it has its technical issues on occasion, but it's absolutely revolutionary and so far could be the best in its class. Users launch the app, hit record, speak into their phone, press stop, give their recording a title, aim it at their Twitter or Facebook friends, and then hit publish. Within minutes the recording is uploaded to the Cinch servers and a link to listen is pushed out to the designated social networks.
I've been using Cinch on the iPhone for months now, to record my thoughts about art and the internet, about writing, or the soundscape from the train station in my home town. I marvel, every time, at the fact that I can publish my thoughts so effortlessly in audio out to the world now, from wherever I am. Just like blogging made text publishing and distribution more accessible and democratic than it had ever been before in human history, mobile audio publishing apps like this are truly world changing. The availability of Cinch on Android is an important event.
Cinch isn't the only mobile podcasting app available for today's smartphones. AudioBoo is another one that you might enjoy on the iPhone. It's far more attractive visually, has more features, more users and appears to have fewer bugs. It has a 5 minute time limit on audio recording, though. That's very inconvenient, as the timer is usually out of sight up against my ear. I also regularly have 6 or 7 minute long thoughts. I haven't hit the time limit on Cinch yet.
Social media apps come and social media apps go, more launch every day than anyone can keep track of, but some of them are worth taking pause and considering the implications of. The power of instant, mobile, global audio publishing in your pocket, for free? That really means something.