Estimates peg the number of text messages that'll be sent worldwide this year to be around 6.1 trillion, triple the number that were sent in 2007. American teenagers - renowned for ther embrace of text messaging - send and receive on average 3339 texts per month. And although many people, teens included, are moving to smartphones and beginning to embrace mobile apps, text messaging - something that works across phone types - remains the premier tool for mobile messaging.
Arguably this means there's lots of opportunity for innovative services to be built around SMS. And one such startup is TextSlide, a new text-only service that brings together two random people to chat anonymously. It sounds a lot like Chatroulette, with the ability to communicate with strangers and "Next!" someone and move on to another correspondent.
Randomized, Anonymous Texting with TextSlide
TextSlide feels somehow "safer," however, than Chatroulette - such is the difference between displaying only written words in the former versus your face (ha) in the latter. Only your area code is displayed in TextSlide - your phone number never is. And while you can set a username for yourself, you can change this at anytime.
TextSlide creator Matt Hunter says he's interested in cultivating a community via text-messaging and plans to be able to reward good behavior (or good conversationalists perhaps) and "punish" others. Game mechanics like this, says Hunter, will help make the chatting experience better and may also be used to match people.
And while the service could certain be adopted by those legions of teenage texters and become just another place to start off conversations with age/sex/location inquiries (when I tried the service, the conversations tended to go that direction sooner rather than later). But depending on the person you connect with, there are lots of possibilities for the kinds of conversations and connections that can be made.
Building New Communications Tools
Twilio API. And as Twilio is powering a number of interesting services, including GroupMe and I Can't Find My Phone. And it may be that Twilio's support for its developers will help encourage more startups, like TextSlide, to build more innovative texting tools.TextSlide is pretty simple and streamlined. But Hunter has other things planned for TextSlide, a project that he built over one weekend using the
TextSlide is still in beta, but you can sign up via the website. Hunter is slowing letting new users in, as he monitors the service's usage.