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SayMore - Resurrecting the Phone Call

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We seem to be so wrapped up in finding new methods of long distance communication (VR chatrooms, endless messenger apps, 'velfies' and so forth) that the lowly phone call is slowly falling by the wayside. Somehow, we've reached a stage where it would be understandable, even unsurprising, for someone to forget that phones were actually invented so you could call people.

Thankfully I'm not the only one left in the world who still sees some value in phoning people, but more than that, there are people out there who have found a way to make it relevant again. Brent Hurley, the younger brother of YouTube founder Chad Hurley is leading that charge with SayMore. Once you have the app (available now on iOS), you can browse a selection of different conversation topics (organised by main topic and framing question, for example: 'Trending: Is social media bringing us closer together or driving us apart?'), then look through the caller profiles to find a conversation partner and you're away.

They aren't actual phone calls, technically, but since the app uses either cellular data or wireless to transmit HD voice, the calls sound clearer and better than normal ones. There's no rule that you have to talk for a certain amount of time or even that you have to talk about the assigned topic, it's just a launch-pad, the whole app is predicated on the idea that talking to strangers is healthy. There is provable evidence that this is the case, a study by the University of Chicago last year revealed that in the majority of cases, people who struck up a conversation with a stranger during a commute largely came away regarding it as a positive experience, even if they had previously thought it would be a negative one.

This was the inspiration for setting up SayMore in the first place, Hurley struck up a conversation with someone on a plane which left him so inspired he took it upon himself to find a way to map current tech and social media trends to the idea of conversation. It's hardly the first time someone's tried to do something like this, but previous iterations have almost always ended up burning out or in the case of Chat Roulette, being overrun by weird people

That's not to say the same with will happen to SayMore and I hope it doesn't, there's a lot to be said for encouraging people to talk on the phone more, what will probably end up happening is that it will attract a small, but dedicated following. Conversations that carry real, emotional weight can be hard to come by on text and photo messaging platforms, since they allow people time to plan their answers. The spontaneity of real, vocal conversation is impossible to replicate, and immensely valuable.

The movement among networking apps to try and get people to go outside and engage with people seems to have snowballed to the point at which it's basically unstoppable anyway, so it's hardly as if things like SayMore are the last bastion of real conversation, but it's still nice to see fresh, new approaches. If you haven't had a nice, long chat with someone in a while, give it a try and see how you feel afterwards.


Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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SayMore - Resurrecting the Phone Call Reviewed by Callum Davies on Wednesday, July 22, 2015 Rating: 5

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