Do you find that social networks are bloated with links and mundane chatter, without not enough social conversation? A website called Tawkers seeks to bring meaningful conversations back to the internet, by allowing two people to have a public instant message conversation.
After launching the web service last year, Tawkers recently released a free iPhone app to encourage mobile discussion. Conversations play out via text-based chat live between two parties, while other Tawkers members can participate with comments and questions.
Tawkers hosts conversations on a wide range of topics, ranging from health and wellness to popular culture, music, religion – even parenting.
A few notable conversations include comedian Lee Camp and activist, writer, and singer Eleanor Goldfield about the more crucial ignored news items of 2013, and best selling authors, Deepak Chopra and Rudy Tanzi, held a debate about what influences brain activity and how we should take care of ourselves mentally.
A few recent Tawks include discussions about fad diets, Navigating the Obamacare Deadline, how to make the most of social media, and an interesting, rarely public discussion, about demystifying BDSM! These events are similar to Twitter conversations and the question and answer format found on Quora, but are a bit more formal.
You can register with Tawkers using your Facebook or email account. After setting up your profile, you can follow other Tawker members just as you do on other social network sites. Tawkers includes a notifications page for your account that lists on-site activities, such as invitations to co-host a Tawk, and a listing of your new followers.
You can select upcoming Tawks and get reminders, invite other Tawker members to hosted conversations, and announce events to other social networks.
During a hosted conversation, audience members can write comments that will be seen by the hosts. Hosts in turn can spotlight comments, which pulls them on the main “stage” of the conversation. For now, all conversations on Tawkers are for public viewing only.
On the Tawkers homepage you can find a list of currently popular, and upcoming Tawks. Some Tawks offer interesting discussions that you might only find online, like singer songwriters Blake Ian and Jake Incao discussing the anxieties of preparing for a big gig. A more weightier conversation, between Camp and Goldfield, focused on the question of, “Will Technology Save or Enslave Us?” and how can it be put to better use.
Hosting a Tawk
Any Tawkers member can schedule a Tawk and invite a co-host for the event– the setup is easy and straight-forward, allowing you to invite friends using email and social networks. Hosting a Tawk might useful for further exposing a social issue you’re passionate about, or holding a discussion about your startup, or your recently published book or video. A series of Tawks were hosted earlier this year by a few Peace Corps volunteers, and green business guru, Aaron Meyers, about the classic book, Small Is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered.
Though similar conversations do take place on forums and niche websites, Tawkers provides a more formal, curated setting, which are perhaps less annoying than Twitter conversations. While there are several dozen posted conversations on Tawkers, it seems it could use a lot more.
The release of the iPhone Tawkers app may indeed invite a wider and more mobile audience, though I think an optimized iPad version will make for better reading and participation in a hosted event.
All of the features of the online platform are present in the iPhone app, though you do have to switch between different pages to see other participating members and their comments. The web version displays both the main and audience conversations in two columns.
Tawkers is similar to Google Hangout conversations, but conversations are purely text-based. Let us know what think Tawkers and how you see it as being beneficial. Check out the video below for more information about Tawkers.
Download: Tawkers for iPhone (Free)