If you think Twitter is annoying, just think how much worse it would be if you could hear it. Well, now you can.
A new microblogging site has taken the concept of Twitter, and added sound. It's called TweetVox, though some are calling it "Witter".
It was launched in London and Paris last week, and world domination is planned, with launches scheduled for Spain and Japan.
With Twitter, you give the world your pearl of wisdom in 140 characters of text; with TweetVox, you record it in no more than two minutes of sound. You then upload the file on to Facebook or Twitter, and wait for friends and colleagues to respond.
"TweetVox puts the voice at the heart of the social network," says Guillaume Odriosolo, director of the project. "We've seen how people like to exchange ideas on Facebook and Twitter. We have also found a growing demand for audio files. TweetVox combines the two. It puts back the human element into microblogging."
Anyone who downloads TweetVox on to their phone can make their "tweet voxes" location-specific. "It gives a voice to a place," says Odriosolo, 30, explaining that users will be able to record a review of a restaurant as they walk out, and tag it for future visitors to hear.
"We're sure that TweetVox's users will appreciate its simplicity, and the added value it will give to their day-to-day usage of social networks."
But Rhodri Marsden, a technology columnist, says Twitter can only work as text. "All the things that are good about Twitter, like the rapid exchange of messages and the ability to track back through a conversation, and the ability to search, none of these exists as soon as you turn it into audio," he says.
"The fact that Twitter is silent is part of its appeal, because peoplecan tweet while they're watching telly, which has become a bigthing."
John Rentoul, chief political commentator of the Independent on Sunday, and a prolific tweeter, is also sceptical, but warned that writing it off could be dangerous.
"It sounds awful," he says. "But then, when Facebook launched, I said it would never take off."
- IndependentBy Matthew Bell