Syncify: Reimagining shared experiences

What if we could listen to podcasts together in real-time? Or talk about the things we hear? Even when we’re miles apart?

Syncify is a startup seeking to change or rather adapt to the way we listen to podcasts and audiobooks, all through a new app. It’s a timely development, we are already well-versed in using apps such as Spotify and Audible to spend our free time perusing the world of audio. 

Audio is an increasingly popular medium with a huge variety of podcasts available and text-to-speech readers providing accessibility for people to read books and articles on the internet.

Listen up

As well as being a creative new app, it has a social mission too; to bring people together and encourage healthy conversation over the things we love, particularly at a time when there is a greater distance between people.

The app does this by enabling friends to listen to things in real-time together as well as see other’s progress going through books. Commenting is available and users are encouraged to discuss podcast material. Not only that, but it claims that it will make you smarter, by feeding you with information to later recall and chat about.

Though yet to launch, Syncify has had a strong start this year having joined the 2020 cohort of Techstars Accelerator Programme for Startups which has seen the likes of SendGrid and DigitalOcean successfully come through as well as many other successfully funded startups.

Reconnecting

In this particularly disruptive year we have seen lockdowns lead to division and isolation. While we may choose to occupy our time by listening to audiobooks on our own, Syncify tries to reconnect us with our friends remotely, helping us to explore our passions and interests and discover new ones through audio.

Social media has also been a topic of debate around isolation and division, as well as the subject of criticism. Sam Harris, Syncify’s co-founder, has voiced his dislike of social media, and has embarked on responding to its pitfalls. Syncify tackles the outright toxicity and misunderstandings of traditional social media as well as being a culmination of misunderstandings in his own journey as an entrepreneur as he writes in his blog.

The app is designed to harbour personal, deeper, meaningful interactions to bring us closer together, combatting misinformation, unconstructive and divisive conversations.

"Firstly, I am building Syncify to end my frustration of being mis-understood. To stop the lack of connection that wastes time and effort. To create a shared understanding around the things I think about. No doubt this is a tool for me."

Sam Harris

The last year has been challenging for people’s mental health, a project like this expands our thinking and interactions, allowing us to join like-minded fellow community members.

As an official Help With Covid partner one of Syncify’s aims is to improve mental health by bringing connection to people who feel alone and by fostering a community of sharing rather than comparison.

However, this is more than just a product of the pandemic, but a realisation of the changes in conversation, behaviour and the mental health scene, offering new incentives to join a community, make friends online and have fun.

Not Alone

Whilst Syncify’s mission may be unique in some ways, some of its features such as live listening are something other big companies have sought to develop in 2020. 

Disney rolled out its new streaming service Disney+ in 2019, amassing 86 million subscribers. This year it brought out a Group Watch feature to enable real-time viewing of movies and transform the way we share cinematic experiences. 

These, like Syncify, allow users to react and comment on sections whilst watching in sync with one another. 

It seems that the way we share experiences is evolving, tech companies and startups are finding new ways of bringing virtual interaction into our homes and reconnecting us in positive and stimulating ways.

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  • 14 Dec 2020
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