BLAB – Video Messaging App or Television for the 21st century. RIP

Remember Bebo ?
Michael Birch BlabThat was the Social app which was created by Michael and Xochi Birch, got 100 million users, then sold for €850m to AOL and then bought back by the Birchs for a few million. I met Michael at the Web Summit a few years ago in Dublin and he was just relaxing, taking some time out, looking for his next big idea. They had moved from the UK to the US and were happy to live a ‘normal’ life for a while. The Bebo years had been hectic with Michael full time on the project whilst Xochi worked to pay the bills. They have a great story, but that is a different article.

 

Enter Blab
Now, they are minted, so they put some money in a pot and employed some really smart people to look for the right next big idea. After a few years testing  various ideas, enter Blab, in 2014. The Birchs and their team have developed a new Social App, which has been described as a Video Walkie Talkie communications tool and allows you send messages or have video conversations. Is that Skype you might say or Facetime ? Or Google Hangouts ? Well this app claims to be all this and better. What about Snapchat – yes it is that too, only easier to use.

Open Blab
Download the app or go to blab.im Open the App or go to blab.im , press record and when finished just send.You can even send to people who do not have the app. Only download the app if you want to be a sender or participant in a conversation. Use your Twitter account to open a Blab account – the only way to do it for now. The Birchs do not currently have a way to make money with Blab, they want to build a Community first, maybe get that 100 million who used Bebo. They have have just a few million now. They even created some Community rules or guidelines for good behaviour #theblabway.

BLAB Video Walkie Talkie MeanIT BlogUsing Blab.
When you go to your Blab home page you see Conversations on Air currently,(yes you can join one and listen to it) or Blabs that are Scheduled to run, you can subscribe and join in when live or see Replays of Blabs already recorded and left up for viewing. If you subscribe to a Blab, but cannot attend you will get a link to allow you watch it later. You will see Tags on the left to filter your view.

Blab Window (or UI User Interface)
Once you open a Blab, you will see 4 main boxes for images of the people involved in the conversation. The Host is always in the top left corner and the host can invite up to three more people to join. The Host can also kick people out. Other participants appear as small icons or avatars, so you can see who is watching. These participants can send messages in the text box which can be seen by everyone, although it is hard to be one of the 4 people in the talking seats and still watch the text conversations in a busy topic. If you have a question start by typing /q and then the text, this will be highlighted to the host. You can also reply or comment on any questions raised. You can show love by offering ‘Props’ for good performance, just click on the person and watch the clapping hands icon appear.You can give Props to a comment too. Or you can paste an image in to the comments if you think it is relevant.

Join a Blab
Just click on the Call In option in an empty seat and if the host accepts you, then you can chat – just make sure you accept the microphone and video permissions. Be sure both work on your computer or smartphone. Remember you accessed blab via Twitter, so you can share Blabs via Twitter by clicking on Tell a little bird at the top of the screen. As with Twitter you can follow people and connect with them. Remember this is Social, even the business topics allow you connect with like minded people. Use the settings to edit your profile or how you connect with Blab.

Blab Hosting
When you are ready, why not host a blab. Click on the start of a blab, top right, give it a title, select a tag or a few, select Live Now or Schedule a time. You can edit details of a Scheduled blab, by clicking on your own Profile page. As the Host you can even edit the topic title whilst you are broadcasting. Whichever title you have when you finish will be the title that stays for any replay. As Host you can delete comments, block participants, close out seats and generally be the boss.The host can record and also stop or pause or take breaks, even go Off Record, but at the end, all the parts will play smoothly stitched together. The Host decides whether the recording is Public or private or even saved. You will receive a link to the recording, which could last for hours. You can even upload directly to YouTube or embed in your own website. To finish, just clear out the guests and then exit yourself last.

Enjoy Blabbing 
Have some fun, start a blab with a few friends and get some practice socially before you consider broadcasting to a wider field. Get comfortable, just use your computer or smartphone for now. Maybe you will invest in a good microphone and camera at a later date, when you are a master blabber.

Note: Blab is no longer.