October 25, 2020

 

Thanks for having this conversation with me, Chidindu. Could you please tell me about yourself?

So, this is how I describe myself: My name is Chidindu. I’m a Software Engineer & Data Scientist, and I love Serverless Technologies.

You recently built Threadspeaker?  What is it about?  Is it possible for you to tell me more about it?

Sure, ThreadSpeaker is a bot on Twitter, that converts (synthesizes) tweets and tweet threads to audio. It comes with a website where you can listen to it like a music player.

 

Not long ago,  while in Nigeria,  the Twitter team hired the creator of the Quoted Replies handle.  Do you see Threadspeaker getting much adoption as that?

[Laughter] I would love that to happen, but I don’t think so, at least not this version.

 

Data, insight, and research all play a role in product development.  Is that the case for Threadspeaker?  Or was it an outcome of mere coincidence?

Not as deep as that for this. This was a personal problem I had. I love audiobooks, being able to plug in something in my ear while I do chores and all. So I needed something for those interesting tweet threads, but couldn’t find something with a good user experience that did that.

 

A decade or more ago,  it was believed that video was the future and products like YouTube became prominent.  Do you think audio is the future of engagement and marketing?

I don’t think so. The human brain loves videos, there’s been analysis on this. I don’t think audio can take the place of video. However, audio has its place, especially in this age we are in (where the attention span has dropped by 25%). This is also evident in the growth of podcasts and audiobooks. While the audio space (audiobooks & podcasts) has grown, Video (Instagram, Youtube, Tiktok) has grown  more, so I don’t think audio is the future of engagement, but it has its space.

 

And are there plans to make this your interesting idea with Threadspeaker better?  And what could it be?

Definitely, they are plans to make this better. I plan to monetize this, and to do so, you need a competitive edge, something no other person can provide and what users want. Right now, I’m working on including custom voices. Like being able to listen to the President’s tweets in the President’s voice.

 

Let’s imagine you’ve been given the opportunity to run Twitter for a month,  what would you do differently and why?

[loud laughter]. This is hard… I haven’t really thought of that before, I don’t think I have an answer.

 

The use case for Threadspeaker is listening to tweet threads.  Does it apply to single tweets?

Yes, it does. At first, it was only intended to work on tweet threads, but on launch day, I realized a lot of people were using it for single tweets. So I added that immediately.

 

Seeing the initial target is Twitter threads,  are there plans to have Threadspeaker on say,  Facebook?

About Facebook, I don’t use Facebook. So,  doing this for Facebook isn’t in my plans, but who knows, anything can happen.

 

Google has provided an option with the Voice Assistant with a local accent.  Male or female voices, at least for its Nigerian Map users, do you see that happening to Threadspeaker?

Something like that, but not exactly in that manner. But if localizing voices would increase adoption and use, I will do that.

 

Finally,  what do you consider the future of social media?  Any projections?  Insights?

[ponders] The future of social media… I think the next thing for social media would involve  Augmented/Virtual Reality. I mean, we started with text (regular chats), then included audio, then included video, it seems only natural that the next direction would be AR/VR. We can already see TikTok going in that direction with the AR Concerts.

 

Thanks for your time.

You’re welcome.

 

 

 

Chidindu Ogbonna is a software engineer and the Creator of  Threadspeaker . He  is also on Twitter.

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