As if the wired world we’ve woven isn’t busy enough, one in a growing trend of celebrities turned entrepreneur, British comedian Ricky Gervais has just launched Just Sayin’, a voice-based social app for the iPhone.
As Instagram is to photos, "as Twitter is to newsprint," Just Sayin’ wants to be for voice. “Basically, voices have to be part of this new media we’re inventing...Everyone has an opinion. And there’s no better way to express your own opinion than in your own voice,” commented Gervais to the New York Times.
The creator and star of the original The Office is an investor in and creative director of the app, which lets users share voice- and video-based messages via iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch — and yes, it's coming to Android devices later this year — all shareable on Twitter and Facebook.
Ironically, he's launching what's, essentially, a radio version of Twitter just as he's quitting the site (well, maybe). Gervais has 3 million followers and a well-publicized love/hate (make that a like/loathe) relationship with Twitter, thanks to rude remarks from David Brent-like buffoons.
But in a sign that Twitter is a brand-building platform bar none for the thoroughly modern social celeb, he seems resigned to the fact that he can embrace it and make it more engaging and inspiring, at least, for himself and others. Or is he having a laugh?
"I’ve always been fascinated with what fascinates people," Gervais tells Entertainment Weekly. "I’m quite good at taking in the common consciousness and reflecting it back, I think. … This is just another forum. Another playground. Creativity is all about playing."
“The real pull of Just Sayin’," EW comments, "is the possibility of entering into a 'conversation' with another user that other followers can also listen in on. So instead of reading Patton Oswalt and Alec Baldwin argue over politics, or Nathan Fillion respond to his followers, you could possibly hear their exchanges instead — and all the nuances, inflections, sarcasm, and silly voices that entails.”
Gervais created the app with voice-technology company CloudTalk and co-founder David Hayden thinks voice in social media is the next big thing, telling Mashable, "We’ve seen the resistance to voice slowly crumble. We are just waiting to see what presidential candidate picks this up first."
A huge success as a podcaster, the star's voice is increasingly ubiquitous. His upcoming Channel 4 series Derek, featuring him as a nursing home employee, was just picked up by Netflix, while speculation about his video podcast, "Learn English With Ricky Gervais," following suit is rapidly spreading.
Another irony: “I hate my voice,” says Gervais. “In my head, I sound so much more erudite and articulate.”
Maybe there’s an app for that? Just Sayin’.