When it comes to messaging apps there’s Snapchat and there’s the default iOS or Android messaging apps. Everything else I’m not super impressed with and don’t have on my phone. Not WhatsApp, not Facebook Messenger, not Line, not nothin. Okay, I use Instagram and Twitter, but I don’t really count those. They’re social networks. But Tribe… Tribe looks DOPE!
Tribe described itself like this: walkie talkie, reinvented. I guess. It’s not live, like Voxer, which is very walkie talkie like. Tribe lets you send vertical video messages SUPER QUICKLY AND EASILY using just one hand — no typing. People on the receiving end play it once and its gone. You also get some interesting info about people (if they choose to share) including the weather where they are and their location (including how many miles away they are).
The interface and the experience are AWESOME: beyond AWESOME. This is definitely a reinvention of messaging and for the better. But before I get to all that, let me first state that the CEO and team are all evil… geniuses.
People are going to start using this app like crazy and I predict it’s going to become SUPER popular. Part of that will be due to some clever, and evil, growth hacking done by the Tribe team. Growth hacking is a startup term used to describe any way to onboard users. The Tribe team does this a bit nefariously (but I’m sure their techniques are going to be highly effective for spreading Tribe all over the place).
When you add contacts to the app it doesn’t just add contacts: it sends those contacts an unsolicited — and most likely unintended — invitation stating: “Hey! Chris just added you and 3 friends on Tribe to talk. Get the app on http://tribe.pm to jump into a conversation!” So, aside from possibly/probably not wanting to send this info (imagine if you were just testing out the app to see how it works), you’ll end up sharing your contact’s info with Tribe (which they may not appreciate) AND Tribe lies. When I added my wife to the app, it sent her the message above even though she’s the only contact I had added at that point: yet the message she got told her I had added her and 3 friends. Lies! Lies!
Less evil, but kind of annoying, but necessary growth hacking technique #2: appending a message to the end of messages sent to people who don’t have Tribe yet that lets them know you send them a message with Tribe.
Lies and evil growth hacking aside (who knows what other boundaries of mine and my friends and family have been crossed unwittingly), I like the look and feel of Tribe A LOT.
The app consists of a grid of squares which hold your contacts. Just tap on someone’s face or square, hold while recording a message and that message will be sent the second you let go. It’s deader than dead simple. You can also setup groups and blast messages to everyone that way. There’s also a floating “mirror” that shows what you look like while you’re recording which you can flick around the screen to move which is really unique and cool.
The design of the app is nice. It’s highly usable. But it does feel kind of feminine thanks to the soft pastel colors. It gives the app a unique, colorful (and not bad) look for sure, but some people may not be into it.
The search feature is also brilliant. Since everything has been designed to use one-handed, you simply pull down to go through the alphabet and stop when you hit the right letter. This team is thinking so far outside the box I’m amazed. I’m telling you: this app is going to blow up.
What’s cool is that you just message a person or group and you’re done. There’s no such thing as a missed call and you never have to schedule anything.
Importantly, no messages are ever stored on Tribe’s database after they have been viewed (or so they say, they aren’t exactly winning my trust so far).
I’d say if you and your friends and family are looking for a better messaging app and experience to give this a try, but I think it’s not a question of if but when. You, or someone you know, will be using this app (and addicted to using it) in the near future. Of that I’m certain.