As if Twitters and Seesmics and Tumblrs weren't enough, there's a new short-form multimedia format you now can publish to: Pinger's PingerCast. The service lets you record short audio clips and sends SMS alerts to your subscribers' mobile phones every time you have a new file. The SMS message contains the phone number that your subscribers call to get your audio.
Designed originally as a marketing platform for media brands (movies and popular music artists), it's now available to everyone, and at least for the moment, it's free to use.
It's like a podcast in that the content is audio, but almost everything else is different. The format is length-constrained (five minutes max), and the delivery mechanism is independent of a computer or MP3 player: it goes straight to subscribers' phones. (Registered users can also get the content on their computers.) Sign up for the Webware PingerCast on the widget below--but read to the end of this review first, for a privacy warning.
Setting up and recording a PingerCast is very easy. You can record from your PC, upload a file, or dial in to the Pinger service to record your updates.
Once a subscriber listens to a PingerCast message, they can reply by voice. These replies are sent to the administrator's online Pinger console, and can then be downloaded. But although PingerCast does allow audio replies to its messages, it's not a conversational medium like Seesmic. There's no easy way to set up a back-and-forth audio chat.
The service also gives its publishers useful reports on who's listening to what. The reports are a bit too rich, I thought: they reveal the phone numbers of the subscribers.
I don't think any of the Web 2.0 bloggers I know will adopt this medium, since the alerting function, SMS, is rather intrusive compared with social update services like Twitter that you can jump into and out of on a whim, and it's also not conversational. But it's a creative service and I can see how brand marketers who are trying to reach a more mainstream audience than Web junkies would find it attractive.