A Chat About Airchat

Gadget Lab: Weekly Tech News from WIRED

Apr 18 2024 • 33 mins

Silicon Valley tech types love their edgy new social media startups. The latest is Airchat, an audio-first social app that lets its users express their every thought by posting short snippets of audio. All of these snippets are served in a never-ending feed, a la Twitter. There are replies, there are DMs, but there’s no typing; it’s all spoken audio. The platform is exclusively invitation-only for now, so the current user base is made up mostly of Valley insiders, optimistic venture capitalists, and crypto evangelists, which definitely informs the types of conversations you’ll find on the app. If you're thinking this sounds a lot like Clubhouse, the audio-based social space that flared up during the Covid-19 pandemic, well, you're not too far off.

This week on Gadget Lab, we talk to WIRED’s Director of Special Projects Alan Henry about making mouth sounds on Airchat and whether the buzzy new social startup will appeal to anyone outside the Silicon Valley technosphere.

Show Notes:

Read Lauren’s story about Airchat.


Alan recommends the Kurzgesagt YouTube channel. Lauren recommends Julian Chokkattu’s review of the Humane Ai Pin and Scoop, a movie about journalism that’s streaming on Netflix. Mike recommends our new sibling podcast, WIRED Politics Lab.

Alan can be found on social media @halophoenix. Lauren Goode is @LaurenGoode. Michael Calore is @snackfight. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. The show is produced by Boone Ashworth (@booneashworth). Our theme music is by Solar Keys.