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Airtime app lets you hang out with friends in a digital chat room, share clips, tunes

Social media networks are great at keeping us connected with our friends throughout the day, but Sean Parker, one of the co-founders of Napster, thinks the social media networks around today don’t really offer a great real-time way to hang out.

That’s why he’s relaunching Airtime, a mobile chat room where you can share things like photos, music, and videos with your friends, which they will all get to see at the same time.

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The app just launched on both iOS and Android, and as mentioned it’s a relaunch — Airtime was first launched four years ago as a chat roulette-type app, but eventually fell flat and sat in limbo for a few years. The new Airtime, however, is different. Unlike other social media networks, which are largely based on person-to-person interactions, Airtime is aimed at simulating what it’s like to have all your friends in the same room.

Using Airtime, you can add as many friends as you want to a room, which will become a place where you can virtually gather with your friends whenever you want. If you and multiple friends are there at the same time, you’ll be able to catch up, share things about your day, and so on. You can even video chat with up to six friends at once.

Of course, Airtime has its work cut out for it. Facebook Live brings Facebook into the real-time media market, and you can already start group chats with your friends if you really want to chat with all of them.

Still, Airtime makes things convenient — no need to schedule group video calls; simply step inside your virtual Airtime room and start talking to whoever is already there, or ring the doorbell to let everyone else know that you’re around and ready to chat. Instead of simply posting a photo or video, you play it for everyone to see. Anyone that’s part of the group can lead the room, choosing what everyone else sees, whether it be a photo, video, song, and so on. You can also share content from the likes of YouTube, Spotify, and more.

Airtime serves a niche, to be sure, but it will be interesting to see if it can actually take off — if so, it could spur a new wave of much more lifelike social media.

You can download Airtime for yourself on Android and iOS now.

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