In case you haven't "heard" (wait, you'll get it in a second) Anchor is here and it's the first new social network I'm really excited about in a long time. So what exactly is Anchor and why am I so excited?

Anchor is a social media network dedicated to the spoken word. While everybody else out there was focusing on text and video, audio never really had it's place. Audio on the internet has, for a while, been religated to traditional media outlets (radio stations) streaming their feeds online, and tech companies like Spotify and Pandora streaming the same stuff you can hear on the radio, just replacing the DJ. Podcasts were (and still are) the way for regular people to produce their own audio content and stream it to an audience.

That's all changing with the release of Anchor. Anchor lets anyone produce their own "waves" and put them on the line for the world to listen. Responses all happen via audio clips as well, and you can easily categorize and search for clips using hashtags.

[Just in case you didn't get the joke above ... ]

I love this idea (Anchor, not Exchangeagram) because it fills a gap in the market. Everybody and their brother has tried to be the next Facebook, and very few have been able to pull it off. Twitter worked (although it's definitely struggling at the moment) because it allowed people to connect and communicate with celebrities whom they otherwise would never have been able to interact with directly previously. Instagram satisfied people's desire to take, distribute, and consume beautiful photographs. And Snapchat realized that not everyone wants everything they do and say to stick around forever on the internet and is now a monster in the space because of it (if you didn't read my last article about using Snapchat's geofilters for your business, that should be your next step).

Anchor's biggest challenge is going to be scaling fast enough to keep competitors at bay and keep from becoming the next Meerkat. If you're not familiar with the story, Meerkat was a media and tech darling that brought live streaming video to the social network market ... for all of about 3 months until it was killed by Twitter and their own live streaming play, Periscope.

The platform works really well, the audio quality is outstanding, and it's already a pretty active network with a lot of people finding new and interesting ways to use the service. The onboarding experience is great and I've been enjoying my experiences there so far. Plus, co-founder and CEO Mike Mignano was my very first employee ever at my first software company so I'm rooting for him big time!

If Anchor is able to scale fast enough, now is the time to get involved. Yes, there's always the possibility that it flops and you end up like the guy that had 1,000,000 MySpace friends back in 2006, but that's a risk you take on any platform where you don't own your followers (hint: build your email and direct mail lists).

I'm excited to see what Anchor has in store for us, and I'm especially excited for the Android app to come out (right now it's only available on the iPhone) so I don't have to carry two phones around anymore! Download the app, find and add me, and start building an audience by putting out awesome content.

Chris Searles is President of Searles Media and specializes in helping small businesses maximize their available resources to market themselves effectively using a wide variety of media. Visit Website

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