DabKick is an idea that’s unique. Instead of using social apps to share your media – Facebook, SMS, iMessage – you locate the media worth sharing (either from your Camera Roll or YouTube search) and then find the person to share it with. This odd commutative experience changes the way to chat, voice message, and screen cast. And once you get the hang of it, it can be a lot of fun.
According to the developer,
DabKick is a free mobile communications app that allows people to interact live with friends and family while watching videos, showing photos and listening to music together. This unique app creates a fun, in-person experience that allows friends to chat live and talk like they are on a walkie-talkie while enjoying media together over their phones – just like they were both right next to each other looking at the same screen!
Full disclaimer here: the photos you can screen share are yours, while the videos and music are not from your iPhone library, but YouTube.
The App’s Navigation
DabKick is a beautiful app, with warm autumn colors in a full screen. It is so full featured, that trying to figure out where to go and how to interact is a bit confusing, however.
Once installed and your phone number verified by text or email, you have several choices to explore. Across the bottom menu is Chat, Music, or Show.
Across the top menus are the DabKick Settings (common on the left)…
and DabKick communications menu on the right:
It’s important to get these navigations down – especially when you missed someone who “dabbed” you (tried to reach you through DabKick) and the notification is in the Mail section.
Looking more deeply into the Chat menu, let’s say I want to tell my friend Stephanie, “Needing to run.” After typing the message, I need to connect with her since she’s already my DabKick friend.
Step 2, select her from my friend list, and confirm.
Step 3, wait to see if she shows up live. If so, we can interact and voice chat as well. If not, I have the option of leaving her a message (in her DabKick Mail) – including recording a voicemail (look below at the little blue “record” circle above the VOICE label).
While I think live chatting and voice recording is useful, I’m on the fence about the experience of chatting through DabKick. If I don’t have text messaging, iMessage, or HeyTell, then I’d be using it far more often.
Honestly this is where I misunderstood DabKick on its first use. I thought I could certainly share my music or music playlist. Instead the searching and playlists are, as listed in the search field, from YouTube. This means you’re limited to what’s available and allowable from YouTube.
For convenience and to their credit, DabKick also curates some playlists for you, which is a killer way to find songs. Included also are member-created playlists in addition to the playlists you create for yourself.
The caveat here is the limitation of allowable songs. There were times when an error message displayed that a song was “unable to play” because it was protected.
Where DabKick honestly shines is interacting with a friend through the Show menu. One launched, you tag and collect either your own photos – from your Camera Roll, Album, or in-app picture taken with the camera – as well as videos / pictures from YouTube.
As before, in the chat feature, if your friend is unavailable, you can leave them the message with photos and videos attached.
Otherwise screen sharing your photos and watching YouTube videos WHILE interactively chatting (text or voice) is the best way to engage with someone! Yes, you can SMS/chat with your DabKick friend while simultaneously watching the same YouTube video, or swiping through your camera photos.
Once you get the hang of it, DabKick is… well, a kick to use! I chatted with the developer once while he was taking pictures on a bus in India: real time media combined with texting.
Recently DabKick has added new features to its service as well: the ability to share photos from the web or your computer to a DabKick user, and a new DabKick bookmarklet. Now it’s possible to leave your idevice behind and keep dabbing from your computer and web browser!
While it will be a struggle for DabKick to replace mainstay apps like iMessage and SMS, it’s a viable alternative that is rooted not in conversations but in media.
DabKick is available in the App Store for free (and currently has 4.5 / 5 stars)