×

Twitter’s former VP of product Michael Sippey still calls himself “a huge fan of Twitter.” But bit by bit, Sippey is building a service that could one day replace Twitter for Hollywood celebrities and other users with sizable audiences.

Sippey’s Talkshow app is turning text messages into a public medium, allowing anyone to exchange text messages in front of an audience. “I deeply believe in text,” Sippey told Variety during a recent interview – and messaging seemed like just the right outlet to get people talking. “Billions of people are sending messages every day,” he said. “There must be some that are really good at it.”

Talkshow officially launched in April, and has since hosted Talkshow conversations about basketball games, TV shows like “Game of Thrones,” podcasts and more. Each conversation can be followed via the Talkshow app, or through embeds on any website, and fans who have missed a witty exchange of their favorite podcast hosts can always catch up on it after.

On Tuesday, the company added a new Q&A feature that allows the audience to ask questions, which can then be curated by a Talkshow host before being answered.

Talkshow isn’t the only app aiming to turn messaging into a broadcast medium. Last month, Public launched with a very similar approach.

Apps like these unites that they take some of the best aspects of Twitter — the raw and unfiltered nature of text exchanges from famous people experts — but omit some of the things that turn people off Twitter. One obvious example is the focus on just one conversation, as opposed to the often chaotic stream of unrelated messages in a Twitter timeline.

But there’s also the curated nature of conversations on an app like Talkshow, which helps to weed out trolls and other bad behavior. That alone could be enough to convince celebrities to give an app like Talkshow a try. Whether it’s also what audiences are looking for remains to be seen.