A new iPhone app called Blurtt makes it easy to combine photos and text — it may not sound like a big deal, but co-founder Jeanette Cajide is pitching it as a new way to express yourself.
After all, she says there are some things that just can’t be communicated in text. (Think of a time when you sent a text message or tweeted, then someone misunderstood and you had to explain, “I was being sarcastic.”) If words aren’t going to do the trick, you can look for an image on Blurtt, which searches Flickr and Bing, or upload a picture of your own. Then you overlay a text message (of up to 100 characters) in the font and location of your choosing. If you want to share it with a friend who isn’t on Blurtt, you can also send them a link via text or email.
“Our motto is to say more with less,” Cajide says. “If a picture is worth 1,000 words, a Blurtt is worth a tiny bit more than 1,000.”
One obvious use is to create memes or wannabe memes. In fact, the app allows users to choose modify existing Blurtts to their liking, so if you’ve hit on a funny word/image combination, everyone else can immediately offer their own variant, and voila — a meme.
Yes, there are other meme generating tools out there, but Blurtt is designed specifically for mobile, making it easy to both search existing images or use your own. Its aesthetic is a little classier than most meme sites, perhaps creating room for emotions other than witty one upmanship.
There’s also TinyReview, another app for adding words to pictures. For the most part, the people I know use the app to make jokes, but as the name implies, TinyReview is actually pitching itself as an easy way to share reviews, so Cajide says she doesn’t see it as a competitor, unless it pivots.
As for making money, brands might use the app to engage with consumers, for example by holding Blurtt-creating contests.
I actually met Cajide at South by Southwest, where she demonstrated Blurtt for me. Despite the overloaded Austin cell networks, it was mostly as fast and easy-to-use as she promised. The real challenge, of course, was being clever — I actually stared at a potential Blurtt for a minute before Cajide took pity and helped me come up with the right text.
“It’s hard to force a Blurtt,” she reassured me.