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App review: Get a room (and chat)

We’ve seen a swag of messaging apps of late, from the traditional kind that feed your news to selected mates, to image and video-based versions.

The recently-released Banter app, free for Android users, comes at an opportune time, given rising paranoia over cyber-privacy.

It takes social conversation back to the days of the chat room, when you adopted a name that sounded more like a password and entered a virtual space full of people who cared about the same things as you.

It’s a different approach from that of most social sites today, where people usually know at least your name, where you live, where you studied, who you know and can see a photo or two of your live events.

With Banter, once you’ve created an account you can follow chats by topics of interest, including featured rooms. The real-time conversations are shown in a chat stream, with text, images and video, displayed by time of post.

The ability to chat one to one or in private ‘rooms’ in a group will naturally attract users more interested in a date than in learning more about something. But you can manage your profile to see who’s made a contact request and add and remove contacts.

And sharing your location to chat with those near you is strictly optional. 

Amanda Sachtleben is an Auckland writer and social media type, who's also Idealog's former tech editor and business journalist.

Review overview