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New social network Zaptones continues to grow

More than 2,000 photo and audio posts made since last week's launch

  • Zaptones, which launched in late September, already has more than 2,000 audio and photo posts.
Zaptones, which launched in late September, already has more than 2,000… (Ryan Salvino )
October 03, 2013|By Courtney Griffin | RedEye

Ryan Salvino and Brian Padove met on opposite sides of a baseball diamond. As athletes at Nazareth Academy and Marian Catholic, respectively, the two only knew each other as competitors. They soon moved on to Butler University, where they were both recruited as baseball players, and became teammates. Teammates turned into roommates, and roommates soon became co-workers and co-founders of one of the youngest social networks on the web, Zaptones.

But don’t let this familiar story of college-buddies-turned-social-network-superstars fool you: Zaptones is no Facebook. Because, according to Salvino, Zaptones offers something Facebook can’t: honest communication.

“People don’t always like to say what they want to say,” said Salvino, whose social network allows users to post audio snippets—be it from songs, movies or television—along with photos and quotes. “By using song lyrics, or other types of media, Zaptones helps people to speak more honestly when communicating with one another. It’s a very unique place.”

The posts can be made as personal updates, or can be sent directly to a group or individual. Users gain access to audio clips from music, film and television through Zaptones’ extensive audio library, a collection that is updated on a daily basis.

“If a friend is feeling down, a music quote speaks volumes,” said Padove, co-founder and president of Zaptones.

The two Chicago-area natives, both 23, are part of a small army of 10 young co-owners and executive partners launching what they hope to be the next big social network. And they have a lot to be hopeful about--since the site’s most recent launch last week, Zaptones has had more than 2,000 unique visitors.

“Most of the people that I’ve heard from have said they’ve been on there for 2 to 3 hours at a time,” Salvino said. “We’re definitely still in our infancy, but people are interested.”

The group of 10 is using its reach to spread the word about Zaptones beyond their Chicago headquarters. Most of the Zaptones team is comprised of undergraduate students at universities around the country who keep in touch through weekly Google+ hangouts.

“They are scattered throughout Dayton, Iowa, St. Louis—all over the country,” said Padove, who is a second-year law student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Salvino, the CEO of Zaptones, is the only co-founder who is not currently enrolled in school, despite his plans to go to medical school last year.

“I had wanted to be a doctor ever since I knew what a doctor was,” said Salvino, who abandoned his med school plans to focus on Zaptones 20 days before classes began. “I just kept thinking, what am I doing here when I want to be doing something else?”

The company is looking forward to the launch of its mobile app, due to come out this winter. The social network app includes a messaging system and advanced feature for selecting music and media.

“It’s crazy,” Padove said. “I never thought I’d be getting into the music business.”

For information, visit www.zaptones.com.

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