Free service ShoutOMatic's tagline is "Stop Typing. Start Shouting." The very idea gives me a headache. Luckily, the shouting part of this cloud-based service, which lets you post audible updates to your Twitter and Facebook pages, is optional. You're free to speak your updates in a normal tone of voice, too. While that saves ShoutOMatic from being deeply annoying, it doesn't make this offbeat service particularly useful for most people.
Once you sign up and link either your Twitter or Facebook account (or both), you can record your audible updates, either by using a microphone connected to your PC, or by calling a designated number from your mobile phone. Updates are limited to 30 seconds, which actually gives you quite a bit of time to speak your mind.
Once you record a shout, you can play it back and then decide where to post it: to Twitter, your own Facebook page, or to a friend's Facebook page. You can edit the text that appears with the Shout. Shouts posted to Twitter are accessed via a shortened URL that links to a page on ShoutOMatic.com where your followers can listen to it. Shouts posted to Facebook can be played back from within the site itself. Neither requires your listeners to have special software.
In my test shouts with ShoutOMatic, audio quality was only so-so. Even when recording shouts with a headset, the sound was hollow. And shouts that I called in from my cell phone sounded crackly.
ShoutOMatic is highlighting celebrities who have recorded shouts, and I could see wanting to listen to brief messages from some celebrities. Unfortunately for me, though, ShoutOMatic's roster is filled with names like Andy Dick and Nascar's Jeff Gordon, neither of whom floats my boat. ShoutOMatic also lets you add an MP3 file after your recorded shout, and the company is touting this as a way for artists to introduce a new song.
That's one of the few practical applications of this service. Beyond that, ShoutOMatic is all about entertainment, and will appeal to Facebook and Twitter users looking to speak their mind.