Frequently Asked Questions
What is Swellcasting?
Swellcasting is the recording and posting of short audio clips for everyone to listen, react and reply. You can start Swellcasting by downloading the Swell mobile app. You can use your Swellcast to share ideas, tell stories, ask questions, discuss experiences, or simply talk about anything on your mind.
What is a Swell?
A Swell is a short piece of audio, up to 5 minutes max, that you record and post to your Swellcast using the Swell mobile app. Anyone can listen to it and respond with their own Swells.
How is a Swellcast different from a podcast?
You can think of a Swellcast as a shorter, easier, more accessible and more interactive version of a podcast. Unlike a podcast, which is a one-way communication medium, a Swellcast enables your listeners to engage with you by posting their own Swells in reply to yours. Anyone can start Swellcasting in just a few minutes by downloading the app.
What does it mean to have a Swell Conversation?
When someone replies to your Swell with their own Swell, it becomes a conversation. You can have multiple people engage in a growing conversation, and the audio thread plays like a podcast with multiple contributors taking turns to talk. A Swell Conversation allows your listeners to share their perspectives, answer your questions, or just have a general discussion, right there in the application with you.
Can I have more than one Swellcast?
Yes! We encourage you to create as many Swellcasts as you like about topics you’re passionate about. Simply sign into the app with your existing account, go to your Swellcast page, open the three dot menu, then select Accounts and Switch Account. Choose the + icon to create and add a new account. Each new account requires a different email address to sign in.
Once a new account is added, you can quickly switch between various accounts by going to Switch Accounts in the menu and selecting the account you’d like to use. Push notifications will come to your device for all accounts you’ve added, no matter which account you last switched to. Your notifications tab for each account will only show you the notifications relevant to that particular account.
Do I need special equipment to record a Swell?
Not at all, recording a Swell is easy! You only need to download the Swell app on your smartphone and have something interesting to say to get started.
Is Swell accessible for all, for example, for those who are blind, deaf, or have hearing loss?
We aim for Swell to be accessible for all. Features that make Swell accessible for various communities are on our roadmap. As a small startup, we’re looking forward to introducing these features as we continue to grow!
What is the difference between the Swell app and the swellcast.com website?
The Swell app provides you with the full features and capabilities of Swell, including recording your Swells, taking part in conversations, interacting with other Swell users, managing your profile and more. Swellcast.com provides a web presence for your Swellcast which you can share with anyone. They can listen to your Swellcast or you can share a particular conversation with others without them having to download the app to listen.
You can find your Swellcast link by going to your profile page and selecting the Share menu option. It will be in the form https://swellcast.com/YourUsername. You can find the swellcast.com share link for any conversation by using the Share button in the app.
Who will see and hear my Swells?
Swells can be public or private. When you record a new Swell from your home feed, your Swell will be public by default. Public Swells can be shared on the web through swellcast.com. When you record a new Message from your Messages tab, the Message will be private by default. Messages cannot be shared or accessed outside the app or on the web. This is also true for any Swells created in Groups.
Public Swells appear in the feeds of other users, in search results, and in various categories and hashtag sections. Anyone can listen to it. Messages and Swells in Groups are only seen and heard by you and whomever you invite to those particular conversations.
Only your public Swells can be shared on the web through swellcast.com. If you want to share a Message with your friends, you have to invite them to that Swell through the Invite option found in the conversation’s menu.
Can I message someone privately on Swell?
You can message one or more users on Swell privately by clicking on the Message icon found on the bottom navigation bar, selecting the + icon, then New Message to record. You then record your Message like you would record any other Swell.
Once you record the Message, you can select who you’d like to receive the Message. You can remove invited users from the conversation at any time. You can also choose not to send the Message to anyone or invite people later using the Invite option available in the menu on the top right corner. Any invited users will receive a notification of the Message and be able to view it in their Messages tab.
A Message does not show up in any Swellcast or Group. Messages cannot be shared or accessed outside the app or on the web. Swell takes the greatest possible measures to protect your privacy. If you’d like more information, contact us through the app or at swell.life.
What are Panels and how do they work?
Panels are conversations that allow you to limit who is able to contribute to your conversation and when. For example, do you want to lead a public discussion with only selected guests about a topic you're passionate about before opening it up to any comments from the public? You can do that now!
How to use this feature:
· Record a Swell
· Open the menu in the top right corner of the conversation
· Choose Speakers, then Convert to Panel
You can open your conversation to the public at any time.
How do I find Swells about topics I like?
There are a few ways to connect with the topics you love while on Swell. Once you create a Swell account, you’ll be prompted to select the categories you’re interested in. You can change these at any time in your Settings under Customize Your Interests. After you’ve customized your interests, your home feed will automatically display Swells related to your selections in addition to Swells by any users you follow.
You can also search for Swells based on keywords, hashtags, and categories by selecting the search icon in the bottom navigation bar. To see the latest Swells in the app, all you have to do is go to search then select Latest. The Latest feed shows you all Swells that have been created in chronological order.
What is a Swellcast widget?
The Swellcast widget is a cool way for you to promote your Swellcast on your website. Just like other social media widgets, it is a small piece of code that you add to your website, and it will render your Swellcast and show your recent Swells in it. Visitors to your website can listen to those Swells, and they can click on the widget to download the app and participate in Swell Conversations with you.
Can I Pin a Swell to my Swellcast?
You sure can. To pin a Swell, first go to the Swell you’d like to feature on your Swellcast. Long press on the Swell to open the menu, then select Pin. You can pin up to 3 Swells. The most recently pinned Swells will appear first on your Swellcast. If you pin a fourth Swell, the first Swell you pinned will automatically be unpinned. To Unpin a Swell, just open the menu for any pinned Swell, then select Unpin. When you pin a Swell, other users will see it first on your page’s feed whether they visit your Swellcast in the app or on the web at swellcast.com/YourUsername.
What are Groups?
Groups are Swellcasts available to Members only by invitation. You can use Groups to create a private space to have voice conversations with people you invite to the Group. You can start your own Group for your friends, family, colleagues or more. All conversations in a Group are private and only the members of the Group can see, hear, and respond to them. You choose who to invite to your Group and you can remove members at any time.
How do I create a Group?
Creating your private Group on Swell is easy. Simply create a new Group using the New Group button available within the Groups icon on the bottom navigation bar. Add a description for your Group and an optional Group image. Invite the people you want to join your Group. If they’re not already on Swell, they will be sent a link to download the app and join.
Can I have multiple admins for my Group?
Yes, absolutely. You can designate other users as Admins. Admins can invite more Members and they can also help moderate the Group by deleting and removing any content you don't want in the Group. The Group settings can be found in the triple dot menu in the header of the Group's page.
How do I add a Co-Host to my Swellcast?
To add a Co-Host to your Swellcast, go to your profile menu, then select Manage Co-Hosts. Use the + icon to add the Swell user you’d like to have Co-Host privileges for your Swellcast.
What can a Co-Host do and not do?
A Co-Host has most of the privileges of a Swellcast owner. They can post new Swells to the Swellcast they cohost and manage the posts of other Co-Hosts in the Swellcast.
Co-Hosts cannot change the image or description of the Swellcast. Only the Swellcast owner can do that. Co-Hosts also cannot add or remove other Co-Hosts or pin Swells to the Swellcast.
What’s an Open Swellcast?
Open Swellcasts make all Swell users Co-Hosts of a Swellcast. With an Open Swellcast, anyone can post a Swell to the Swellcast by visiting the Swellcast’s page and tapping the microphone icon to record.
How might I use an Open Swellcast?
Open Swellcasts are a great way to invite other users to talk about topics you’re passionate about. For example, you could create an Open Swellcast about the 49ers where you and any other user can post and talk about 49ers games and news. Maybe you have a business you’d like to post about, but you’d also like to receive reviews and Swells from current and potential customers. Create an Open Swellcast for your business to keep the conversation with your customers open. The possibilities are endless.
How do I post to an Open Swellcast?
Go to the Open Swellcast’s profile page. Press the + icon. A menu will appear. Select New Post in the Open Swellcast you’d like to post in. You may also send a Message to the Swellcast owner from here or choose to post to the Swellcast you’re currently signed into.
Want to try posting to an Open Swellcast? Go to the @pics Open Swellcast in the Swell app. Once there, press the + icon, then select New Post in @pics. Record a Swell about a photo you’d like to share with us. Be sure to add the photo after you record. Your Swell will appear in the @pics Open Swellcast! We can’t wait to see it.
How do I make my Swellcast an Open Swellcast?
If you’d like to make your Swellcast an Open Swellcast, all you have to do is go to your Swellcast profile menu, then select Manage Co-Hosts. Select Open (allow everyone). Now any Swell user will be able to post to your Swellcast.
For Open Swellcasts, users have privileges on the Swells they post, but they cannot change any other user’s Swells posted in the Open Swellcast.
Can I delete my Open Swellcast?
If you’d like to delete your Open Swellcast, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If your Open Swellcast contains Swells from users other than yourself, we will delete all of your Swells but keep the Open Swellcast to maintain the Swells of the other users.
What does it mean to follow someone on Swell?
Following someone on Swell means that you are subscribing to their Swellcast as a follower and their recent Swells will appear in your feeds whenever you return to the Swell app.
How do I search for a conversation or user on Swell?
Tap on the search icon in the bottom navigation bar of the Swell app to key in a username or topic into the search box. The results will fetch a list of both conversations and usernames that match your search request.
How do I share a Swell?
Share any public Swell while in the feed by selecting the Share icon in the feed. You may also share a Swell by opening the conversation menu found at the top right corner of your screen or by selecting the Share button below the Swell. You may long press on any Swell to open a menu then select Share as well. This action shares a web version of your Swell that others can view even if they don’t have the app on their phone.
Can I share my Swellcast with others not on Swell yet?
Swellcasting is all about speaking and listening to the world. With that in mind, every Swell user is assigned a unique web link for their Swellcast to share their public Swells with anyone on the web. Find your Swellcast on the web and share it at swellcast.com/YourUsername.
Is there a limit to how many people I can share a Swell with and seek responses from?
There are no restrictions on the number of people you may want to engage through your Swell.
What’s a Reply Swell?
A Reply Swell is a Swell you post in response to another user’s Swell that began the Swell Conversation. You can Reply by selecting the Reply arrow for any Swell within the feed or by using the Reply button once you open the Swell Conversation.
What’s a Re-Swell?
A Re-Swell is another user’s Swell that you repost to your Swellcast.
Can you reply to another reply in a Swell Conversation?
If you want to reply to a specific reply from another user in a Swell Conversation, you have several options. Long press on the Reply Swell you’d like to reply to. Record your response and post. The user you’re replying to will automatically be tagged in the description of your reply. If you’d like to add additional text to the Reply Swell’s description, press pause when you’re done recording then Next to add.
Additionally, you may choose to select the Reply button in the Swell Conversation and tag the user you’re replying to by using their @username in the description text of the reply. You may also Re-Swell the particular reply you want to reply to by long pressing on the Reply Swell then choosing Re-Swell. This will post a new Swell Conversation in your Swellcast with a link to the Reply Swell to which you’re responding. To invite the user you’re replying to, tag them by using their @username in your new Swell’s description or invite them to the conversation by choosing Invite in the conversation’s menu.
How do I report a Swell?
Reach out to us through the Contact Us option available in the app settings or through our Contact Us option available on our website. You can also use the Report option in the menu that appears when you long press on a particular Swell to report objectionable content.
Are Swells monitored or moderated?
The Swell app brings together a variety of people with different voices, ideas, and perspectives. Users are allowed to post any content as long as they’re not violating our Community Guidelines and Rules. Please note that Swell does not screen or moderate content or remove potentially offensive content unless it is reported. Users are expected to self-moderate their conversations. The user who begins the conversation has the right as a moderator to delete any Reply Swells from the conversation.
Also, as a policy, Swell does not mediate or intervene in disputes between users. However, targeted abuse or harassment constitutes a violation of Swell's Rules and Terms of Service. If you feel you are a victim of targeted abuse or harassment on the app, reach out to us through the Contact Us option available in your settings or on our website.
How do you moderate content and stop the spread of disinformation on Swell?
We leave it to the listener to determine the veracity of firsthand accounts based on the credibility of the speaker and the credibility they have established within the Swell community. We’ve made it a culture on Swell to encourage people to link to the sources they’re quoting from in the description of their Swell or reply, so others can verify their sources. The owner of any conversation can delete a reply from their conversation for any reason. Perhaps the reply is irrelevant to the conversation, is misinformation, or is inaudible or unintelligible.
Listeners can also report Swells and Reply Swells to be reviewed by our moderation team. When a Swell is flagged for us to review for misinformation, we look for the reference link for that Swell. If there is no reference or credible journalistic source of reference to validate the information being spoken and we’re unable to find one of our own either, then we may remove the Swell. We value credible journalistic sources at Swell and use online media bias fact check sites to ensure the reliability of a news source. If the source is not considered reliable, then we will err on the side of caution and remove any Swell that may spread misinformation.
How do I Block/Unblock a user on Swell?
Select your Swellcast menu, then select Settings. Once in Settings, choose Block/Unblock users. From there, select the + icon, then choose the user you’d like to add to your Block list. To Unblock a user, go to your Block list and select the minus icon next to the user you wish to Unblock. Confirm the Unblock. You will again be able to receive Swells from the user.
What does blocking a user do?
Blocking a user on Swell means the following:
· The blocked user cannot send you a Private Swell
· The blocked user cannot reply or react to any of your Swells
· The blocked user cannot get any notifications from you or to you
How do I reach out if I have a problem or a question?
Reach out to us through the Contact Us option available in your settings or on our website.
How do I post a Swell to my Swellcast?
Open the app then tap on the microphone and start speaking. Once finished, click on the Post button to submit your Swell. You can playback your Swell for review, add a title, a description including hashtags, usernames, and links or photos associated with your Swell before posting.
Can I upload audio recorded outside of the Swell app to my Swellcast?
Currently, we do not support the upload of any externally recorded audio to your Swellcast.
How do I add a photo to my Swell?
When you finish recording a Swell, select Next then Add Image. You may use your phone’s camera to take a photo or select an image from your photo gallery.
Can I edit my Swell?
Yes, you can edit your Swell while recording it. Use the record button to pause your recording before adding more or to record over a piece of previously recorded audio. Once you post your Swell, you cannot edit the audio any further, but you can still edit the title, description, photo, and category. Just long press on your Swell or click on the menu option at the top right corner of your screen and choose Edit.
How do I add a reference link to my Swell?
As you fill in the description, you can also enter any reference link you might want to include.
How can I add or edit the description to my Reply Swell?
Press and hold on your Swell for the Edit option to appear.
How do I delete a Swell?
To delete a Swell from your Swellcast, select the conversation menu in the top right corner and choose Delete. To delete a Reply Swell from a conversation, long press on your Swell for the delete option to appear.
Can I retrieve a deleted Swell?
No. Deleted Swells cannot be retrieved.
What do I do if I accidentally posted a Swell in the wrong conversation?
If you wish to remove your Swell from a conversation, press and hold on it for the delete option to appear.
What happens if I cannot complete my Swell within five minutes?
If you’re starting a conversation, you will need to be mindful of the time limit and complete your Swell within five minutes. If you need more time, just add more Swells by replying to your first Swell.
What happens if I receive a phone call when I am in the process of recording a Swell?
Don't worry. Your recording will be paused while you take your call and you can continue from where you left off.
Can I change the playback speed of Swells?
You can! Next to the play button, simply select if you’d like to listen to Swells at 1.0x, 1.25x, 1.5x, 1.75x or 2.0x playback speed. Swells are played at 1.0x playback speed by default.
Can I change my username?
Yes. You can change your username at any point in your user profile settings. Go to your Swellcast then open your profile menu found at the top right corner of your screen. Select Account. Usernames are subject to availability.
Can I turn off or change how many notifications I receive?
You can customize how many notifications you would like to receive. Open your profile menu then select Settings. Notification Preferences shows you more about each of your options. If you’d like to turn off all notifications from the Swell app, go to your phone’s notification settings.
Can I turn off the audio emojis?
Turn off the audio emojis by opening your Swellcast’s three-dot menu then select Settings. From there you can choose to turn off audio emojis.
How can I add a voice introduction to my profile?
You can add a voice intro to your profile photo by tapping on your profile photo then selecting the microphone. You can listen to your intro or any other user’s intro by long pressing on any profile photo in the feed or in any conversation. If the profile intro doesn’t begin to play, it’s because the user has not yet created an audio intro.
Why am I not receiving all push notifications?
Sometimes on iPhone you may miss a few notifications from Swell. This is due to the behavior of how push notifications are handled on iOS. See this link for details: https://developer.apple.com/library/archive/technotes/tn2265/_index.html
I use a VPN or Anonymizer on my phone. Will I be able to use the Swell app?
At Swell we value the privacy and safety of our users. For the safety of our community, we currently do not allow users who are utilizing VPN or Anonymizer technologies to hide themselves to access the Swell app. We understand this may be disappointing for some users, so we’re exploring possible solutions for the future. In the meantime, we thank you for your patience and understanding.
How do you stop bots?
We use re-captcha V3 from Google to validate you are not a bot. If you get an error indicating that we are unable to send you an email, it’s because Google thinks you may be a bot. What we have observed works well in this scenario is to open your default browser and login to a standard Google account or clear your cookies. We hope this helps!