By Adam B. Vary
September 19, 2012 at 11:03 AM EDT
John W. Ferguson/

One of the more delightful parts of social media has been watching famous people fight, or flirt, in public view. From the recent “four way” “fight” between Octavia Spencer, Retta, and Yvette Nicole Brown over Joe Manganiello, to the “dancing pig” spat of 2011 between Kirstie Alley and George Lopez, seeing bold-faced names go at it in real time over cyberspace has proven to be a fizzy new spectator sport for the 21st century.

But what if you could hear the fight as well as read it?

That’s the promise of Just Sayin’, a new, free, voice-based social media app that officially launches today. Backed by comedian Ricky Gervais — who’s a partner in the venture as well as its creative director — the app allows users to share voice- and video-based messages with their followers via their iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, much like they would post a photo to Instagram. And like Instagram, those audio and video messages can also be shared via Twitter or Facebook. Click here for an example via yours truly. (An Android version will be released by the end of the year.)

The real pull of Just Sayin’, though, is the possibility of entering into a “conversation” with another user that other followers can also listen in on. So instead of reading Patton Oswalt and Adam Baldwin argue over politics, or Nathan Fillion respond to his followers, you could possibly hear their exchanges instead — and all the nuances, inflections, sarcasm, and silly voices that entails.

“It has the chance to be something really positive,” Gervais tells EW via email. “Bringing our voice, and what that means, that kind of standing up and being ‘on stage’ to the world — it makes us all draw from deeper personal reserves, and put ourselves out there — I think that’s only a good thing.”

Gervais joined Just Sayin’ founder David Hayden on developing the app and testing it as a public beta after the two met earlier this year. “I’ve had a hand in seeing the development of this new idea of public conversations, and importantly, experimenting with what kinds of conversations work and which don’t,” says Gervais. “I’ve always been fascinated with what fascinates people. I’m quite good at taking in the common consciousness and reflecting it back, I think. … This is just another forum. Another playground. Creativity is all about playing.”

All that time testing the app, however, has led Gervais to a surprising revelation. “I hate my voice,” he says. “In my head, I sound so much more erudite and articulate.”

And what will be Gervais’ next step on his journey to become the next Ashton Kutcher? “I’ve asked Bruce Willis to adopt me.”

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