Shaquille O’Neal Passes the Ball to Tout, a San Francisco Startup

Everyone knows Shaquille O’Neal is the proud owner of very many special things, enviable height, brawn, wit, and hooping talents among them. But did you know he’s also credited with owning the very first verified celebrity Twitter account? He is.

And on Wednesday, in one more show of his social media dominance, Shaq publicly announced his retirement by way of a 15-second video clip made on Tout, a new app. It’s used for sharing short videos that present “‘Life as it Happens’ instead of ‘Life as it’s Written’ in 140 characters of text,” to go by the San Francisco startup’s warring words of marketing — rather baldly aimed at Twitter.

Unsurprisingly, the Shaq announcement was a huge coup for Tout; only 30 minutes had gone by since O’Neal first tweeting of the Tout link when it received 35,000 clicks. The awesome baller has already acquired some equity in the company and presides as an advisor.

Tout works with the iPhone and the iPad and its videos, postable to Twitter and Facebook accounts, can also be sent by Snail Mail 2.0, email. Plainly seeing itself as Twitter’s direct competitor, Tout calls its service “Video Status Updates” and provides features like finding and following other users on its site,

For the curious, the Big Shamrock did let the San Fran folks know he’d be making an important announcement through their service. Seems everyone’s been duly rewarded.

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