Sat in my shed, headphones on. My attention flitting between writing and podcasts. I can’t do both. I find it hard enough to write as it is. Listening to podcasts or even songs with lyrics while writing triggers a tipping point where I can’t do either.
I considered starting a mailing list this week. Just text. This blog post may have been the first one. Not for any other reason other than to share slithers of thoughts and offline diaries. I like the idea of a space somewhere between a pub conversation and the wider web. But the mailing lists I have seen appear to be a kind of backstage pass to bigger productions. Books, films, collaborative projects. I’ve had neither until recently. My aspirations of writing a book still sit somewhere in buried folders or spread across the pages of my diary.
I find it hard to envision a large chunk of words interesting enough to keep someones attention for longer than five minutes. This post already feels too long. With so many people posting in the hope to connect, share, inspire, sell, convert… I take a little comfort in not worrying too much about who, if anyone is reading. The analytics broke on my site recently and I didn’t notice for days. I only noticed because the back end looked a little different.
So, if I’m excited or in need of a cathartic outpouring of soul I’m still bound to post something somewhere. Maybe not a mailing list just yet.
One thing occupying the more excited regions of my brain right now is the beginning of a collaborative audio project. Myself and Mike Sizemore are just at the preliminary drinking phase at the moment. Fleshing out a formula over whisky or beer. Whichever best lubricates particular ideas. It may be that nothing surfaces for a long while yet. Still, the ideas from late night pondering seep into the periphery. The path to who knows where is littered with rewards.
One realisation I’ve had through these interactions is that I’m not reading anywhere near as much as I’d like to. But I am listening. And we could all do with listening more.
This is one of the reasons audio continues to excite me. From editing cassette based ‘comedy’ shows the mid 80’s, to the dumping of audio ditties into the ether via a mobile app. Today I’m thinking less about form, format and audio quality and more about capturing and discovery. Besides, I think quality exists more in the emotional connection.
I’m listening and recording more, but for some reason sharing less. I did start a new channel though. I still have my Audioboo(m) feed. But after their recent focus on sport and the tinkering with their mobile app, I realised I had all my eggs in one basket. I needed a backup.
So I started uploading to Soundcloud. I’m and enjoying a new playground. I also have a guy working on some code so I can upload/backup my posts from Audioboo(m). A sudden burst of 1700 audio files may hurt the feed catchers of my subscribers, but I need to consolidate, while still having a choice where to post.
I hope there is still a way of connecting with the podcasters on AudioBoo(m). Maybe they will begin to play in both spaces. But as it stands, it feels like Audioboo(m) has barred my community, the heart and soul of the party I was a part of. A tribe of the audibly aware. These platforms fail to feel social because those at the helm favour the old mass media models. The broadcast approach was never conducive to the ways we like to collaborate and gather now. That’s why they seem desperate, unimaginative and broke.
I could go on. If anything I’m thankful for the wakeup call. I still think self hosting is the future. Taking charge of our content and the networked conversations that surround it. Not having advertisers try to convince us to spend money we don’t have on shit we don’t need. That never sits well next to or inside a heartfelt story. The meaning diluted, the sentiment polluted. There are other more imaginative ways of getting paid.
With regards to Audio/Visual documenting I’m geared up to the max now. I still think there is scope for static visuals alongside audio. Audio is more than just a component of video. Not just because it is more lightweight and less time consuming than hi-def video. But because there is still so much to explore in this format.
It’s easy to make time for audio and I’m optimistic that it will become simpler to share. That systems will auto transcribe for the hard of hearing. That there will be more ‘YouTube for audio’ type platforms.
Podcasts I am currently listening to:
Documentary on One | Geo Geller | About a Minute | Distraction Pieces | Serial | 99% Invisible | This America Life | Alan Watts | Tech Weekly | Word of Mouth | The Digital Human | Richard Rudin | RadioLab | The Moth | Science on TripleJ | Snap Judgement | Start Up |
There’s bunch more I listen to. Some have not updated in a while and I wait. Some post all the time and I struggle to keep up. I wish there was an easier way I could let them know I stopped by. The audio landscape is ripe for this kind of innovation. But not by the short sighted start-ups looking for a quick exit. On the whole they don’t see the audio blogging community as an asset, let alone something culturally relevant. Many are sharing stories they want seeded forever. Yet no one really knows what this space will look like five years from now. We’re long overdue a revolution in audio.
I hope I’ll always make time for my daily delving into long and short form audio. Documentaries and conversations I host in my mind. I enjoy filling in the blanks in the story. Making it my own. People are more vulnerable in audio. And as well as stories, audio is a favourite medium for exploring information and ideas. Just as radio astronomy takes us deeper into the celestially unknown, the passionate listener can travel deeper into ideas.
Fast forward the audio revolution.
Feel free to feedback below, on twitter or wherever we are connected. Would love to know your thoughts on this. Even if it’s just a podcast recommendation.
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