Today, indicating that you have a Facebook and Twitter profile by placing their respective icons on your website footer or header has become the norm. In fact, if you’re not sending out 140-250 character updates by the hour, visitors will most likely suspect that you’ve gone out of business.
Text and image-based social networks have become an integral part of our daily routines, though not without few a few downsides for marketers, businesses, and the platforms themselves – bugging and inundating your friends with content, notifications, and updates is now generally frowned upon (headlines of the sort “The End of My Twitter Account is Here” and “The Facebook Experiments has failed. Let’s go back” area a case in point).
But for bloggers, authors, and individuals who must frequently churn out content, these shifts present a unique opportunity to build or grow an audience and carve out a niche for one’s product or service with the help of alternative and complementary platforms and content formats.
And the slow but stead rise of audio or voice blogging is the one development we should all be paying close attention to.
As its name suggest, audioblogging is blogging that’s done with the help of audio and one’s voice instead of the written word and although previous attempts to popularize voiceblogging have failed (Audioblogger, launched in 2003 and was among the pioneers of the format, followed by Utterz in 2007 and other services such as Gabcast, Hipcast, Gcast, and Jott that offered similar capabilities), a number of new players have recently entered the market.
While text-based blogging requires the writer to research, write, and edit a piece or even a Tweet, audioblogging does not, resulting in a quicker, easier form of communication. There are other benefits as well, as you’ll later see. Let’s now find out what several upstarts in the space have to offer and see whether one of them has the potential to become the next online “behemoth.”
Bubbly by Bubble Motion, a voice-blogging service that’s been called the Twitter and Instagram for voice blogging, allows its users to record, filter, style, share, and auto-post to other social networks voice clips as well as discover and follow other users’ ‘bubbles’. Especially popular in India, Japan, and Indonesia where the majority of its 19 million users are from, the app has rather recently debuted its Android and iOS apps on the English-speaking market.
The startup says that it the the service works seamlessly across a plethora of phones and smartphones and that it already has over one thousand celebrities from Asia and the UK on the platform, with more continuing to join in.
Although even more use cases are likely to emerge in the future, hands-free blogging in locations where writing isn’t feasible (e.g. in the car) and showcasing one’s musical talent – as many Bubbly users have done – are two of the more obvious ones.
Founded in 2012, Talkbits is a mobile location-based “social-discovery app” that lets its users live stream sound-bites, listen and respond to others “messages”, direct-message friends, and join or start discussions or “streams”.
With over $2 million in funding, the startup has been featured in several prominent publications. And as its CEO comments, some if its more interesting use cases include those tied to a specific location or event – for example, students communicating about the happenings on campus and drivers conversing about road conditions.
Audioboo describes itself as a “next-generation podcasting network.” Using the service, you can record audio clips – so-called “Boos” – and share them instantaneously or uploaded them later on the platform’s own websites and on other popular platforms. The audio snippets can also be embedded onto third-party websites and blogs, allowing users to complement their text posts.
Users can choose from three plans, one free and two paid, and can potentially use the application for a variety of jobs, from interviews to “full-on radio shows.” Also, in a Twitter-like fashion, subscribers can follow other “boo-ers” on the platform.
Although not strictly speaking an audioblogging service, Croice lets anyone create and schedule broadcasts and interact with listeners while on air. Also, we Croice provides a widget that can be embedded on any outside website, an equally important feature for the listeners and broadcastesr.
Concluding Thoughts: To Audioblog or To Not Audioblog?
Audioblogging has by no means become mainstream, but others audio formats are growing steadily – the use of podcats, online radio, and online live brodacasting are gaining pace among both creators and users. The growing popularity of smartphones is another factor to consider. Althought it has a long way to go, audioblogging in its current form already offers anyone the ability to record one’s thoughts and get them out to one’s followers and fans in a simple and fun way. The ability to share short and spontaneous snippets of content without the need to open up a laptop and the opportunity to connect with listeners on a more personal level may be voicebloggging’s differentiating force.
Nevertheless, several questions remain unanswered, such as what would be the optimal length of audio blogs (traditional blog-length vs. “one tweet” length) and what would the optimal technology and user experience look like for the creator and the consumer. Twitter itself pivoted twice from blogging to audio blogging to microblogging.
Ultimately, the decision on whether to start audioblogging rests on the content producer’s own shoulders.