I FINISHED #AUDIOMO this month with several lingering thoughts about social audio. In short, I think spoken content can sustain community initiatives.
You won't find more than an niche of people online who admit to subscribing to audio content as well as creating their own spoken responses to it. That's what makes the annual audiomo project more interesting for me. When I spend the time to set up a listening post as well as carve out the time to make my own contributions, I get real engagement.
It's engagement that extends beyond the month-long activity stream. In my case, I've audio subscriptions set up that extend before Leo Laporte had RSS audio feeds for his radio show. I've been listening to some of the same voices for more than 10 years now and I've two 250 GB hard drives that contain half-hour podcasts from the first semesters that I taught creative multimedia to university students. It's a genre that paved the way for broadcasters to extend their message (and their marketing reach) into the hundreds of thousands. Sponsor jingles and embedded messages crossed oceans and went into outer space, thanks to engaging audio clips.
A few special things happened to me during this month's audio activities. Because I committed to trying to make a five-minute contribution every day as well as to listen to a core group of 20 people offering their own audio, I had to give up listening to a dozen other audio subscriptions that were downloading all the time onto my iTouch. Now I feel behind in my professional listening. But a little voice inside my head suggested that because I took the time to hook up, listen and respond, I'd developed important and engaging professional contacts that should serve well into the future.
If you're a brand manager, you might be interested in hearing that because of the wind-swept sound of Christchurch Bay that I heard on Audioboo in February, my Irish family spent two weeks in Hampshire in July. I've also decided to purchase specific items and to taste new food because of what I hear from the Geek Mummy and from the Restaurant Guys.
As I type this blog post, Zemanta is suggesting content that it believes relates to audiomo and to the words I've put into draft form. I haven't read some of the "related items" that appear below but because of their appearance on the foot of my post, it means I might discover other interesting related content.
There's a certain kind of online maturity that extends from spoken words. You're less likely to encounter rude behaviour from people who wouldn't think twice about firing off an insulting tweet or making an ill-advised comment on Facebook. There's something about knowing that your voice is saying the words that causes most people to hesitate and thing twice before spouting off. I like that knowing I can expect a higher level of civility when messages come via an audio channel.
This month, several contributors suggested sharing direct messages with members of the community. I got a few every week and sent a half dozen to people too. As I've said before, there's something very intimate about sharing ideas via private audio. It's very easy with Audioboo, my preferred service. I've heard family plans unfold in short two-minute snippets and with the help of our five year old daughter, I've shared some lovely memories too.
I wanted to give my month-long Audiomo experience more structure, perhaps by following a theme, but that didn't happen. Looking back, I think I might simply embark on sharing thematic content during the months ahead. First up: emergent technology that enhances innovation at work. It's a series of reflections on Steve Jobs, innovation and the internet of things. If you're interested, check out my flow at http://audioboo.fm/topgold.