Last week I read an article on Digg about audio on the Internet that really has me thinking. The article, which is well worth reading, examines the reasons why audio is less apt to be shared than video online. Why is audio less viral?
This is a great question, and answers abound. Video has YouTube, and YouTube has video, making sharing so easy, for starters. Cameras are everywhere. People like to share and look at pictures, still or moving. It’s more fun to look than listen.
But wait, is that true? Not necessarily. I think it’s easier to look than it is to listen. And it’s also easier to make something entertaining when there is a visual element. Audio has to work harder to be good. But when it is, it’s almost better.
Have you heard the audio interview “The Worst Haircut Ever”? It’s an interview that father/journalist Jeff Cohen did with his two daughters, ages 3 and 5, after the older one cut the younger one’s hair. It’s a great illustration of how audio can be as engaging (or more) than video. I listened to it, chuckled, and then played it for my daughter, who loved it too. After, she said: “I wish I could see what her hair looked like!”
I think that’s just it – audio works so well for this bit, and the bit works so well on audio because we can only imagine what the haircut looked like. We’re more engaged because we can’t actually see it.
I’m making it a mission for 2014 to share audio in my social networks, and I invite you to do the same (#audio). Platforms like Soundcloud make it easy to upload and share audio. What are the elements that make great audio that people will want to share online? How can we make sharing of audio mainstream?