There’s a “rising star” that could unseat video as the king of content. While most social platforms have focused on the visuals, audio is making a play for our media consumption time. The Activate Tech & Media Outlook 2018 predicts that podcasting will almost double to 112 million people and 15 billion hours of content by 2021. It’s not just that folks like the sound of their own voice (though that is true in some cases, of course); rather, as the American Time Use Survey shows, people are reading less and listening more.
Audio is a passive way to interact with content – not requiring you to crane your neck or squint to watch a video on your phone. News outlets like BBC have found success with audio-only formats, despite the supposed “inherent contradiction” with sharable formats. Our client Samuels & Associates created a Spotify playlist to pair with the relaunch of their website, TheFenway.com, cataloguing songs to give you the trendy Fenway feel and capitalize on some notable performances that have happened neighborhood.
Social networking sites are realizing this and incorporating more audio into their platform designs. Instagram recently partnered with Spotify to allow users to embed songs into their Instagram Stories or DMs, and Facebook will add the feature soon, as well. Facebook Stories is taking sound embeds one step further, allowing users “to record an audio clip and simply add a colored background (and maybe some emoji)” – you know, for those not-feeling-so-cute moments where you just can’t wait to voice your opinion.
Our vocal interactions with technology have shifted over the past decade. Instead of using technology to transmit our voice to another human, more and more we’re talking directly to our devices. We use speech-to-text functions to dictate emails and messages. We ask Alexa or Siri or Google questions to search or give them commands to eliminate human actions. Our TVs, watches, and light switches are all now listening to us, waiting for us to engage them in our lives. And now, Facebook Is Patenting Technology to Spy on You Through Your Smartphone Camera and Microphone … because apparently they haven’t been doing that already.
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by Jayda Leder-Luis, Account Director