How Voice Tagging Could Change the Media Landscape

It’s clear that video sites such as YouTube and Vimeo have had a huge impact on the news industry. The Pew Internet & Americal Life Project just reported that 71 percent of Americans use video-sharing sites and it’s nearly impossible to find a news organization that doesn’t include video on its website.

But video is so 2010. I recently came across, a site still in beta, that lets you tag and share a 30-second audio clip. It was pretty neat. Within minutes of using the site, and without needing any new software or know-how, I recorded a clip wishing my little brother a happy birthday and posted it on Facebook.

After playing around on the site, I started thinking about the untapped potential of voice tagging.

Make content even more interactive
With voice tagging, you can vocally respond to a story or blog post you see online. Don’t just write a comment on the New York Times website — literally say it with a voice tag. Interact with stories, tweets, and more on a whole new level.

If you frequently lurk on a news site, imagine how much more connected you would feel with other commenters if you could hear their voice. You could have a real, albeit very short, debate. Or mabye you don’t feel confident in your writing skills but can orate like no other. Here is yet one more outlet to engage with online content.

(This does, of course, open up another can of worms — does voice tagging “out” or put an end to anonymous commenting?)

A humanizing affect
We all know social media is about connecting but sometimes it feels, well, sterile. We have avatars and handles, but you still don’t really know someone you meet online. Voice tagging adds that human element. They allow you to hear texture, tone and emotion. While a video also does that, the right, short audio snippet can be so much more powerful and evocative than a two minute video.

NPR’s Andy Carvin collected and shared a lot of the tweets about the events and uprisings going on in the Middle East this spring. People a world away had a firsthand account of what was occurring. Just think if the rioters in Egypt had used short voice tags. A short soundtrack for the movements would have been created, adding even more depth to the stories.

In June, there was a flurry of tweets when Saudi Arabia women drove cars to protest a ban on women driving. Personally, I can only imagine what it would have been like to hear the first 30 seconds of one of these women driving.The clips would have been inspiring — hearing the excitement, the fear, the squeal of tires. For someone who has always lived in a country where being able to drive as a woman is taken for granted, it would have been quite moving.

Simpler than making a video
With a tool like blurts, you can easily record your comment, rant, story, etc. and embed the link. Better yet, you can do it in any language. So anyone with an internet connection could use this system of sharing information. There is no learning curve or training needed.

What do you think? Are there other voice tagging sites you can recommend?