- Spark on CBC Radio
Possibly a little biased given the source, but I agree! The idea of Audio as an underused but vastly promising facet of our media-lives has been crystallizing in me over my adult life.
Spark’s comparison of audio to the internet’s designed-text format basically boiled down to:
Audio is Linear and Immersive.
Therein lies its advantage and its disadvantage. It might be too strong to say that one *can’t* skim audio content… but for some reason, we usually don’t. For me it’s listen right through, or shut it off. Text can be incredibly immersive of course (like reading a novel) but, when online, skimming through text is the modus operandi.
I think it’s even more relevant to compare audio to Images, possibly including short words or phrases (and maybe gifs?) That’s where the competition is. When competing for my attention, Images seem to have a natural advantage over words and meanings.
Here’s where I think the advantages of Audio can really be seen. For me it’s a middle choice between image and text that keeps the best qualities of either. Though not skimmable, audio content can clearly keep all the meaning and subtlety of any piece of text (by recording the words read out loud, duh!)
And, while audio isn’t quite as arresting as a well designed image, it does compete on the same field. Audio - even purely spoken word audio - can have all the charm and intimacy of whoever is speaking. Certain tricks are also available… a little thing called music! (though here, I mean to talk about music just as garnish for a more ‘verbal’ audio piece).
So, basically I think audio has the full depth-potential of text, but also some of the humanity and charisma one might associate with images.