Why sound is sexy
The spoken word is back. Not that it has ever gone away, of course. The common thread throughout our history as a species, regardless of location or technological development, is the power of the human voice and a tale well-told. Today, we are witnessing a revival and democratisation in broadcasting, via digital channels and the podcast, such as we have never before seen. So, listen up because sound is sexy!
The recent success of killer podcasts such as Serial, This American Life, and The Moth speaks volumes about how we have undertaken a quantum leap in accessing information and entertainment (And how these two entities have further become one). We learn most when we are having fun and being entertained. We also respond to oral narrative in an extremely active way, cognitively. When we are listening to a compelling narrative, our brains' visualisation and imagination centres are uniquely stimulated in ways which reveal that our natural response to strong stories is to become part of them.
It's not only purely narrative-driven podcasts which represent the vanguard of the spoken word's resurgence in the digital age. There is a vast and diverse range of educational and informative podcasts vying for precious ear-time out there in the cybersphere. Review sites such as Digital Trends can help you navigate towards the cream but, as in all ages, it's a question of separating the wheat from the chaff. Quality is definitive.
People enjoy audio because it allows them to be entertained and informed while they are engaged in other activities. That's why sound is sexy. It fits into the listeners' lives almost seamlessly, conveying the golden thread of oral content in the gaps left around and behind whatever else they are doing. Video can't do that and neither can text. In an increasingly hectic world, audio is king.
Strong narrative, captured in digital audio, can access the consciousness of listeners as no other medium can. Identifying that narrative and crafting the audio which tells that story is a brave new world for educators, influencers, entertainers and marketers alike. What is more, unlike the old broadcast media, there's no need for narratives to target the lowest common denominator of popular appeal. In the digital age, the audience and the podcaster participate in a consensual and mutual process of discovery. Here, the best content is honed by the needs of the audience. As I said, sound is sexy. Are you making the most of it?