Mistakes were made

New York City meets Munich


February 26th, 2003 · No Comments · Uncategorized

It’s voice mail! It’s a blog! It’s both! Two great tastes that don’t go great together.

I’m talking about Audblog, the new “audio blogging” service available, and getting far too much attention for something which is merely a niche technology, a novelty or both.

The premise of Audblog is the ability to post up to two minutes of audio to your blog, simply by picking up a phone. You speak, and it records an MP3 file stored on the Audblog servers. When you’re done, it automatically posts an entry in your blog.

So basically you can leave a voice-mail message on your blog for your readers. As a blog reader, I don’t find this hugely exciting. I don’t even find it interesting.

If a blog author wishes to leave a more human trace on his or her blog, an MP3 with a short spoken message isn’t a horrible idea. But it’s a testament to bad usability that people don’t know an easy way to record a spoken MP3 on their own computers. The quality would be a lot better than a recording made over the phone, even using the crappy built-in microphones on most computers.

Beyond some one time greeting, audio blogging has very little use. Spoken words are less efficient than written ones. A recording cannot contain links. An MP3 can’t be indexed. Many portable Internet devices, like my Hiptop, don’t support MP3. Many proxies and firewalls ban MP3 files outright.

Putting up an audio blog post is a good way to reduce the audience of the content of that post dramatically. It also makes your visitors do a lot more work. I, for one, am a lazy blog reader, and I try to make my own blog as painless to absorb as a children’s chewable vitamin. Audblog posts are too much for me to swallow, frankly.

It is more likely for a typical blog author to craft a decent written post than to produce a decent spoken post. A written post requires the author invest a bit of time upfront to transmit his or her message. A spoken post is as demanding as leaving a voice mail.

Perhaps the next technology we’ll see is Faxblog. You call a fax number and send in your post. Faxblog will create a GIF (or PNG) file, and post a link to it on your blog automatically. Won’t that really rock the blogging world?

I didn’t think so.

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