Saturday, April 2, 2011

DEBUT OF BROADCASTR -- THE NEW YOUTUBE OF AUDIO STORIES?


The new social media site Broadcastr launched last month in beta (above is a short video about the launch made by @telterman). Users can record, upload, share, and listen to "location-based" stories. The "stories" can be anecdotes, oral histories, fictions, or other kinds of recordings like restaurant reviews. You want to tell a story about, say, a date or a car accident or a bank robbery you were involved in, that took place at, oh, the corner of 16th and Market Streets? You can record that story directly to the website, or upload an mp3 you've recorded previously, and then "pin" that story to a Google map. Then other Broadcastr users can listen to your story either on their home computer (searching by theme, user, or location), or via the company's smart-phone app. As the Broadcastr website puts it, "Users can take a GPS-enabled walk as stories about their surroundings stream into their headphones, like a museum tour of the entire world." 

I'll be interested to see how artists and others make use of the site. Remember how on Friendster (ah, poor old Friendster), people started creating profiles for their cats and dogs, or for fictional characters? To me, that was the indication of a strong creative impulse on the part of users. (If I remember correctly, Friendster foolishly stifled that impulse, rather than harnessing it, by prohibiting such alternative uses of the site.) Broadcastr seems to have an open approach to the use of this remarkably flexible platform. Various articles have discussed the site's inclusion of oral history, comedy routines, and now even local crime reports. I'm excited to see how it grows.

You can now also find Inside Stories on Broadcastr! Go to the site, and search for InsideStoriesOnline. There you'll find select stories drawn from my podcasts -- including my various audio tours of San Francisco, like about Harvey Milk, Mayor George Moscone, and the Presidio Pet Cemetery. You can follow me on Broadcastr, too, if you like! 

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