Digital Playground #2: Soundcloud as annotated audio

Continuing to play with digital storytelling tools…

This time, SoundCloud. It’s designed for sharing music, and that’s how I encountered it. But I’ve been thinking about other uses for the timed commenting feature, which lets you link your comment to any second of the track you choose.

Many comments on tracks are pretty, well, boring: “sick beats!” “nice one m8” etc. But I wonder about the potential of the timed comment as a storytelling tool. A type of annotation for audio on the web, where the online audio isn’t just delivered differently from old-school radio but also has an added interactive or explanatory dimension.

Some possibilities:

  • tag an interview clip, with a link to the person’s website, or the raw interview
  • tag dated information with a link to updated information
  • if the service supported it, tag a verbal description to a picture or map

So I gave it a go, uploading one of my recent stories (albeit a longish one, 7+ minutes) about crowd-sourcing money for scientific research in the recent #SciFund Challenge. I added some comments with updates on how much money the projects received, and links to learn more.

Does it work? I’d love to hear from you.

As a radio addict, I’m not sure it does. I usually listen when I’m on the go (not at the screen) so I’m not sure I’d get much out of my favourite shows annotating their stuff. Maybe I’d want to see it on shorter pieces? On a topic I’m researching? Something educational? Hmm….

Don’t get me wrong, I have huge appreciation for the power and intimacy of radio (in whatever delivery form) without any bells and whistles. Still, I think this could be cool ground to explore.

I got some useful comments on Twitter, so I thought I’d pull those in:

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