Video may have killed the radio star, but our voices were never silenced and social audio is now connecting them.

What does the term “social audio” mean? Social audio is an emerging subset of social media. Think talk radio with your entire social graph. Instead of a broadcast studio, everyone is able to speak their mind directly from a smartphone. The result is unscripted conversations that feel like a live podcast, with an endless amount of hosts, speakers and listeners tuning in from anywhere.

These audible discussions strip away the text, photos, and video. Your spoken thoughts are everything in this realm, but sharing your voice is nothing new. Talk radio, music, conference calls, voice messaging and podcasts have been around forever. What’s interesting is how social audio companies are transforming one-to-many productions into synchronized, many-to-many experiences. The timing of this growing market also makes sense, as the global pandemic has created an isolated world craving new ways to stay connected.

As Jeremiah Owyang shared in his comprehensive market forecast, a lot of attention has been given to Clubhouse, but there are signals of a market that’s getting much louder. Twitter Spaces, Locker Room, Sonar, Roadtrip, Yoni Circle, Quilt, and Cappuccino are a few more pioneering platforms that have each caught my attention for different reasons. Apple, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Spotfiy are surely working on clones to catch up as well.

After scanning the open airwaves, I’m betting people with large followings will be drawn back to social audio features that allow them to interact with their existing audience on established social media platforms. For talkative people looking to expand their influence, choosing to be an early adopter on a new platform could be a waste of time if the app flops, but with less noise, the reward could be the audience they seek.

Extra Shot

It’s hard to tell if the race to win in social audio is causing this, but more social media companies are experimenting with different ways to compensate content creators. Twitch and YouTube have this somewhat figured out, but imagine spending the day talking on Twitter Spaces. Listeners could show their support with quick tips, while sponsored conversations and other shared revenue attracts more creative talent.

If you decide to share your voice by exploring social audio, remember the words we use matter. These are live, decentralized discussions, but what you share with the world may be hard to take back as many of these conversations are being recorded in one way or another. While this data collection feels like Ursula stealing Ariel’s voice in the The Little Mermaid, we all know the social media landscape is not a private place.

Privacy concerns aside, social audio provides an innovative way for humans to communication. Unlike edited writing, filtered photos, and polished video, our voices in real-time provide raw access to what people think. How might you use social audio to engage in more connected conversations? <End of Transmission>


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