Smart radio and audio apps: the politics and paradoxes of listening to (anti-) social media

Lacey, Kate (2014) Smart radio and audio apps: the politics and paradoxes of listening to (anti-) social media. Australian Journalism Review, 36 (2). pp. 77-90. ISSN 0810-2686

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The recent crop of vocal social media applications tends to appeal to users in terms of getting their voices heard loud and clear. Indeed, it is striking how often verbs like ‘shout’ and ‘boast’ and ‘brag’ are associated with microcasting platforms with such noisy names as Shoutcast, Audioboom, Hubbub, Yappie, Boast and ShoutOmatic. In other words, these audio social media are often promoted in rather unsociable terms, appealing less to the promise of a new communicative exchange than to the fantasy that we will each can be at the centre of attention of an infinite audience.

Meanwhile, many of the new forms of online radio sell their services to listeners as offering ‘bespoke’ or ‘responsive’ programming (or ‘audiofeeds’), building up a personal listening experience that meets their individual needs and predilictions. The role of listening in this new media ecology is characterised, then, by similarly contradictory trends. Listening is increasingly personalised, privatised, masterable and measurable, but also newly shareable, networked and, potentially, public.

The promotional framing of these new media suggests a key contradiction at play in these new forms of radio and audio, speaking to a neo-liberal desire for a decentralization of broadcasting to the point where every individual has a voice, but where the idea of the audience is invoked as a mass network of anonymous and yet thoroughly privatised listeners.

Focusing on the promotion and affordances of these various new radio- and radio-like applications for sharing speech online, this article seeks to interrogate what is at stake in these contradictions in terms of the ongoing politics, experience and ethics of listening in a mediated world.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Special issue: Radio reinvented
Keywords: radio, social media, broadcasting, microcasting, listening, neo-liberalism, publics
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Media and Film
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and communications > HE7601 Telecommunication industry. Telegraph > HE8689 Radio and television broadcasting
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics > P0087 Communication. Mass media
T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering > TK5101 Telecommunication
Depositing User: Kate Lacey
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2015 13:08
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2019 02:03

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