The literary world may seem silent and isolated to the majority, but it’s actually quite a complex web strongly connected to the arts, sciences, humanities, and technology. And it is definitely no stranger to the possibilities offered by the latter to its constituents. Technology, in all its forms, has helped literary figures gain a wider audience, especially at a time when most people are averse to reading literature as if, in the words of Israeli author Etgar Keret, “it’s castor oil for bones.”
Audio and video, in particular, were helpful in bringing literature to audiences with the shortest of attention spans. These forms of technology have made literature “fun” and “compelling”—not that literature wasn’t fun and compelling, to begin with—but audio and video have easily made it so for those who are not natural readers. After all, people tend to be more visual and auditory, and audio and video are the best media to help people understand literature in its entire context, and free from the barrier of text.
Audio and video gave rise to new literature and figures whose chance of getting heard is limited to captured classroom students obliged to read their works or attend their performances. Who could forget Neil Hilborn, whose spoken word performance of his poem “OCD,” went viral on YouTube, Tumblr and other social media sites, no more than a year ago? Or non-profit group, The Moth, whose YouTube channel publishes heartwarming true stories from storytellers from all walks of life? Who could forget spoken word essays and narratives of authors like Helen Thompson, who examined the intricacies of our fears by likening them to stories, or poems by American poet laureate Billy Collins on what dogs probably think on Ted.com? This writer couldn’t. Such was the command of audio and video clips and platforms.
Combined with social media, audio and video have only become more powerful in promoting literature. Platforms for streaming audio like Audioboo, Spotify, SoundCloud, and video such as YouTube, Vimeo, Tout, and Instagram, feature Twitter and Facebook integration, allowing ease of audio and video posts syndication. These platforms get millions of hits on a monthly basis, allowing authors, poets, and storytellers reach new audiences, some even by accident. Those centered on audio, like Audioboo, are also propelling the state of literature to new levels by being an avenue for audiobooks, podcasts discussing bodies of works, and providing a space for authors and fans to interact.
Audioboo is an excellent platform for spoken word audio. The platform, designed by Audioboom Group PLC (BOOM.L), has rapidly grown its user database in the United Kingdom, the United States, Latin America and Australia. From just 19 in 2013, the company has increased its channels to over 800 in 2014. Audioboo is set to change the face of audio recording, editing and sharing as how audio consumers know it.