On The Road with Audioblogger

By Biz Stone

Blogger has always been about giving you a voice on the web. However, until now we only meant that figuratively. With our new audioblogger service you have the ability to phone-in your audio posts from anywhere, anytime. This is especially useful when you're on location, on the road, or if you really just need to be heard.

Get Your Voice on The Web

Audioblogging has been around for a while as a paid service; we're just making a big fuss about it now because we decided it would be much better if it were free. So we went ahead and made that happen. Once you sign up, all you have to do is call a number and speak. It's like leaving a voice mail except way cooler because it gets published to your blog as a sound file that people can play right from your web site. Neat huh?

See: Audioblogger.com
See: The Audioblogger FAQ

On The Road

When I drove cross-country from Boston to San Francisco last November I laid down some tracks. As a blogger, I wanted to share my trip with friends and family, but it wasn't always easy to find a web connection at some of my stops. Not that there's anything wrong with the Indiana Knight's Inn. (Oh, but there is...) In fact, the only easy thing about driving across America with two cats and my girlfriend was audioblogging.

Hear: Farmington, New York
Hear: Salt Flat in Utah
Hear: Getting Wacky on Highway 101

Mixing It Up

When you're done recording your post and you send it off to your blog, it gets saved as an mp3 file—a standard format for compressing sound into a small file without giving up quality when it's played. This is the most popular Internet audio format and it's used by millions through services like iTunes and Audible. Now you can make some noise on the Web too. Who knows, maybe someone will turn your posts into music with some colorful mixing? It's been known to happen...

Hear: Genius Attack by Evan Williams

Who Uses Audioblogger?

Ideally, anyone and everyone is going to get their voice on the web but there's lots of folks who are already audioblogging. They have their reasons. Wil Wheaton, everyone's favorite geek/actor supplements his text blog with an audioblog when he's on the road, at a convention, or just needs to vocalize post book-signing enthusiasm. Recently he shared some insight while driving through tinsel town, "I'm in Hollywood on my way to an audition. I'm actually at the intersection of Fairfax and Beverly Boulevard right next to—yeah that's a red light jackass!"

Hear: Wil Wheaton in Hollywood
Hear: More Audioblogging from Wil Wheaton

The Salt Flats in Utah are pretty cool. (Unless you have high blood pressure.) But traveling through Europe is even cooler—especially when you're audioblogging the whole deal for your friends not to mention keeping an auditory record for yourself. That's what clamgirl has been doing with her audioblog, "Hi guys. Guess where I am? I'm in Paris. I saw the Eiffel Tower for the first time today ... I almost cried when I saw it."

Hear: Clamgirl Sees The Eiffel Tower
Hear: More Audioblogging from Clamgirl

Maybe he's not reporting in from the road, but that's okay because Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk is giving us the lowdown on what it's like to be a guest on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, "I want to thank everybody who showed up at the Conan O'Brien Show ... I think I got a cold from Quentin Tarantino, so um, I shouldn't have drank out of his cup." Chuck learned a lesson that day and passed his knowledge on to us via this modern version of storytelling: Audioblogger.

Hear: Chuck Visits Conan
Hear: More Audioblogging from Chuck Palahniuk

Noah Glass is not just an audioblogger client, he's also the president. Or something. Noah tirelessly sends his communiques from the field using audioblogger and often takes time to attempt mini-interviews with quirky or interesting people he meets so we can share in his experiences. We split a cab in Austin a few months back and he audioblogged a peyote popping cabbie. Even more amusing was his street chat with the less-than-friendly creator of Friendster who was having trouble finding his friends. Noah inquired, "These are friends of yours? Or are they friend of friends?"

Hear: Noah Chats with Friendster Creator
Hear: More audioblogging from Noah Glass

So you could be on the road or in Europe, a famous author on tour, in a wild cab ride in Texas, or maybe you just need to set the record straight like Boston-based Blogger Jen Garrett, "Look people, I really don't have much of an accent ... Yankees suck!"

Hear: Jen Garrett's Accent
See: Jen Garrett's Blog

The Future Is ... Speakish?

Audioblogging invites a whole new group of people to the web and brings the sound of storytelling to a world of text and images. Dial the number and then hand the phone to your grandmother so she can tell us what's up. Read a poem a day into your audioblog and tell your lazy friends to subscribe to your blog. Maybe people will start publishing serialized audio versions of classic books using their cell phones and Project Gutenberg. Maybe somebody will just read BoingBoing out loud so I can sync it with my iPod and listen on the train ride to work. There are so many cool ideas and—with apologies to Frasier Crane, "I'm listening." So what are you waiting for? Get your voice on.


Biz Stone works at Google on Blogger and writes books about blogging.
Phillip E. Pascuzzo is a designer and illustrator living in New York.

Published: Monday, June 07, 2004, 10:48