Using SoundCloud & Other Audio Tips for Digital Activism

Last week we discussed the growing influence video has had on citizen journalism.  Now we want to put a spotlight on audio used for digital activism.  Believe it or not, audio is making a comeback in online popularity.  This is because it is so easy to record and upload audio these days.  Almost all mobile phones, computers and MP3 players have an audio recording function today.

Online distribution platform SoundCloud has helped in the recent audio resurgence.  Founded in 2007, SoundCloud was originally intended for musicians to upload and distribute their recordings – or what some call an upgraded version of MySpace.  The platform has since grown to over 18 million subscribers and people have found a wide variety of uses for the tool beyond music distribution, including radio shows, podcasts, interviews and monologues.  A great way to use SoundCloud is to interview participants at rallies or distribute your own protest song!

But before you go out to record something, here are some tips from us:

Having good audio is better than having good video:  In the video making world, you can get away with less than perfect visuals.  But if the video’s audio track is bad, no one will want to watch your video.  Our listening senses are more dominant than our visual senses.  So this is why it is important that listeners can hear every aspect of your recording.  With that said…

Get to know your recording device: Take a few minutes before your first recording to get familiar with your software.  Test out the best ways to record high quality audio.  Also, check the sound settings and whether or not you should plug your device into an electrical outlet during recording.  No one wants to be in the middle of a good recording and the battery suddenly dies.  Preparing for worst case scenarios ahead of time will relieve you of any stress later on.

Get an external microphone: You might realize after doing these checks that you should buy an external mic for your device.  Putting the microphone close to the sound source will get you the best results.  Things that can create interference and, thus, bad audio include loud music, people talking and other sounds in the background, so external mics can help reduce these problems.  Microphones can be purchased cheaply online or at an electronics store. They are a very good investment.

Back it all up: Once you have successfully recorded your audio, don’t forget to back up or sync your material, especially if it was recorded on a mobile.  Again, it will relieve you of any stress later on.

Talia Whyte, managing director of Global Wire Associates, did some impromptu audio interviews at this year’s Netroots Nation recently to get attendee thoughts on the conference.

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