Today I'm starting something different. At least I haven't seen it done before quite this way. I'm beginning to write blog posts that also have an audio recording of me reading them. That's right. Text plus audio. You can read along as you listen to the audio. Or you can read the post alone, and never listen to the audio. Or you can only listen to the audio without ever bothering to read the post if you prefer that way.
Now, this idea came to me somewhat randomly. For the past few years, I've been passionate about audiobooks. I used to read a lot before my firstborn. But as soon as I became a parent — my oldest one is four years old now — I found myself involved in so many things between work and home and caring for our newborn, that my time for silent reading simply evaporated. The solution I found was audiobooks. I could listen to them while biking to work in the first year, and later on in my car after we moved to a different neighborhood.
There's something magical about real audio content. In the same level, there's something magical about reading. It takes you places, and it engages your imagination in a way that video, for example, cannot. The sensory input is minimal, and it allows you to be doing something else. Besides, both reading and listening engage our verbal skills. Their primary device of communication is language and language alone. But audio is instant, and it doesn't require your eyes to be engaged in receiving and processing the information. In comparison to visual communication — video to be more specific — it's way less demanding. Video content is intense, and it's magnetic — watch any kid's behavior when you turn on the TV set in the room. It requires full attention. Your eyes are glued to the screen, the sounds hijack your ears, and your body tends to immobility before you even notice. Reading is fantastic because it does require a lot of concentration and it engages the most profound kind of mental processing. Listening to audio though frees up your eyes, and it frees up your body. You can be skateboarding or racing on your bike while listening to your favorite podcast.
It's a busy world. My point is that I turned to audio listening because of a particularly busy season in my life. It was a period where I wished every favorite blog of mine had audio recordings of their posts. But they didn't. So I'm doing here what I wished existed everywhere. It's that simple.
You can read this, and you can listen to my real voice as if we were just in a cafe chatting about these ideas. I think it makes it more personal. It makes this more intimate and provides an interesting connection. Even beyond that, it demands way less of your time and devotion if you're in a hurry. And if you have a visual disability, the content is still accessible. Just like a personal conversation would be.
I have a few more thoughts about this, but I can share those next time. For now, I hope this is a practical idea and that you enjoy it. Because I certainly do.