If you have a blog of your own, or if you read a lot of blogs, you might find this interesting. I was over at Legacy News and they’ve installed a widget that reads their blog posts. It’s called Odiogo. You click the Listen Now button and off it goes. You can download mp3 files of blog posts and listen to them at your leisure. You can even subscribe to them. They got the idea from Rick Eastman’s blog and who knows where Rick got the idea from. It’s probably spreading like wild-fire.
I thought about it. For five minutes. I spent the same five minutes listening to the canned voice reading Legacy News posts. It does have some intonation to it but not usually in the right places. The ‘right places’ meaning, of course, something you could imagine a human being actually saying.
Then I went out and listened to the graduation speeches over at the school where I work. I came home with a renewed monologue in my head about the cadence of language, both written and spoken. If you could listen to my blog posts instead of reading them, would you want to?
As it is, you have no idea what I sound like. You have no idea what I look like either. Am I fat or skinny, tall or short? For all you know, I could be deaf and dumb or have 3 arms. I’ve given you nothing, just my written words. Now, I think you can know a lot about a person from the way they write. And you can like it or not like it and trust it or not trust it, because it’s human. And you can imagine the rest any way you want it.
A machine doesn’t write this blog. I do. These canned voices probably come in male and female varieties but maybe there’s an androgynous one, too? Whichever digital voice it is, it wouldn’t sound like me. It would take the distinctions of my mind and feelings and intentions and mangle them. Not to mention, there would be no pictures. But … you could still pick up the words.
I realize there are many people for whom the endless consumption of information (i.e. words) has become even more important than 3 squares a day. For those to whom a moment of silence can be either terrifying or deafening, rest assured you can listen to these digital voices just about anywhere – when you’re walking, when you’re flying, when you’re sleeping, when you’re lying on the beach, when you’re cooking dinner, when your spouse is boring you. There’s no end to it. So for you – enjoy Odiogo.