An Audio-Only Approach to Digital Engagement

Author: David McMillin       

Reaching an audience doesn’t have to require being on camera. Twitter is launching a new live-streaming feature for your ears only.

As event organizers work to connect with audience members who cannot participate in face-to-face events in person, they face many questions about the on-screen experience. What camera angle will be best for the next interview? Is the lighting in the venue too low? What caused the technical issues with the feed from the breakout room?

Twitter has a new solution: Leave the camera off. Last week, at the company’s Hackweek, some of the members of its engineering team built a new audio-only streaming solution for Periscope. “Broadcasting with audio only in Periscope is something the community has been asking for, and have been doing already by covering the camera lens,” Richard Plom, staff engineer at Twitter, wrote in a blog post after the event. “Sometimes people are not comfortable being on camera, but they still want to broadcast and interact with others via Periscope’s powerful chatroom feature.”

The new feature is designed with individual users in mind — here’s looking at you, Twitter user who hasn’t showered yet but desperately wants to talk to all of his followers — but it’s easy to see how this type of tool could be put to use in an event environment. Short broadcast segments could feature interviews with speakers, exhibitors, and other members of an event community.

The surging popularity of podcasts underscores the fact that there is a big appetite for this kind of material. And while Twitter’s feature is new, some event organizers are already fluent in the language of audio-only content. For example, Tom Pellet, meetings and convention director, American Academy of Family Physicians, captures only the audio recordings of the sessions at the organization’s annual event for an on-demand library. He records more than 100 hours of audio each year. “If you can confine [the recording setup] to just the audio and the PowerPoint slides,” Pellet said in a recent PCMA webinar on revenue-generating ideas, “the cost is very minimal.”

Interested in more insights to shape your digital engagement strategy? Click here to check out how HP is bucking the bite-sized content trend with long-form videos.

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