The idea behind buzz-o-phone is simple enough. You call a US freephone (800) number where you’re able to leave a voice message. Your elicitation, wise or otherwise, is the posted to the player section of the buzz-o-phone Web site, where the world can listen.
Initially Buzz-o-phone looks like ideas that have been around before, like the innovative AudBlog – a link between the POTS world (Plain Old Telephone Service) and the online. We know that ideas build on each other, and Buzz-o-phone may well have picked these up from projects in the past.
Look a big deeper and you may agree with us – we think buzz-o-phone signals a whole new form of content. A simple, barrier-less way of everyone to leave public comment.
Blogging and Podcasting have their own barriers. OK, there’s free online tools to do both of these, but even when these are setup, there’s the barrier to actually getting your thoughts – which are free flowing, to be published and it takes effort. Sometimes the effort is too large and the ideas don’t get sharedexplored a few ideas on his blog as to how Buzz-o-phone might be expanded in the future.
There has been, in our view, a getting-close-to-hysterical reaction from some panicking about slander and libel.
While the legal issues can’t be ignored, it’s interesting reading the Q&A session on Buzz-o-Phone between Robert French and Matt Galloway. It’s clear that Mr Galloway hasn’t just fallen into this idea – he’s wisely done a lot of background research on the legal side.
Issues with content filtering
To minimise legal problems, or indeed the removal of postings containing swearing (that some might find offensive), the audio comments have to be listened to, in order to know that they fall into the acceptable category. The issue with this, as with all audio files, is that this has to happen in real-time, unlike the text of a blog, it cannot be either read by a computer and checked against a dictionary of acceptability or speed read.
We’d imagine that two versions of the ‘conversation’ will have to be created; the raw, which would be an unfiltered version; and the clear-feed, dropping off comments that are judged as offensive. This is riddled with difficulties of its own – as with all censorship, you have to make you’re own decision as to if your parameters of acceptability align with the self-appointed censor.
All in all, we’re very excited about Buzz-o-phone, so get yourself over there, dial toll-free US 1-800-591-5375 (you can use Skype), contribute a comment and watch it grow.
(via the ever-enjoyable RocketBoom (congrats to them on their initial advertising deal).