Welcome to that spot just outside my comfort zone. The one where I shakily step out from behind the keyboard and put a voice to the words on the screen in my first podcast.
Prior to starting my current unit as part of my journalism degree I had never even listened to a podcast, let alone considered recoding one. Ten weeks later and after a lot of recording, deleting and the odd tantrum, here it is. The voice of Almost Jane, discussing the potentialities and risks of social media activism.
I chose the topic of social media activism as I thought I had a clear idea of the stance I would take. I admit, I rolled my eyes at the idea of ‘hashtag activism’, I mean what does it actually achieve?
To prove my point I scrolled through Twitter trending hashtags. And I got educated. The hashtag examples I used in my podcast clearly demonstrate the potentialities of social media activism to drive social change. I actually found myself going down a rabbit hole, clicking through on the articles shared with the hashtag and learning so much more about the issues at hand. I literally became an example of how social media activism works.
Now that I had an argument, the real hard work started. How to turn it in to a podcast that people would actually want to listen to? My craft is writing. I’m very comfortable here behind a keyboard and a screen thank you very much.
As a podcast virgin, I knew I had to start doing a different type of research. I started downloading and listening to podcasts whilst I was at the gym. Confession- I’ve actually become addicted to Shameless and hang out each week for the next episode! Problem was, how do I replicate that same ‘chatty’, casual vibe in my own podcast? I was very conscious of just sounding like I was reading out a script- BORING.
One way I tried to counter balance this was by recording each paragraph separately, then editing them all together. I tried to talk in a ‘normal’ conversational voice, but listening back I still think I sound a bit formal and fake. Or maybe that is what I actually sound like in real life?!
The Technical Bits:
- I used the Voice Memo app on my iPhone to record my podcast. It produced a clear recording. Almost too clearly as I had to re-record a section where I could faintly hear a car driving past in the background.
- I used the free program “Audacity” to edit my podcast. Not going to lie, when I first opened it I was terrified. What in the what now?? However a quick google search turned up lots of YouTube tutorials for beginners. I used this one. Simple and straightforward, even for a tech-noob like me.
- I wanted to add music to my podcast to give it more character. During this unit we have learnt about ‘Creative Commons’ licensing. You can learn more about it from this video created by my uni lecturer. Basically it’s how people can use media legally without breaching copyright. I googled “Creative Commons music” and the second clip I listened to, I fell in love with.
Will I record more podcasts? To be honest, I’m not sure. We are all our own harshest critics and I have to admit, I didn’t love this. To me, my voice sounds stilted and not engaging. I feel I am a much better writer than a speaker. To be fair, I’ve been writing for most of my life and this is my first podcast. I have really enjoyed the process though. I honestly am so scared of technology and I’m feeling quite proud to have mastered a new program. I know it will come in handy as I continue my studies in journalism.
What did you think? Do you prefer podcasts over blog posts? What are you listening to at the moment?
Swan Song by Paper Navy (CC by 3.0)
Christensen, H 2011, Political Activities on the Internet: Slacktivism or Political Participation by Other Means?, First Monday, vol 18, no 2.
Townsend, M 2016, Human Rights in the Age of Online Activism, Institute for Human Rights, retrieved January 21st 2019, <https://cas.uab.edu/humanrights/2016/12/07/age-online-activism/>
Sydney Peace Foundation 2017, 2017 Black Lives Matter, retrieved February 1st 2019, http://sydneypeacefoundation.org.au/peace-prize-recipients/black-lives-matter/