SOCIAL SOUND: Can We Use Audioboo In Local Government?

Okay, so here’s an idea. You record a quick interview or a snippet of a festival and then you post it online.

Nothing revolutionary and I’m sure people have been doing it for years but for a few weeks I’ve been experimenting with Audioboo.

What’s Audioboo? It’s a way of posting online short recording clips of interviews, sounds, noise or perhaps even with permission live music.

You can download it for free through the app store or via the Android market and all you need is a smartphone or an iphone.

There are other platforms out there and SoundCloud has its followers too.

The dabbling I’ve done is centred around photocalls I’ve attended where some parties have been gathered together. With them all in one place it’s made sense to whip out the phone and make a quick recording. In less than five minutes you can have something posted to the web.

At a cold photocall with a few minutes to spare I made an Audioboo, posted it to the Walsall Council Facebook and Twitter and by the time it took to get back to the office there was an email: “One of the neighbours has listened to your recording and thinks this is a great project.” Beginners luck maybe, but it did get me thinking.

For some time I’ve been thinking about how to generate content for different places. This is another string to the bow of the comms person.

Intro to Audioboo from Mark Rock on Vimeo.

Why bother? Here’s NINE good reasons

  1. Because it’s a good way to post a recording straight onto the web.
  2. Because you’re offering different content on a different platform.
  3. Because it’s free.
  4. Because you don’t have to be a BBC-trained sound engineer to use it.
  5. Because you can record snippets from frontline staff and events.
  6. Because it’s simple.
  7. Because you can post it to Twitter, Facebook and embed on a website very easily.
  8. Because you can listen as a podcast.
  9. Because it makes your content more accessible to the visually impaired.

How do I do it?

Go to Audioboo and create an account.

Press record.

When you are happy post it to the web.

Add metadata (that’s things like the words ‘Walsall’, ‘regeneration’, ‘new homes bonus’, ‘housing’ if it’s a New Homes Bonus scheme done by the regeneration directorate in Walsall.)

It’s that simple.

How about some examples?

Here’s a Norfolk County Council social worker talking about why he does his job..

Here’s Devon and Cornwall Police on setting the budget.

Here’s a former postman recalling the Swansea docks posted by Swansea Council

Here’s Walsall Town Centre Champions talking about plans to bid for Mary Portas cash

Here’s Scottish pipers playing at the Godiva Festival posted by Coventry City Council

So what’s next?

I’m sure there’s more possibilities but here’s three that struck me:

1. Broadcast journalist content. Nick Booth from Podnosh many years back spoke of creating clips along with a press release that could be downloaded by broadcast journalists. That’s a step in that direction.

2. Adding Audioboo links to press releases when they’re e-mailed out. Add a straight forward link.

3. Embedding Audioboo links to news stories or web pages. As a way to brighten up web content.

Join the Conversation


  1. Nice post, Dan.

    Of course, one of the issues this raises is that old one of whether public sector workers have smartphones. And, there is no BlackBerry app for Audioboo (they’ve told me the microphones are not of sufficient quality), so the smartphone of choice for many won’t do it.

    For those without smartphones, you might want to investigate iPadio ( which allows you to record a phone call online. The disadvantage of this option is that the quality is not that good, it sounds like a phone call. But, on the other hand, you can also record a conference call, allowing the participation of people in a number of remote locations.

    1. Whilst we don’t have a dedicated Blackberry app, there are two options for using Audioboo with a Blackberry. The first is PhoneBoo ( ) and if you link your phone to your account you can call your audio in directly. The other option is BooMail ( ) which allows you to email in files you’ve recorded on your phone.

      You may find our FAQ of use – or feel free to get in touch with @audioboo on Twitter or Facebook.

      Best wishes,

  2. Nice summary of the benefits of Audioboo. I like it as a platform and we have used it a bit at BIS. It’s great for on-the-fly interviews as you say.
    Another benefit is that for some interviewees it is a little less intimidating than a camera, and the reporter/interviewer simply requires a phone or tablet.

  3. Great stuff but why stop at audio? Mobiles can do film just as easily nowadays so you get two mediums instead of the one. I guess if speed is of the essence then audio would be a better choice but I’m trying to think of any other times when sound would be better than pictures? :0)

    1. Hi Matt,

      I know that I for one feel hugely uncomfortable in front of a camera and I tend to clam up. If you’re trying to catch people and persuade them to do a two minute interview with you I can tell you from experience it’s much easier to do so with audio. The additional plus with Audioboo is that smartphones are so much less intrusive that broadcast mics so you can get some really great content.

      When you’ve only got sound to think about it makes life easier too. You can paint great pictures with words and use noise in the background to bring people along on a journey with you. But then I’m a radio person by trade, so perhaps I’m biased!

      You might find some examples I used in a blog about charities using Audioboo of use:


  4. I somehow missed this post, sorry about the delay in replying.

    Some years ago now, while working as a community development worker in North Telford, I did a project around digital literacy and consultation, where we encouraged angry residents from a much maligned estate to vent their views on the subject, taught them how to edit audio files using Audacity and then saved them to an MP3 player, which we sent to the chief exec (whether he ever got it, I don’t know…like many initiatives, it got lost a bit after all the smiles).

    I think AudioBoo would have been ideal for this. Furthermore, you could encourage an ongoing dialogue, with residents using their own audioboo accounts to add content. By using a player of audioboo favourites, you could moderate the content to some degree, in terms of output on a website but, as people would be able to search the tag, you would not be stifling and freedom of speech.

    This might work especially well with young people, but I think a percentage of the older generation would take to this too.

    I’d be really excited to see this happening.

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