I heard about Broadcastr from a friend who couldn’t believe that I hadn’t been glued to it myself. He told me it was a cross between a an audio podcasting platform, Google Maps, and a social network. This combination of completely different mediums had me perplexed, but I took his advice and downloaded the iOS app to give it a try.
Broadcastr’s motto, “What’s your story?” would be exactly the choice of words I would use if I were going to pitch this service to someone. You can record and share audio tidbits, tagged with your location, and share your story with the world about the significance of a particular place to you. You can also check your current location and hear stories recorded by other Broadcastr users.
In the iOS app, you have the ability to search and play audio clips found through specific keywords, names, or geolocation. Having the app open, you can allow it to follow you as you make your way through town and play audio tagged nearby. An autoplay mode allows you to sit the phone down and let stories play one after another. In a sense, you’re playing audio podcasts made by locals without having to seek them out individually and “friend” them.
Most of the content I’ve listened to in the Austin area is incredibly inspiring and personal. Some users record interesting stories of their childhood spent at various Austin locations, interviews with Austinites about how they arrived in the city, and some history lessons about Austin’s culture. Visitors during SXSW left some fascinating hotspot reviews and tips as they made their way around the city during the week-long event.
I decided to check out what the people of New York City had to share. Recollections of the events of September 11, 2001 were in abundance. Some were very moving and personal, others were detailed and to the point. It was here the true value of something like Broadcastr became startlingly clear.
The community presently taking part in Broadcastr is real. My experience didn’t yield spam, Lolcats, animated GIFs, or other silliness commonly associated with social networks. Recordings are generally raw, honest, and personal. In some ways, Broadcastr has served as a tool for not only hearing about local businesses and hotspots, but to connect me with the people who I pass on the street every day.
Here is one story from a local business owner in Austin, TX found on Broadcastr.