Kindled Meme

– exploring the purpose of connection

The rebirth of social connection – fixing ‘voice’

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There was a great programme on Radio One tonight. In amongst the nobbery of Scott Mills – there was a feature about life in Camp Bastion on the life of people in the forces.

It was DJ’ed by Greg James – he did a really good job – he was interested in what they were up to and gave them a platform to share their passion and dedication – it was quite moving. No one wants those guys there – we all want them home – but they are professionals and they are committed.

Most of the interview was with medics – I’m in awe of them – since having kids I’ve become queasy at the sight of blood but more than that, I was moved by their professional passion. I’m always touched when I meet people who have a true vocation and am in total admiration for these guys.

I could hear their drive in their words but also feel it in their voice – it was full BBC broadcast quality and so you could sense the energy in their words.

It got me thinking about a conversation I’d had last week with Rob – about how Apple iPhone5 now supports High-definition voice calls – but would we get to use it?

We take ‘voice’ and call quality for granted – at best its reliable and ‘as expected’ – and at worst its clipped, compressed and dehumanized. In truth we have become more tolerance of poorer quality.  Its official – we accept crap voice experience – especially on mobile calls. Could the Apple feature make a difference?

We asked Fran how she would feel about having Hi-Def voice calls with Mum. Mum is in New Zealand – wouldn’t it be a more connective experience?

“What do you mean? Its mum – I know who it is?”

In truth we don’t even know what we are missing – conversation is meant to be distant, separating and sketchy over the phone.

But does it really?

I had a shocking ‘voice’ experience earlier this week too. I settled in to watch a Jive webinar – I like Jive – I like their story and the info they share on collaborative working can be the basis of enriching corporate culture – what they do matters.

But the quality of the voice on the webinar is robotic at best – I listened to the first 15 seconds and thought:

“My God, how long does this last!”

They wanted to share this dreadful experience with me for over an hour! Thankfully the content was compelling enough that I stuck it out.

The Webinar is a horrendous format – not just from the Jive guys but from everyone posting a god-awful webinar. We all accept this poor UX – both the publishers and the consumers.

This is the link to the webinar – do you agree it’s awful?

Seriously if someone downloaded an audio book and it sounded like this, would you accept it? Do you really think this is the best gift you can offer to reward your customer’s attention?

We are all so distracted by our digital voices right now and yet we have embedded fail at the fundamental human connection experience. Can’t we at least enable people to talk with meaning, emotion, warmth and compassion?

Does it really have to be this bad for much longer?

Thankfully some tech companies will see this fail – there is still room for a ‘wow experience’ on simple vice communication – all it will take is a few more ‘bps’ in a hyper-connected universe. It’s not rocket science – we just need someone to take the time to speak up.

“Sort it out!”


Author: jameslramsay

Practice director at the ShelfLife project - digital by day, campfire by night

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