Talk Back & Other Bits

What if you could pick up the phone and sound off on any topic? Well, that’s the idea behind Buzz-o-phone. The new site allows people to call in and automatically renders their comments into podcast format that others can download.

I met Buzz-o-Phone’s creator, Tulsa, Oklahoma, technologist Matt Galloway in Palo Alto last night where we will both be attending a conference sponsored by the Society for New Communications Research. Over the quick bite we shared at a reception, Matt said he’s not sure what to do with the service so I’m sure he’d appreciate attention and feedback. I love the idea for use in “hot” settings, like talk radio or in response to mass media commentary or perhaps in conjunction with political or promotional campaigns. Matt said he found out that the service needs a filtering step because he got some foul-mouthed screed when he just tossed it up there and took all comers. But that’s to be expected and can be dealt with. Meanwhile, what a great way to invite, collect and share response.

Mobile Dreams Down Under: Australian cell phone customers “paid for more than 250,000 live streams of cricket this summer, proof that there is demand for bite-sized content,” according to a story in the Sydney Morning Herald that salivates at the prospect of huge market for deliverying itty-bitty entertainment. The mobile phone as the new transistor radio, but this time with images. This is not my idea of a media revolution but it may be the shape of things to come. “Short, sharp, bursts” is the way I imagine the emerging entertainment grid. Let’s hope that many feedback loops, along the lines of Buzz-o-phone, get built. At least this way, when we shout at the television someone could theoretically hear.

Tiny bubbles: In more of the same, MediaPost reports that Unilever’s Dove brand will hire a production company to create and release three special episodes of “Desperate Housewives” that will be promoted via an AOL “microsite” called “Chief Everything Officers.” The site will be a financial and personal advice destination for busy parents. Banner ads for Dove will point visitors toward “three original webisodes directed by Penny Marshall and starring Felicity Huffman, in which Huffman dreams of appearing in classic sitcoms like “The Brady Bunch” and “Leave It to Beaver,” as reported by MediaPost.

Good Luck! Steve Outing leaves the Poynter Institute to focus on a new citizen media startup about “adventure sports and activities.” The Poynter E-Media Tidbits site will continue with new voices, according to his goodbye note. In the early 1990s Steve was at the San Francisco Chronicle (where I now work though we never met back then) and I’ve enjoyed reading his stuff on Poynter as well as picking up details about his life journey such as can be gleaned from this interview.

Tom Abate
‘Cause if you ain’t Mass Media, you’re Mini Media