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Wanted: An Instagram For Sound

on Wednesday, Jun. 4th

While most of us are waiting for the latest version of Instagram to hit our phones–I literally just hit update as I wrote this–technology writer Joanne McNeil has been contemplating an Instagram for sound. Specifically an Instagram for field recordings, which she calls for in this essay in the Medium super-collection “The Message.”

There are times when sound conveys an experience better than pictures or words. Sound vibrations won’t fit inside a frame (neither will taste or touch, for that matter). There is something rare and warm about calling a memory to mind without perfect image documentation. This goes for concerts, of course. Less obviously, it might have been nice to quickly share the noise of the data centers I toured a few months ago. People generally know what a data center looks like. But do you know what it sounds like? Some data centers have awesome buzzy static and ringer tones like obscure Nurse With Wound tracks or Coil b-sides.

Sound is, strangely, more complex than images. A sound can evoke but not describe, which is part of the magic of sound effects work. I once found that running the sound of a waterfall backwards made for a convincing inferno effect. Other such tricks abound in the annals of sound design chicanery.

Which is a long way of saying that I can’t quite see the kind of robust social network that is Instagram evolving around the sharing of audio snippets, but I sure as hell wouldn’t mind playing around in the library.

via Alexis Madrigal’s 5 Intriguing Things

Creative Commons image by Nan Palermo

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