Got an hour so to spare or that you’d like to procrastinate away? Then Broadcastr, which I discovered only today, is perfect for you. In its developer’s words, it’s ‘a social media platform for location-based stories,’ and is highly, highly addictive.
Although the site’s still in its early stages with a few bugs to iron out apparently, it’s clearly developed a firm following of people from around the globe who like sharing stories from their lives with others.
The site’s also working with Human Rights Watch to to encourage uploads from Egypt and other countries where eye-witness reports are in short supply. It’s also hoped that the site will be used even by those in countries where the internet has been switched off for political reasons, through a voicemail service for witnesses to leave messages via a phone when they can’t upload them directly to the website.
The beta site already includes eyewitness reports from the Brisbane floods; I listened to a really moving first person account of people attempting to rescue a man who had plunged into the floods to rescue his baby.
But the site is also a great way for individuals to share more personal, less dramatic moments in their lives, often giving a sense of the place that they live in or have visited. I agree with Roy who said on the comments section of the website: “The thrill of Broadcastr is to be allowed an intimate eavesdrop on peoples lives. Their emotions.” He also wanted radio stations to be banned to preserve the site as a forum purely for snapshots from people’s personal experiences.
As well as the Brisbane recording, I listened to another Australian broadcast, a humorous one this time, on how to avoid being eaten by sharks, one from a woman whose boyfriend proposed to her in a car park, an account of a traveller’s experience of Machu Picchu, and one woman’s really amusing account of ‘hooking up’ with someone on a boat from Finland to Scotland. It seems pretty much anything goes, even fiction I discovered reading the site’s comments- one lady had requested a ‘Fiction’ category.
So I thought I would have a bash, giving a quick account of one aspect of living in Dalston, Hackney. I found the website pretty easy to use, although I couldn’t seem to see the bottom of the uploading window which meant I had to save it as a draft then go back in to edit it and pin it on, at the same time publishing my broadcast, then.
I also messed it up first time round by not uploading a picture. I couldn’t seem to work out how to change this so I deleted the original and created another. For some reason, the comments section told me, it takes two attempts to delete a post. The site is still a work in progress and they’re keen for all user’s feedback on technical issues or suggestions on how to make it more user-friendly.
To find my efforts just type ‘Hackney’ into the search box and ‘Unseen Hackney’ should pop up: http://beta.broadcastr.com/
Be sure to explore the site and listen to a few of the other (much better) posts too.