This week Twitter launched a brand new audio feature on its platform: audio tweets!
Users are now able to share 140 seconds of audio recording in their posts along with the usual images, gifs and text.
As the new feature has only been rolled out to a select number ioS users, prior to a full launch, it's currently difficult to read exactly how "Tweeters" will use this new feature but its an interesting development of the popular social app none the less.
Understandably, one of the groups that have shown the most interest in this update is Podcasters, who have asked the question that podcasters always ask; "How can I use this to get more listeners"?
The honest answer is, you probably can't.
Whilst, this new feature does appear to offer a simple and quick way to present audio onto the platform, right now, the feature doesn't offer much to podcasters that isn't already available in some form.
Plenty of tools already exist (such as Headliner) that allows podcasters to produce assets that create much more attention-grabbing and clickable content than that generated directly via the Twitter app (which appears to just be the user's avatar with a sound animation).
Rather than just distributing pre-recorded, edited podcast content (that can be found elsewhere) the intention of this update would appear to generate a more conversational feel to your interactions on the platform.
"There's a lot that can be left unsaid or uninterpreted using text, so we hope voice Tweeting will create a more human experience for listeners and storytellers alike" - Twitter
In terms of podcasting, there are obviously opportunities beyond regurgitating content within your main show. The ability to publish "quick and dirty" audio updates or to produce live audio report from events could certainly be used to add an extra layer to your product and an extra touchpoint with your audience - but maybe we have to look to radio for the real potential here.
Radio has, for a long time, been very focused on interaction.
In my days as a breakfast radio producer, an old Programme Controller would set us "caller targets" to encourage us to interact with the audience and bring different voices to the airwaves. His belief was that by having more of our listener's voices on air, it would not only reflect our audience but create a listening community with those tuning in.
I may not agree with the method but I like the concept.
Podcasts, for the most part, lack interaction with the audience. Beyond maybe reading a "five-star" review or answering an email question there is rarely the opportunity to actually "hear" from our listeners but here we have a new, and easy way to do that.
Whether it's getting your listeners reaction to a topic or asking questions of your hosts, Twitter's audio tweets present the opportunity to communicate with your listeners in a more natural way, create a richer listening experience and maybe strengthen the community built around your podcast. It'll be fascinating to see how creators harness the technology.
We can also learn a little about where audio is in the world from this news.
Whilst Twitter is perhaps a little behind there curve in terms of adding audio messaging to its platform (something that is already available within the likes of Facebook and WhatsApp) it does show a growing recognition of the power audio has in telling a story or delivering a clear and concise message.
Potentially this move could be part of Twitter's preparations for an audio compatible future. As more and more of us adopt Voice Technology the less we are turning to screens on a regular basis - which could make text-based apps and services such as Twitter obsolete.
Voice Tech has shown exponential growth over the last five years and those who fail to adapt will be left behind. To date, no one has taken the dive and attempted to launch a "voice only" social media channel and this could well be Twitter's tentative steps into that area?
Even if that isn't the case its proof of yet another major brand taking an interest in audio and an acknowledgement of the huge potential of the medium into the future.