Audio vs Text Poll

Out of curiosity and because there is a diversity of practices at AUFS I have created a poll to see if our readers prefer audio or text of conference presentations. It is unlikely I’ll start posting texts of my conference presentations, partly because I prefer audio myself (seriously, does no one else ride the bus? or do dishes? or want something to listen to while riding their bike?) and because I don’t want my talks judged as papers. But, still curious.

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18 Responses to “Audio vs Text Poll”

  1. Christopher Rodkey Says:

    This is a good question, as I just posted a sermon, which should be an aural experience.

    Before I was marriend and had children, the use of mp3s was a bigger part of my everyday life, even before mp3 players became very fashionable. Now… let’s just say my wife bought me an mp3 player for Christmas two years ago and I had to search through my house to find it recently, and I seem to have lost the connecting cable, so I can’t charge it or use it. Not a real big deal, because I don’t know when I would really use it. I usually listen to baseball on AM radio when I exercise this time of year.

    That said I am teaching an online course where the primary method of delivery of content will be mp3 lectures through Moodle. This is partially because I assume my students would prefer this method.

  2. Fabio Cunctator Says:

    Philosophy talks on headphones while doing the dishes FTW. I actually feel somewhat reassured I’m not alone in this.

  3. Adam Kotsko Says:

    I was the big advocate of text, but it occurs to me that I’m doing a lot of walking around that could be enhanced by listening to audio… on the smartphone I constantly carry with me in any case. Shit! I really wanted to be right on this!

  4. Mark William Westmoreland Says:

    Why not provide both? Surely this would be equitable than either one by itself.

  5. Andy Says:

    Audio every time. Is there a category or something so we can get all the AUFS audio resources in one place?

    I would be really really badly read if I had not read any books on spoken word.

  6. Daniel Silliman Says:

    Both.

    I used audio around the house for dishes, etc., but I find if I want to quote a text, or save a section for further reference, audio is cumbersome and trascriptions of even small sections of text takes time.

    Especially if you have a written version — why not let the reader/hearer decide?

  7. Anthony Paul Smith Says:

    Andy, there is an audio tag on the right. For those who keep asking why not both, as I said, I don’t want my spoken presentations judged as written essays. Nor would I want them quoted! That’s just me.

  8. Mark William Westmoreland Says:

    I wasn’t suggesting that you needed to provide both, rather stating that I don’t have a preference for one over the other. Each one may be beneficial in its own way. For example, sometimes I like listening to Foucault’s lectures at the College de France; other times, I enjoy reading them. On the flip side, I enjoy hearing Tim Robbins read The Great Gatsby but also enjoy actually reading Fitzgerald. And last, I don’t blame you for not wanting your spoken presentations to be judged as essays. I wouldn’t want that either.

  9. Brad Johnson Says:

    Audio audio, all the way audio. It’s one step closer to my end goal of turning AUFS into an erotica podcast.

  10. Mark William Westmoreland Says:

    Sorry, I wasn’t clear. By “Why not provide both? Surely this would be equitable than either one by itself,” I meant why not provide a third choice in the poll. I didn’t mean that you should actually provide links for both an audio clip and a paper.

  11. Anthony Paul Smith Says:

    Oh, I made it just the two to force a choice. You’re right though that providing both would make everyone happy.

  12. christopher Says:

    I definitely prefer text. I like to read on the bus/train and putting a PDF on a Kindle makes it easy enough to carry around. I find it easier to follow along by text than by audio; I’m not much of an audio person. When I do dishes and other chores, I like to let my mind roam in thought (which often leads to me running to a computer or notebook to write down my thoughts).

  13. Dan Says:

    Always text. If one puts enough work into one’s presentations then there should be no fear about it being judged differently by a reader than by a listener.

  14. Anthony Paul Smith Says:

    Guess I don’t put in enough work. But then again, snarky comments would happen anyway.

  15. Evgeni V. Pavlov Says:

    I voted for audio. Reading the comments though I wonder if this is a ‘men are from Mars, women are from Venus’ (remember that nonsense from the 90s?) type of a conversation related to say reading digital books on a screen vs. reading physical books on a couch.

    I find that audio is helpful (and it’s easy to get used to the format) for those times when one simply cannot read – driving, walking, waiting around etc etc – in the last year I’ve ‘read’ several gigantic tomes that I would have never finished in non-audio format, listened to lecture/presentations and so on. Also audio allows for a repeat-listen which is especially helpful when the lecture/presentation is conceptually complex and requires effort (not to say that texts cannot be reread multiple times, of course, but I find that relistening is less of an effort). For example, I listened to these very informative but very technical lectures by Brandom and only, say, on third or fourth time was I able to see a large picture and so on.

    A question: does anyone else experience the distinct difference between comprehending a text (looking, reading, making notes) and comprehending a lecture/presentation (not being able to write things down, holding various threads in your head, making connections etc etc)? I feel that when listening to an audio, I have a bit more freedom of a less concentrated effort to understand – one can drift away, come back, rewind etc etc – while with texts it’s more of a school-like diligence…

    Anyway, sorry for rambling. To sum, in the given choice, I’m for audio.

  16. Adam Kotsko Says:

    I wonder if it would be possible to register a “real” podcast for the occasional audio posts?

  17. Matt Frost Says:

    I have to agree with not wanting oral presentations judged as papers. In fact, most of my oral presentations, while they have the same work in them, are simply not designed to be judged as scholarly papers; they’re twp different media! I just spent two months giving five presentations, and all five could be turned into papers, but they were encoded as persuasive oral rhetoric, several to non-specialist audiences. It takes a good bit of work to re-encode the same topical material for persuasive written rhetoric for an expert audience.

    That said, I cringe when I see audio-only links, because to deal with them I have to go down to single-tasking for exactly as long as the recording takes. I would far rather rip through a transcript, knowing it’s a transcript.

  18. Adam Kotsko Says:

    I’ve gone from being audio’s biggest critic to being its biggest advocate. Listening to academic lectures while doing household chores lets me kick my workaholism to a whole new level.


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