Ever determined to be more than just a place to scroll past baby photos, Facebook is continuing to expand itself with Facebook Live Audio, part of their new Live 360 platform. The service, which features live streaming similar to Facebook Live but purely focusing on audio, looks to be the future (as well as competition) of podcasting and live radio. This would make everything from live music streaming, talk radio, and all audio broadcasting an interactive experience. But I do have some issues with that.
Now, to be totally honest, it’s not that Facebook Live Audio is a bad idea by any means. I’ve always been a fan of podcasts and talk radio alike, and truly hope that such a service could be the future of radio. It very well could reimagine the way that we look at broadcasting as we know it.
But here’s the thing: not all media needs to be interactive.
When I sit down and watch a TV show, I want to just sit back and watch a TV show. Trying to interact with Conan while he’s doing his monologue would just seem like work to me. The same goes for podcasts. The very reason I enjoy media such as podcasts and radio is that there is no interaction needed, I just turn my brain off and listen to other people with broader vocabularies than me talk for a bit.
Interactive media as a whole is not a bad thing. In fact, I’ve seen many Periscope and Facebook live feeds that I’ve enjoyed. However, with something like radio, it doesn’t need to be a social experience.
Additionally, the reason I enjoy podcasts is the fact that I don’t have to be listening at a certain time. I prefer to wait a few days and let some episodes accumulate before binge-listening. Having audio content stray away from its on-demand format just doesn’t appeal to me.
Overall, I believe that Facebook Live Audio will be successful. And I could even see myself using it to listen to the occasional podcast. However, at least for me, interactive live media simply isn’t that alluring. I’ll stick to my old 2013 episodes of the Norm Macdonald podcast, thank you very much.