I sat in the audience at SOBCon last May astonished at the presentation given by Glenda Watson Hyatt on accessibility and social media. Glenda, who has cerebral palsy — and I say “has” instead of “suffers from” because if you’ve ever met her, you know damn well she doesn’t suffer from anything — is probably the leading authority on technology and accessibility. I learned that day that for all the people Social Media Explorer serves, it doesn’t serve everyone well. Today, it takes a step closer to doing so thanks to BuzzVoice.
You’ll notice the sidebar now includes a widget, just under the search box, that says, “This Site Talks!” Hit play and you can listen to real time, text-to-voice processing of the posts here. Let it run and you can listen to post after post in reverse chronological order. While the posts as podcasts (yeah, you can even subscribe in iTunes) feature is cool, the reason I’m so excited to be a part of BuzzVoice’s Real Time Radio beta is because it gives a level of accessibility to those with visual impairments.
BuzzVoice, formerly known as PimpMyNews, has been offering their technology up for a couple of years now, but with a primary consumer focus. Their product essentially allowed you to subscribe to your favorite RSS feeds as podcasts. I use BuzzVoice’s iPhone app to listen to my top 6-8 blogs via podcast as I commute to work. While I could certainly take the SME RSS feed and reposition it as a podcast, but making all that work and look nice would probably require more brain power than I have.
Enter BuzzVoice’s new publisher focus with the real time radio widgets. The platform provides real-time audio translations (and the voices aren’t even all that awkward) of your blog to give your audience the ability to enjoy the blog on the go … or if they have visual impairments. The widget allows your blog to become a streaming radio station, of sorts. You can stream live, subscribe to the podcast version in iTunes, access it via the BuzzVoice iPhone app and even grab the widget to share on other sites.
Give it a test drive. BuzzVoice is in beta with the publisher’s platform right now and wants your feedback. Drop them in the comments below or email email@example.com.
While there are just a handful of publishers who are a part of the Beta program, they go live to enable everyone to have their blog offered in real time radio format next month. To ensure your site is in the offering, email them your site’s RSS feed URL at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And they’ve given me 10 private Beta invites to hand out. If you’re interested, drop a request in the comments below. I have to choose the 10 based on some prescribed criteria, but let me know if you’re interested and I’ll reach out if there’s an invite left.