What Does the Web Say? Thinking about Sound and the Internet

Aaron Rester  wants us to believe in sound on the Web again.

Rester, of Roosevelt University, used his presentation at HighEdWeb 14 to remind his audience of the bad name sound on websites got in the late 1990s. But he says its time to think about how sound can enhance, and not harm, our web experiences.

To prove his point, Rester went turned off a lot of his slides and immersed his audience in sounds. Much of his presentation, “What Does the Web Say? Thinking about Sound and the Internet” encourages the audience to throw out old ideas about the web and sound.

You know. Midi Files. Like “Ironic” from Alanis Morrisette.

“People remember that and say never again!!!!” Rester said.

However, by going totally soundless “we’re robbing ourselves of the richness of this human experience,” he said.

To compare and contrast he noted the recent clip of the end of Star Wars Episode IV that made the rounds “Star Wars without Williams.”

The scene with other sounds loaded into it because almost ridiculous.

Sound brings listeners to a different place, Rester noted.

The University of Notre Dame’s alumni site plays sounds and a movie each time its loaded. One clip is the band playing Notre Dame’s Victory March, accompanied by a movie of the football stadium early in the morning. Another clip plays the sounds and sights of a dining hall.

“It’s the sound of the band in the stadium or the sounds of food in the dining hall that can evoke nostalgia,” Rester said.

Sound can move a story forward. The NPR show RadioLab is very good at doing this, Rester said. Their sound editing helped spark Rester’s own thinking in assembling his presentation.

Rester noted that SoundCloud’s founder says sound will be bigger than video on the web. That may sound audacious, Rester said, but there’s also something to that.

“The addition of sound…increases the ability to tell compelling stories,” he said.

Sound on the web may not usurp video on the Web, but it is headed into uncharted places and exciting places, he said.

“One day we will look back on the web of today and it will be like looking back at silent movies or at Pong,” Rester says.

You can view, and listen, to more thoughts from Rester here.

 

Midi keyboard image courtesy of Anonymous via CC license