[Link] Reading the EA Forum; audio content

by david_reinstein1 min read29th Jun 202113 comments

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Link: https://anchor.fm/david-reinstein/

I wanted some more EA audio content for those long drives/walks/chores, with 'just the substance, not much filler' and 'getting at the most important and cutting-edge topics and discussions'.

Thus, I'm:

  • reading EA forum posts (of interest to me)
  • and comments
  • and reading some links
  • and adding some comments/thoughts of my own HERE (podcast 'found in the struce' available on all platforms).

Feedback welcome, of course. Worth continuing? Any suggestions for what and how to read (& comment perhaps).

So far, I've read+:

  1. "Why I've come to think global priorities research is even more important than I thought" by @bentodd pod-reading

  2. "The case of the missing cause prioritisation research" by @weeatquince pod-reading

  3. Intervention Report: Charter Cities pod-reading 1 and pod-reading-2

  4. "Why scientific research is less effective in producing value than it could be: a mapping" by @ctilli pod-reading

  5. "Opinion: Digital marketing is under-utilized in EA" pod-reading by @JSWinchel

(Disclaimer: the opinions expressed on the podcast are not necessarily the opinions of Rethink Priorities, and I am not doing it in my official capacity at RP, it's my own initiative.)

I think this will help people who have limited screen time get more from the EA Forum. True, there are also good 'text to speech' digitizers. Still, I think a human reading brings more out, and is probably worth the time invested if it's something of interest to multiple listeners. And the person doing the reading also gets something out of it, for maybe not that much additional time cost.

I’d like to encourage others to also narrate/record forum posts. Any takers?

13 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 7:24 AM
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Yes!!! Thank you for this! I absorb audio info much easier & quicker than text, so this will be very helpful.

Edit: also, now that you mention it, I could probably record forum posts myself as well, as there are likely many others like me. Do you want to partner up to coordinate on which posts to read & add a measure of social enforcement?

I don’t have a lot of time in the next few days, but I should be much freer after the 5th.

Yes, let’s do it. Maybe even get a bigger group going.

Nice! Have any preferences for what we use to coordinate together (Slack, Discord, Twitter, WhatsApp, …)? If not, then we can default to WhatsApp.

If you are already on the ea global slack we could start a channel

I am not on the EA global slack.

WhatsApp (or slack) is good. Email me at daaronr at gmail to coordinate?

Doing so now.

I'm keen on the idea in principle. 

I’d like to encourage others to also narrate/record forum posts. Any takers?

I have quite a good mic which I use for the Sentience Institute podcast, and would probably be willing to record myself reading a few posts, if there is no urgent deadline.

Feedback welcome, of course. Worth continuing?

One relevant data point is from Animal Advocacy Careers' experience.

We have a number of "skills profiles" which discuss career paths people could pursue. We have offered each of these in three formats: a detailed version with longer text and citations, a short version in a slightly more casual style, and an audio version (me reading out the brief version). We've found that the brief versions are most popular and the audio versions least popular, by quite a long way.

For example, in the first month we launched them (July 2020), across the 3 different profiles, the detailed versions averaged 62% the number of downloads as the short versions, and the audio versions averaged 6% of the number of downloads of the short versions. 

(Caveat that the accessibility of the audio versions wasn't great when we first launched, but I've improved it since then and the audio versions are still far less popular than the written versions.)

So there might be a little less interest than you expect? You could also ask 80k about how many listens the articles that they read aloud on the podcast get relative to (1) other podcast episodes, (2) page views on the articles. They've only done a handful, and not for a while, so I'd guess the numbers were low. (I'd be interested in their answer though, as I've considered doing the same with the SI podcast.)

 

[Edit, I just realised that you've literally already done this, so feel free to ignore the below]

However, it's worth noting that it might be possible to turn the audio into a podcast and reach a new audience, in addition to providing the additional format for regular readers of the Forum. If you've already recorded the audio, it's not much more effort to add some sort of short, standardised intro+outro, and maybe create a free website (e.g. using Wordpress' basic version) where each time you just post a link to the episode and a link to the original forum post.

For the SI podcast, we use Buzzsprout as the hosting platform, which disseminates your content to all the usual podcast streaming services for $12 per month. Under that plan, you can upload up to 3 hours  of audio per month, or pay $4 per extra hour. This seems like a very small amount if it's a useful service.

So far the episodes I recorded have about 15-20 listens each (although not sure how many listened to the 'whole thing' vs a curious snip).

Seems decent as I haven't promoted it much yet. Probably worth continuing but not yet worth investing a lot in production value... until the listenership goes say, over 100 per episode.

and the audio versions averaged 6% of the number of downloads of the short versions.

What are the base rate numbers here?

For example, in the first month we launched them (July 2020), across the 3 different profiles, the detailed versions averaged 62% the number of downloads as the short versions, and the audio versions averaged 6% of the number of downloads of the short versions.

This changes my estimate of how useful the EA forum podcast will be, so thanks for sharing your experience.

One important difference is that the EA forum is a continuous stream and people probably mostly read posts by the frontpage feed, rather than looking directly for information (which is probably more the case for the skills profiles)

EA Forum podcast” collab seems to be catching on. If you want to be a reader/editor/commenter/organizer, please sign up here and or/contact me or @dothemath