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 LogoBuzzVoice, 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 publishers@buzzvoice.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 publishers@buzzvoice.com.

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.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments & Reactions

Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://primecutsblog.com justinlevy

    This is a great idea! I have loved the concept of BuzzVoice since it was PimpMyNews for exactly the same reason why you have found it interesting. It is important to find different ways to provide content to the community since different members of the community have a want or need to receive content in different formats.

    If you have an invite left, I'd love to bang on it over on my blog…

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks, Justin. Glad to pass you along to John and the gang. I love
      what they've done.

  • http://www.sheilasguide.com Seafarer

    Hi Jason, I'd love to try this on my blog for social media and tourism, if that works for the beta testing.

    The URL is http://www.sheilasguide.com

    Thanks!

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      I'm sure it'll work. Will pass it on. Thanks Sheila.

  • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

    I'm sure it'll work. Will pass it on. Thanks Sheila.

  • http://www.techipedia.com Tamar Weinberg

    That's awesome, Jason. Would love to check it out.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      I'll make sure you get through to John, then. Thanks Tamar!

  • http://twitter.com/JohnAtkinson JohnAtkinson

    Jason, thanks for installing the BuzzVoice widget for our publisher beta – and for writing such a thoughtful post.

    I really appreciate all of the great suggestions you've given us, and I'm looking forward to hearing the feedback from your audience.

    John Atkinson, BuzzVoice Co-Founder & CEO

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thank you for doing it, John. It's great to have a combination product that not only can make money, but serve a community need. You've got a great thing there. Keep up the good work.

  • http://www.doitmyselfblog.com GlendaWH

    Awesome, Jason! Not only will BuzzVoice benefit readers with some kinds of sight impairments, but also individuals with some cognitive impairments, such as dyslexia. Also, people learning English will be able to listen to the audio and follow along reading the text. Definitely many benefits to having posts available as audio.

    Congrats on taking another step in making your blog more accessible, Jason!

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      It's great to hear that from you, Glenda. Thank you for helping educate me
      (and thousands of others) on the challenges some have in accessing our
      information. I know the BuzzVoice folks have talked to several organizations
      in the visually impaired world and that their service doesn't meet all the
      best practice standards, but it sure is a step in the right direction, I
      would expect.

      Thank you for doing what you do! You're an angel. Honored you would come by
      and comment.

      • http://www.doitmyselfblog.com GlendaWH

        Jason, accessibility begins with awareness followed by taking one step at a time. You and BuzzVoice are heading in the right direction. For that, I thank you.

        • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

          Honored you'd say so. Thanks a million … for that and the inspiration to do something other than hope someone does it for us.

  • http://www.itsoktobedifferent.com/ Lisa Vaughn

    Hi, I am new to the socail media network and need some advice in how to get a following. I'm currently writing an autobiography, “Am I Different, Mommy?” I have severe cerebral palsy and you can read a little about me at http://www.facebook.com/itsoktobedifferent and my website http://www.itsoktobedifferent.com My youtube channel is lisaashtab. I need more followers but not sure where to go from here.
    Lisa Vaughn

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks for letting us know about your site, Lisa. Keep pushing out good
      content and engaging people around the topic. Your audience will grow! Good
      luck.

  • http://www.pmecb2b.com/ Insurance Telemarketing

    That's awesome, I get my blogs on the go!!

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks for letting us know. Good to know people are using services like
      this.

  • http://dannybrown.me Danny Brown

    Hey there big guy,

    I've been trying Odiogo out on my blog, but the features on BuzzVoice, along with the app implementation, seem to make it a more viable option. If there's a spare invite left (and Levy hasn't taken them all for his steakhouse!), would love to give it a spin.

    And agree 100% – Glenda suffers nothing :)

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks Danny. I think you'll like BuzzVoice. I'll also look at Odiogo.
      Not familiar with them. Thanks!

  • http://dannybrown.me Danny Brown

    Hey there big guy,

    I’ve been trying Odiogo out on my blog, but the features on BuzzVoice, along with the app implementation, seem to make it a more viable option. If there’s a spare invite left (and Levy hasn’t taken them all for his steakhouse!), would love to give it a spin.

    And agree 100% – Glenda suffers nothing :)

  • stephsammons

    Hi Jason, this is really cool. I'd love to try it out if you've got any invites left.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      I'll see what we can do, Steph. Thanks for asking and checking it out!

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  • iancleary

    Hi Jason, I find it hard to get through all my reading in one day but I don't get best use out of travel time in the car. BuzzVoice is perfect for me. So if you've any spare beta invites send one on and I'll promote in Ireland! My background years ago was originally in Quality Assurance so I'll be able to give some good feedback. All the best, Ian

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Glad to do so, Ian. Will pass on the request. Thanks for commenting.

  • http://www.TheSocialMediaBible.com StevenGroves

    Jason, if you have any more of the beta invites… could you slip me one?

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      I'll see what I can do, Steven. Thanks for asking!

  • http://twitter.com/ClearHelper Clear Helper

    BuzzVoice may not yet be a text-to-speech panacea for your blog.

    I opened your blog post entitled “BuzzVoice Makes Blogs Accessible, Portable” directly from a link in a Tweet. I clicked the play button in the BuzzVoice widget. I was flummoxed because the text being read was not that of the post I was viewing, nor could I find the text on the page. I did see your description that “… you can listen to post after post in reverse chronological order …”, but I did not realize at first that I was not viewing your blog's home page / latest post. I suggest that visitors to your blog who, like me, arrive on a page other than its home page, may be confused when they try the BuzzVoice widget.

    Also, I could not navigate to the BuzzVoice widget using only a keyboard. (Once I changed focus to it by clicking it with the mouse, its buttons were navigable by keyboard.) I have found this to be common in my testing so far of Flash-based TTS applications, such as BuzzVoice. I am sure you know that keyboard access is important for the many people who, because of their disabilities, can not use a mouse.

    Finally, there are features that could be implemented in the BuzzVoice widget to make it more accessible to people with cognitive disabilities, who are typical users of TTS applications. Audible- and visible text labels for the buttons would be good. Larger buttons and an interface without all the distracting content are other such features.

    All that said, I think it is fine to employ TTS applications despite their shortcomings. Any accessibility improvement is a good one if it opens up content to people who would otherwise be unable to access it.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks for the feedback, Clear. I alluded to the fact that BuzzVoice doesn't
      meet tghe full set of requirements to optimize websites, applications and
      widgets for the visually impaired. They know that and have been trying to
      balance developing an accessible product with creating a business-driven
      one. Sometimes those don't overlap well as I'm sure you can imagine.

      I love the fact you pointed all this out, though, for all to see. It's good
      for the readers to see that there are lots of considerations that should go
      into technology so we can ensure we're making applications for everyone to
      use. Thank you for that.

      And thank you for noting that a step in the right direction is worth
      applauding. I know a little more accessible isn't going to serve everyone.
      BuzzVoice knows that, too. Hopefully, they can continue to improve their
      tool and folks like me can continue to find ways to improve our
      accessibility in many ways.

      Thanks for the testing and feedback. I'm sure John Atkinson from BuzzVoice
      will check it out, too.

      • http://twitter.com/JohnAtkinson JohnAtkinson

        Clear Helper, Thank you for the well thought out feedback. The opportunity to get this kind of input is why we chose to run a private beta progam.

        As Jason's reply indicates, our aim is offer a solution for a wide audience. I'm happy to hear that you feel it's a step in the right direction. We'll continue to look at ways to improve the service.

  • http://twitter.com/married Patty Newbold

    I think this new widget is great! Thanks for telling us about it. If you have any more of those early adopter Beta invites left, I would love to have one for AssumeLove.com

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks Patty. I'm not sure if I'm out or not, but will check and get in
      touch with you if I've got one left.

  • http://twitter.com/JohnAtkinson JohnAtkinson

    Clear Helper, Thank you for the well thought out feedback. The opportunity to get this kind of input is why we chose to run a private beta progam.

    As Jason's reply indicates, our aim is offer a solution for a wide audience. I'm happy to hear that you feel it's a step in the right direction. We'll continue to look at ways to improve the service.

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  • anne jaa

    This widget is simply awesome!BuzzVoice makes your favorite news and blogs talk to you and so you can listen to the stories you wish you had time to read while you get things done!I would like to know more so i will keep visiting often.

    investor business daily

  • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

    Glad to be of service. Thanks for stopping by!

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    This is a nice blog. In this blog , this is an interested topic. It's good to be together for a product that not only can make money but to serve the community is necessary. Have a good story there. Keep up the good work. I liked the concept Buzz voice when he was PimpMyNews the exact reason why you even found it interesting.