Carry around a voice recorder (Exercise #5)

April 26, 2006

Why is it that nobody likes to hear their voice when recorded? Because it sounds strange, as if we were speaking through somebody else's body: our words, their voice. And for some reason the voice usually sounds particularly idiotic, not the articulate, insightful voice that we hear in our own heads.

It's rather jarring, actually. It makes you realize that other people hear you completely different than you hear yourself. The next question to ask is, "Do I want to know what I sound like?" It's a difficult question to answer, actually… because most likely it will involve some kind of dreaded "coming to terms with reality" that is never really a great time a first. But what can be a great time is knowing exactly how you sound around others, especially after you've given it a bit of conscious attention and are a little more happy with it than you originally were. Knowing that you have an accurate picture of yourself is rewarding (not to mention useful).

I meet up with friends once a week to drink and hang out. The last couple weeks I've brought a digital voice recorder and have conducted short friend interviews. They're fun in the sense that you can laugh about the stupid things you were talking about the next day, but they're also useful in the sense that everyone gets to hear how they sound and it's a friendly environment so nobody has to feel too self-conscious or awkward about it. Everyone sounds like a dork. It can actually be a bonding experience.

Even by simply carrying one around with me everywhere, it makes constantly aware of the possibility of having the conversation recorded and also makes me pay a little more attention to the quality, tone, and content of random conversations through the day.

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