Voice memos

Trying a new medium (speech) to capture pings.

This experiment is ongoing. It started on 28 January 2023

This is an experiment to use speech (read: voice memos) to sketch loose ideas in an effort to explore the following curiosities:

  1. How – if at all – might I refine or iterate upon these sketches?

  2. What – if any – patterns emerge in when, and for what, I choose to use voice to sketch?

  3. What might using another medium of expression (in this case, speech) reveal about what I've come to value/depend on about the medium I've grown comfortable in and practiced with: writing.


Little gestures of ideas will often emerge in moments where exploring the idea would "take me away" from a moment I'd like to remain present within.

To be able to balance the tension between wanting to remain present in these moments and wanting to put the idea into a form that I can iterate upon later, I've historically reached for writing.

Inspired by how Natalia had been using voice notes in the stream we maintain together, I thought I'd try out using speech instead.


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9 April 2023

On Saturday, I was making coffee and I wanted to "capture" the sound of the coffee dripping down from the V60 cone into the coffee that had already accumulated in the caraffe atop which the V60 rested.

So, I took out my phone and started recording. Not too long after, I started talking about something else.

I've noticed this happen a few times: what prompts me to start recording a voice memo ends up not being what I end up spending the majority of the momo talking about.

Right now, I see two bits of information in the pattern above:

  1. I feel comfortable talking [aloud] with myself. It feels natural to me. Once I get going, I do not seem to have difficulty knowing "where to go" next and/or how to go about getting there and ultimately "landing" the note.

  2. It's important that the app make capturing a voice memo as easy as snapping a photo. This way, people feel inclined to act on those little instincts to capture something which could lead to some larger expression.

20 February 2023

Tonight, something new felt like it "clicked" in my mind related to how I've been experimenting with authoring journaling prompts.

It was the kind of moment where I felt like I was brought back to an activity [i] that I thought I had figured out the meaning and inner-workings of.

Although upon revisiting this activity, I noticed something new that led me to think something like, "Hold on...not so fast. I don't have this figured out. I think there's a lot more here than I initially thought."

To capture this new facet, I immediately reached for Twitter to jot it down so that I could let the thought go and return to cooking dinner.

Later, when I returned to my laptop to flesh out this facet, again, I reached for writing. Then, noticing the time (21:40), I thought, "It's getting late and I've got other things I want to do, why don't I just record a voice memo and come back to this another time."

I did just that and yet, I didn't feel the sense of satisfaction and clarity that writing has delivered in the past and that I was seeking in this moment.

"Is it the medium?" I asked myself.

Although, having arrived here and explore this question a bit I'm coming to wonder whether the differentiator in this moment was time...the amount of time I invested thinking about the facet I was motivated to explore. That voice memo is 2 minutes and 59 seconds long. That's not a lot of time to think, regardless of the medium I'm using to think with and through.

--- i. In this case, drafting a prompt in my mind in response to something I was feeling)

9 February 2023

I miss the ability to edit/iterate upon what I've said. Example: tonight I sketched Creating Space. Upon finishing, I thought, "Hold on, I don't feel like 'creating space' quite captures what I'm trying to express here. I think what I'm trying to expresss is closer to, 'I am drawn to co-creating space with other people in service of making an impact together.'" I suppose I could've recorded another sketch, but for a reason I have not yet named, I didn't.

And so to me, that obviously "imprecise" thought lies hanging.

Although, now that I've gotten here, I'm thinking to myself, "Well, why not try recording a follow-up sketch. Alternatively, if/when there becomes a point when you do this kind of sketching publicly, perhaps that gap between what you meant to communicate and what you did communicate could be the invitation someone else needs to feel motivated, welcomed, and safe to participate in the conversation?"

2 February 2023

I've tried using voice memos to express how I'm feeling twice now (ordinarily, I'd reach for writing in these moments).

I have not yet felt satisfied with voice for expressing this kind of feeling/thought. In part (I think) because voice feels too fast for me.

The medium moves at the speed of my voice which is helpful for "getting something down" before it escapes me. Tho, often too fast for me to process how I'm feeling.

I'm not able to write (or more accurately, type) as quickly as I can think. In this context, I find it helpful to be slowed down...to fix typos...to take a moment to re-read the sentence I just wrote before proceeding on...to sigh.

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