The latest internet kerfuffle has brought home to listeners the fact that we are not all alike, as we have been led to believe. Facebook News Feeds have the Laurel or Yanny debate centre stage, which has captured the ears of the world. The New York Times has sourced the origin of the story back to Lawrenceville, Georgia, and an 18 YO high school student, Roland Szabo. Roland was, apparently, working on a school project and noticed that a voice recording from a vocabulary website was heard differently by those he played it to. An Instagram poll was created and shared across the gamut of social media platforms. Forget Laurel and Hardy, its Laurel or Yanny in 2018.

Marketing Commentators Herald the Coming Online Audio Revolution

I have always said that the current phase of the internet can be compared to the silent movie era and that sound is the coming thing online. As unlimited data plans become de riguour for broadband and larger data plans are available for mobile phones, the obstacles to greater levels of digital audio are being removed. Statistics indicating that in the US some 93% of adults still listen to AM/FM radio, show that our ears are open and ready for business. Australians love their breakfast radio. When you think about popular music and its appeal, audio may have been in a temporary technological cul de sac, but its inherent power never really waned.

Laurel or Yanny?

So, what did you hear? Laurel or Yanny? Those who responded to the lower frequency are in the Laurel camp, whilst us higher frequency folk are hearing Yanny. It brings home the fact that reality is not quite the same for everyone. Our brains interpret things all the time and we all do it slightly differently. We see different shades and colours. We hear different sounds and tones. I do not think we will be seeing the earth’s population splitting into two distinct groupings based on the Laurel or Yanny divide, but you never know.

Here Comes the Talking Internet

Audio is the next big thing in digital marketing and digital technological applications. Will we be listening to the internet more often in the coming months and years? Will aural ads fracture the, online experience for viewers? Will the internet become more like TV, with ads streaming uncontrollably across its surface? Lots of questions that only time will be able to answer. Stay tuned for further developments in the life of ‘the talking internet’. Laurel and Hardy were silent movie stars, Laurel and Yanny are pioneering online sound celebrities, go figure it.