Free sex chats threw mics

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Literally, they involve people sitting, hour after hour, just listening.

To interview tape, to rough scripts, to mixes, to the scoring: all of it with their full attention.

Now, of course, there are certain apps that people expect to use the microphone or a camera -- such as music or TV show identification products.

But it's a bit of a surprise that apps such as the massively hyped (and then quickly panned) Color (which is a sort of photo sharing/location-based info service) is making use of your microphone and camera without most users realizing it: Color uses your i Phone's or Android phone's microphone to detect when people are in the same room.

Mike Elgan, who wrote the article linked above, notes (obviously) that surreptitiously turning on your microphone can provide marketers with all sorts of useful data (ya think?

), so we should expect it to happen more and more often.

I think that’s another reason why we producers can’t seem to explain the value of the work we do, or even the fact that attentive, arduous listening work.

And there’s no good way around that work, because without it, audiences will have a harder time listening when it’s finally their turn.

Take Nieman Lab’s recent five-part series on podcasting, a well-written and -reported series by Ken Doctor — also illustrated five-for-five with stock photos of microphones doing nothing. And I’ll forgive a good mic’s weakness for handling noises, cellphone signals and the slightest puff of air.

Even produced interview shows like This stock photo of a listener is from a lightbox Shutterstock created in response to Julia’s Tumblr.

The collection of photos aims to provide better choices for illustrating articles about podcasting.

Other times, clad in retro chrome, they gleam in the smoky darkness.

They’re stock photos of microphones doing nothing, used to illustrate think pieces on podcasting and radio.

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