We’re used to hearing how digital media makes us feel more isolated — envying someone’s glamorous life on Instagram, feeling left out from all the fun on Facebook — but it’s worth remembering that there are services out there that bring people together, too. One of them is Audrey, a new website that matches up pairs of people to read to one another.
If you’ve already got the warm and fuzzies, it gets better. In each pair, one person is the reader, and one is the listener. The Audrey team pick a surprise book (both fiction and non-fiction), divide it up into five sections of about ten minutes each, and then connect the readers so they can experience it together.
You can choose either audio-only or video too (the Audrey team tells us it’s currently about 50/50), and it’s up to you how often you do your sessions: you could do them all in a week, or take it more slowly.
Pairs are matched up according to shared interests via a quick questionnaire, and have so far included:
- A relationship therapist and medical doctor reading about attachment theory
- An elderly person and an 8 year old reading Roald Dahl: Tales from Childhood [my heart! ❤❤❤]
- A retired judge and a history student reading Darkest Hour, by Anthony McCarten
- A professional musician and a music technologist reading Musicophilia, by Oliver Sacks
- A young playwright and an experienced radio presenter reading Wonder, by R J Palacio
- A comic book illustrator and a children’s drama teacher reading Russian literature
Have you ever heard anything so wholesome?
After the reading session, pairs are free to chat about the book and anything else they want. Team Audrey tells us:
“Almost everyone who tries Audrey is surprised by how the experience leaves them feeling unexpectedly relaxed. Our early adopters are consistently telling us that the intimacy of reading together helps them to feel at ease with their partner and this allows them to build a deeper connection more quickly.
As a result, our small community of users frequently find themselves engaged in conversations with their reading partner that they might not usually have with the people in their day to day lives.”
While we can (sadly) see how some people might abuse the system when it gets bigger, we can also see how Audrey could lead to real, lasting connections and friendship. In fact, we’re already hat shopping for the inevitable first Audrey wedding.