Podcasting killed the video star July 1st
There’s a tendency to forget that the ‘social web’ can just be about technology creating new and exciting ways to do what we’ve been doing for many years.
Until the printing press, the spoken word was really our only tool for sharing knowledge with large numbers of people. It was rather inefficient. It took lots of time to share your story, and the number of people you could tell was bound by your location and how interested your audience was.
I think that the spoken word sometimes gets missed out when we think about how people communicate online.
Podcasts have been around on the Internet for what seems like a very long time, and for me they are a crucial way of keeping up to date with everything from the Archers to the euro zone. It’s very easy to recommend things based around written content, but the Podcast remains a powerful a tool for consuming content on the social web for a few reasons:
1. You hear the voice and the emotion of the person speaking. This is really important. Think about the last great presentation you saw. It’s likely you remember as much about how the speaker spoke as to what they actually said. A podcast is a chance to bottle that feeling along with the message you’re trying to convey.
2. It’s a scalable way to share your story with people. Prior to podcasting, Radio was really the only way to use the spoken word to broadcast your thoughts. Radio is expensive, but you can buy the tools you need to record a podcast for a tiny fraction of that. Beyond the cost, Podcasts are inherently sharable — you record the item once and your audience can share it for you.
3. It’s better than live Radio. Just like time shifting is become a trend for TV, podcasting is an easy and convenient way of consuming spoken word content whenever you like. I’m often on a train to work for the Today programme, and I regularly sleep in past the Archers omnibus, but I can subscribe to both those podcasts and listen to them whenever I like.
If you’re interested, let me recommend a few outstanding podcasts:
- Back to Work — A podcast ostensibly about ‘getting better a work’. Really an irreverent chat between Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin.
- Test Match Special — As you’d expect from a cricket fan, a fantastic summary of the day’s (or week’s) play.
- You Look Nice Today — Hard to describe. Everything from babies, sartorial advice and film editing.
- On The Verge — High production value, video podcast about tech.
- Friday Night Comedy — Radio 4′s comedy staple.
I subscribe to these using Instacast, which is still the best podcasting app for iOS devices. It downloads new episodes instantly, and has the best UI of any app I’ve tried.