I may not entirely get it, but I can’t ignore it, so herewith some thoughts and predictions on the subject, plus obviously, a teeny little podcast.
Let’s start with Adam Curry’s Jan. 3rd Daily Source Code, which I listened to last night. Adam points out that podcast-listening is an activity best suited to when you’re chilling out, kicking back, getting high, whatever. I’d re-spin that slightly to say it works best when you’re awake but doing something that’s occupying only part of your attention. The canonical example would be commuting, I guess, something I’ve carefully structured my life to avoid. But last night I was slide-scanning, which qualifies: (here’s a bit of the harvest: two cemetery shots, sometime in the Eighties, from the islands of Hawai’i and Kauai).
Would I Listen? · Probably not to Adam; maybe once he gets past talking about podcasting all the time, he’s probably more interesting on music and pop-culture. He’s got a radio voice all right. Maybe I’m just too much of a curmudgeon to enjoy cheerful chatter about using Abba-tested techniques to protect your hair from your headphones. And frankly, if what Adam was passing along was the best of the best from the podcast world, we’ve got a long way to go. I find Dave Winer more content-ful, and he turns out to have a real interesting voice.
But at the end of the day, I still think the killer app is music.
And I’m pretty sure that when the subject is technology, I’d rather read about it than hear about it. One reason is the interactivity.
’casting Isn’t Conversing · Any activity with “casting” in the name suggests one-to-many, and indeed, I think podcasting is way less interactive than conventional blogging. The reason is that when I’m reading a blog, I’m 100% engaged and I’m sitting at a keyboard. If something strikes a chord, it’s a matter of seconds to write in response; either one-on-one to the author, or to the author and the world via ongoing.
Now, for listening to music, the interactivity deficit isn’t a problem. But blogging is better than conventional publishing precisely because, at an essential level, it’s two-way.
So I’m still waiting for musicians to start podcasting to route around the wasteland of commercial music radio.
It’ll Catch On ·
Whatever the right niche is, I’m betting that podcasting is going to catch
on fast and big, for one reason: it’s so incredibly easy.
To prove it,
here is a little chunk of
audio, which has been duly flagged in my RSS feed as an
I got the idea this morning, and in between the usual email and phone calls and other work, I figured out how to get QuickTime Broadcaster to record off the iSight’s (fairly decent) microphone, and then used Rogue Amoeba’s Audio Hijack Pro to turn that into an MP3, and then did a half-hour’s tinkering with the ongoing publishing software to get things right. The background music is from DAC Crowell, whom I recommend highly.
Now, it could have been done a lot better and there’s a big slippery slope of sound capture and mixing and enhancing tools waiting for the unwary, but the easiest possible way turns out to be good enough.
When there’s something that produces an effect this dramatic, and with a barrier to entry this low, chances are somebody’s going to figure out how to make something happen with it.