Darren Barefoot has an interesting take on Podcasting and why he’s ‘Not Smoking the Podcasting Dope‘. He raises some good points which are similar to some of the concerns I’ve written previously. He writes that podcasting has a shorter tail than blogging and that its less accessible to podcasters than blogging is to bloggers (to paraphrase just two of his main points).
I agree (with regret) with a lot of what Darren says but still hope that with time Podcasting will take off – I especially think it does have potential to be a powerful medium in some niches and that it has some fascinating applications especially internally within businesses – but overall I think it going mainstream could be a while off (if ever).
Two of the books that come to mind when I ponder the differences between Podcasting and Blogging are The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell and the Unleashing the Idea Virus by Seth Godin. Both of these books talk about how some ideas spread like viruses whereas others do not. I wonder if some of the principles in these books might add to what Darren Barefoot has written. I guess the question I am asking today is ‘Is Podcasting Virus Like?‘
One of the reasons I think blogging has spread so prolifically over the past few years is that it is so easy to spread or sneeze for a number of reasons:
- Blogging is Easy – systems like Blogger make setting up a blog a 5 minute task. If it wasn’t I wouldn’t have started my first one.
- Blogging is Free – similarly most blog systems are free (or relatively cheap) – internet access (even dial up) is all it really takes.
Ok – as I’m typing I can hear my Podcasting friends rebutting my argument – blogging wasn’t always so free and easy – in the olden days (a few years back) it was more complicated. It took time for tools to be developed to make it free and easy. Similarly Podcasting is getting easier and will get cheaper to do which should make it more virus like in time.
I agree with this arguement but there is still one principle of the above books that I’m not convinced about with Podcasting in comparison to Blogging.
- The power of the Link – blogging is so powerful because of the hyperlink. The beauty of the blog that I don’t see in the Podcast is its amazing ability to quickly and easily create conversations between bloggers around the globe with a simple link. These links and conversations ensure a complex network of relationships that make the blogging community a dynamic and addictive one to participate in.
I think this is an element in the virus like growth we’ve seen of late in blogging but it is something I’m not seeing (so far) in PodCasting. Perhaps someone will come up with the ‘audio link’ or some new technology that brings more interactivity to podcasting – in fact I’ve no doubt that some smart cookie will come up with something that takes it into a more interactive space – but until they do I remain a little skeptical about the medium.
I’ll finish by saying these are unfinished thoughts and I put them out there not to condemn Podcasters but because I’m fascinated by the medium and am interested this conversation – share your thoughts below.