There have been countless instances where I have referred to podcasts to support an argument I’ve had with friends and family. “I was listening to this podcast the other day…”, is essentially a simple way of saying, “listen adversary, my knowledge on the subject is far superior to you as you see I bequeath my time to learning outside of my tertiary studies.”
All old timely passages aside, there is some truth in what is being said. Personal On Demand broadcasting or Podcasting as it’s known can be an entertaining, informative form of media. Its importance actually goes far beyond what you may perceive it to be.
Podcasting has really started to gain traction in the last 10 or so years. Its huge success is credited to its simplicity to set up, spreadability as a informative source and its conversational easy to follow progression through topics.
That cheeky word I just used, Spreadability, refers the style and ease by which media is consumed within a society. For example; Twitter compliments the way in which News articles are spread and consumed, many news outlets publish and retweet articles through this medium. This is the critical design feature of Twitter. Short, rapid bits of information. Another example; If low quality memes and personal information is the butter, your better believe Facebook is the toast. The style of spreadability for podcasting is having the leisure to listen at your own time and place through online podcast portals.
For a one way one way communication channel it really has been making waves. Here are some quick facts on the technology:
As a producer of the medium, on average 88% of your content is consumed by your subscription base.
As an advertising space, producers can expect $220 million of revenue to be injected into their industry. An 85% jump from 2017 with growth expected to continue similarly in the coming years.
The average listener consumes more than 105 minutes of audio per day compared to your average person. (remember these we will bring them up later !)
The real beauty in this medium is how it is strengthening the public sphere. That being, conversations that mean the most to people and communities. Conversations that people are invested in and are passionate about, separate from any financial or political agendas. And, for the majority, these are conversations that greatly favour our own interests and hobbies.
Now, before moving on I want to address a term called Salience. Salience is the ease by which issues and information can be retrieved from our memory. It has a huge role in giving people confidence to make informed divisions.
So when you are dealing with an audience that , on average, consumes 88 percent of your content equating to 105 extra minutes of audio information, the salience of issues addressed in these podcasts can become a little tricky to negotiate between fact and fiction.
If I were a pessimist, at this stage I would be inclined to say that the tool of podcasting can cause corruptions and assists even further in not fully understanding some of the realities of the world we live in. As podcasters become overnight celebrities gaining huge amounts of traction and following, the public can misidentify these people as subject matter experts when in fact they are just a celebrity giving out misinformed opinions.
Yet the optimist in me would then have to explain that this easy to set up form of media coverage has strengthened our interests in education, brought legitimate subject matter experts into the light of the public, that may of other wised slipped by. Additionally encouraging greater academic fields. For example; if you have ever been captivated by a Ted talk and research further about the professionals field of work.
*Records scratch. Freeze frame*
Editors ramble; Some of the biggest podcasts are individual teams of people, separate from any major news corporations. The paradox here being, when does a independant podcaster become a news corporations as defined by their ability to influence and inform public salience? Do they have a duty to recognise this capacity? should there be any regulations to this ‘1%’ of producers.
anyway, back to the article.
Podcasting’s real capacity is its importance to culture. At a time when globalisation has rocked national values and identities to the core, peoples are holding tightly onto the things that make them, them. Their interests, art, comedy, views and opinions, religious backings ect ect. As a tool to preserve these values and identities Podcasting is invaluable.
Its also going to be here for the long run. The insurance in this comment is specifically through its relationship with keeping culture and interests alive. Having a significant part of communicating cultural interests means that podcasting will not be left in the wake of technological advancements.
A point raised by communication professional Horkheimer and Aforno says “Man must embrace web technology, he is no longer rendered passive in the face of the industry, he is able to accept what is offered and use these tools to make his opinions heard”. Podcasting has offered the public these tools. It protects voices of opinions and cultures, no matter the stance and connects it to the audience, strengthening that community.