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. However, its importance actually goes far beyond the realm of entertainment.
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. So many news outlets choose to publish through Twitter because its user base typically is out for short information packets and headlines when perusing this website. Another example; If low quality memes, click bait 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 a natural conversations between or from a person/s.
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.
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, not only extremely easy to recall but also a little tricky to negotiate between fact and fiction.
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. As true as this may be, its not the first time where users of mediums have had to take everything with a ‘grain of salt’. I suppose this is the curse of the modern era where information is as free flowing as a busted fire hydrant.
The optimist in me at this stage wants to address 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.
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. This is also a insurance for podcasting’s longevity. Having a significant part of communicating cultural interests means that podcasting, along with all of its content, will not be left in the wake of technological advancements.
A point i find fitting to conclude this conversation into Podcasting comes from communication professional Max Horkheimer. “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.