Podcasting – who has the time for the buggers?
Don’t turn me off
Ever go to a webpage only to find the extension of someones ego splattered all over it by way of a ‘cheery’ little ditto or cheesy corporate adblurb? You know the type, ‘Welcome to wearefeckingreat.com the leading innovator in top notch BS’.
I guess its one of the reasons why I browse with my audio switched to off. If its 3am and my kids are asleep, I really don’t need them hearing it. Why do people do this? God knows; bad design choices I guess. Too much of an ‘Oh I love what I have so much I want to force it on every person who shows up’ syndrome going on.
IOW sound for some of us,just doesn’t cut it. We don’t want it shoved in our mushes, choice is the order of the day. Which brings me on to a particular blog fad that I’ve seen pop up here and there.
Grab hold of my ear
I’ve listened to a few podcasts, especially if the people behind them are fairly well known in my little fishpond. After all, they may be saying something that shakes a tree for me. Most of the time though, its a bit of a switch off, or to be more precise an ‘I won’t even click the play button’ moment.
Some implementations are great. I love those little flash embeds. They look pretty cool and fairly unobtrusive. I’ll often find myself scanning the comments that follow them and see if anyones saying anything noteworthy. Where this is the case I might be persuaded to click the play button and hear it for myself.
I remember a short while back there was a hoohar over at Threadwatch whereby this John Calacanis character had allegedly said SEO is bullshit in a keynote at the Search Engine Strategies conference. At the outset the quote was disputed. Some people were saying he did, others were saying he didn’t and then someone pasted a link to the audio files and so ended the debate. He did.
Ok, so strictly speaking the incident I refer to wasn’t a podcast, at least not in the sense of any strict definition. The definition I’m alluding to is more like the one used by Nick who first used the format back in November 2006. I listened in, and at the time as I had pretty much nothing else going on so sat through the full half hour or so that it entailed.It was fun, I liked it, twas different and he done a fine job. Did I listen in subsequently? No, simply because they were too bloody long or I got diverted elsewhere. I note today though, that he has shortened them considerably and is experimenting with 5 minute slots.
Short and sweet
And therein is the thing, its all about time and deciding where to best allocate it. If Im reading a blog or a reader, I can scan through and look out for headlines and words that have appeal. If I see a podcast on a blog, be they well known or not, I’m inclined to switch off, especially if I see something like running time:43 minutes:23seconds. It induces the thoughts, ‘oh feck that, thats too long’ and I’m off, they’ve lost me. For me, the limit really is 5 minutes max, anything more and I’m thinking nah. Hey, theres an idea. A Pligg for audio ‘podigger’. A system whereby people with way too much time on their hands could post links to really cool podcasts… no please, really I’m just kidding.
Who are ya, who are ya!
Utlimately, I guess its a reputation thing. Who really wants to listen to some random prick ranting off about some lot of old bowlocks that adds little to any value to your life? Precisely, no one. Whereas if they are known to you, then you might be inclined to think, hmmn hold on, Ive read this guy, maybe they are worth a few minutes of my attention span.
Which is where good layout and design comes into its own. All those blogcasters and podcasters or whatever you want to call them out there need to either keep what they are saying short and sweet, or if they can’t do that, then it would be helpful if they at least consider adding a list of bulleted headings with links to the time frame even, so that people like me can tune into the parts we are interested in.
Until some clever bugger comes up with a way of converting podcasts into text files, then for me they will continue to be little more than a thing I’m driven to by others, rather than a thing I’ll be going out looking for.Posted on: 30th January 2007, by : Rob Watts