Today, techmeme has an interesting discussion on Podcasts…Guess why? Partly because of Scoble’s recent response to an earlier post from Peter T Davis.
Since I focus for a bit on corporate podcasting as part of my day-to-day work as well as my interest in all developments this side of the web 2.0 world, I thought it’d be “smart” for me to respond to the questions regarding the viability of podcasts as an effective content dissemination medium, but I thought I’d do that in conversational style (Imaginary, of course, but all quotes are verbatim from their respective blogs):
Peter T Davis: “I’ve been following some podcasts on and off for the past six months or so, and have begun to question whether it’s an efficient use of my time”
Me: Why do you say so, Peter?
Peter T Davis: “In the time I can listen to an average podcast, I could have caught up on my 50 favorite blogs, or read a chapter in a book, or read the latest issue of Red Herring magazine.”
Me: You’ve got to be kiddin me?
Peter: No! “I do read super fast. It’s a habit I learned as a grad student. You learn to read fast in grad school, or you get crap for grades. Podcasts deliver information slowly.”
Me: C’mon Peter, you must be reading (I mean hearing) really long and boring podcasts! And in my opinion that’s not an ideal use of podcasts…Let’s see what our friend Scoble has to say on this…
Scoble: Peter “is right“.
Scoble: Well, not really, be”cause I’d love Peter to explain to me how he reads RSS when he’s driving or Or, as someone told me recently, while walking in the Scottish Highlands. Or, try exercising while reading a Tablet PC.”
Me: Well, my guess is that Peter does that really fast as well and he probably doesn’t walk in the Scottish Highlands . What do you say Peter?
Peter: “Well, sure, I bet there are a couple of people out there somewhere who’d want to listen to a podcast during their daily commute. But, I really have a feeling that this is a classic case of filling a need that very few people need filled.”
OK, I can’t take it anymore! This imaginary conversation is getting to me. But there were a couple of interesting points brought up by this. I know I’ve covered podcasts briefly in my earlier post on Podcasting 101, but let me attempt to clarify some of the more modern uses of podcast atleast in the corporate arena (particularly since I meddle with such technology in my day-job).
1. There are 3 kinds of podcasts I see increasingly:
a. Amateur podcast: You and I can create any podcast we so desire and can inflict unbearable torture on the common public.
b. Professional radio content: Check out NPR’s Podcast directory. Need I say more…
c. Corporate podcast: These are sometimes created by Fortune 500 companies but are increasingly being crafted by professional podcasters such as Podtech.net.
2. Erstwhile, podcasts were boring, long, and unbearable but times are a changin! Here are some innovative usage of podcasts:
a. Bearing Point: By far, the best and most effective utilization of corporate podcasts. Check out a case-study of how they used podcasts to increase downloads of white papers. For more on how they did it, check out “How to use podcasts to build brand buzz” by Paul Dunay on his blog. Paul is the brains behind Bearing Point’s experiment on Podcasts.
b. NPR – By far , the best and most effective utilization of podcasting to back-up their existing radio shows (see above).
c. Podtech.net (where Scoble is joining shortly) is one of the three fast-growing web-channels were you can reach out for professional technology content. Think NPR meets Google! I’ve spoken to John Furrier a few times in the past and I think he’s really the MAN w/ the PLAN. His hiring Mr. and Mrs. Scoble, really proves he knows a lot about great PR.
Podcasts is to audio content what TiVo is to video content; anywhere and everywhere. You should be able to pull-up audio content you’ve heard anywhere and listen to them anytime at your convenience. In my opinion, ideally a podcast should be around 5 minutes in length unless it’s super-interesting content (think NPR, MTV). Even if you’re listening during your commute you are inclined to doze off on the wheel after 15 minutes on a topic. NPR does a great job providing feeds for all their daily news items. So if I can only listen to half a news item/interview I go back home and download and listen to the rest.
Currently, podcasting is a great addition to your existing media of communication with your target audience. However it’s still evolving and I’m sure it’ll be a focus of both corporate and radio channel interest down the road. I’m glad it’s getting its share of the spotlight following Scoble’s arrival. It may be the start of good times for the podcasting industry in general. He brings a dose of genuineness and serves as a reality-check for this fast growing industry. Check out Scoble’s accurate and self-deprecating take on his new company’s Podcast’ness. Kudos for infusing some reality into this space, Scoble.
Mark Ramsey, are you hearing me? Any thoughts?
Quick Update: Check out my friend Jeremiah’s 2cents on this podcast debate. In particular, I like his spin on podcasting, which he defines as “an Ambient Medium“.
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