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The last word on podcasting

For a guy who’s scratching his head at the whole ‘casting “phenomenon”, I sure can’t stop reading, thinking, and writing about them.

Go figure.

Anyway, Paolo Valdemarin shall have the last word:

Everything is packed, especially my hard disk. I have downloaded a whole bunch of podcasts I have not been able to listen to (this is a big issue with podcasts) and I’m kinda looking forward to be stuck at the airport or on the airplane in order to be finally able to listen to all this stuff.

Kudos to Frank for reminding me of this post, which I first saw at Dave’s.

I think this illustrates the basic uselessness of audio blogs. Not only are they huge compared to text, they contain relatively little information. The fact that you can ramble on in front of a microphone does not mean that you are being more coherent than if you sat down with pen, paper, or keyboard and wrote something down. There is very little gain, information-wise.

And lastly, where is the time needed to listen to this? I can scan blogs in the small pauses at work (these are frequent these days), get an idea, act on it, and go on with my work and life. If I listen to a ‘cast in the taco, I’m out and about, and whatever ideas I may get, whatever pointers to new information I may hear about, are gone, unless I sit down and commit them to hardcopy, or visit the home site of the cast to access the links.

What is gained?

Podcasting is a hobby for the idle rich. Only they can afford the time to compose the ‘casts, the money to pay for bandwidth and music licensing and the inevitable litigation, and again, the time to listen to this junk being uploaded, RSSed, downloaded in an unending spiral of digital aural effluvia.

The rest of us will have to content ourselves with text. And that’s an issue of the Digital Divide I can live with. Count me out of the “podcasting revolution”.

Update: Seth Ladd writes in a comment:

You obviously don’t spend 2 hours each day commuting on a bus or train. Time delaying audio broadcasts is perfect for those idle hours.

That’s a valid point. I’d like a way to time-shift regular radio broadcasts, a kind of audio TiVo. But I’m still unsure whether podcasting is the ideal application for this.