Doubts over Podcasting

While Cam and Mick at The Podcast Network are doing great things, I have niggling doubts about the long-term prospects for podcasting. Darren Barefoot has expressed some of them. My niggling doubts primarily come from the differences between blogs and podcasts, and the technical limitations of podcasting.

  • You can’t mass-consume podcasts like you can blogs, via aggregators. (Okay, so you can see summaries via aggregators, but not the content itself)
  • You can’t scan an audio file like you can a long blog entry.
  • Even on broadband, you don’t get instant gratification when you click on a link to podcast content – you have to wait X minutes, then you get the file, which you have to find time to listen to, and to find the bit you wanted… now, what was it I was clicking on again?
  • Most podcasts I’ve seen don’t have the immediatcy of blogs. There’s an element of post-production involved which inevitably introduces delays to getting the content out to the world.
  • You can’t easily quote a bit out of a podcast, or find a permalink to that specific moment.
  • Which means you can’t find podcasts by searching for keywords, unless there’s a transcript.

So will podcasting go mainstream? Will it knock radio off its roost? Or did video already do that? 🙂 Will the technical limitations be overcome? It’ll be interesting to see how it pans out in the long term.

1 thought on “Doubts over Podcasting

  1. Andy

    It’s interesting I was just thinking along the same lines, as I logged into BlogLines and it’s feature was on podcasts.

    They’re a great idea, but as you say, they most likely won’t endure in the same way as blogs.

    The analogy is that I could download all of BBCs online radio comedy programmes from the web every week, but I don’t – because I don’t have the time to listen to them. I now occasionally download a classic “I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue” or such like.

    Maybe when the human brain evolves enough to be able to listen and comprehend multiple aural streams at once…

    I’ve been reading an interesting book about time, the apparent lack of it, and the general speeding up of everything. This would fit neatly into that book – podcasts would need to be listenable at 10-20 times normal speed to be useful. 🙂

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