Technologically speaking, I am always a few steps behind the crowd. People who don’t know me assume I’m savvy because of age and job (neither of which are relevant to technological expertise), and people who do know me would never make that assumption. Although podcasts aren’t exactly “technology,” this seemed like a good way to get everyone on the same page and lower their expectations for what I’m about to share. Last week, I finally figured out podcasts.
Let me back up a bit. As a kid, I never appreciated my dad’s affinity for talk radio. He spends a lot of time driving, and insists that music is only fun for so long. My annoyance at talk radio (defined by my adolescent self as any radio program with more talking than music) persisted until my freshman year of college. After school breaks, Dad would usually drive me back to Lewiston on a Sunday morning (a 4 hour car ride), and we’d listen to Garrison Keillor. The first time, my iPod was accidentally packed beyond my reach, otherwise headphones would have been lodged in my ears. Now, my opposition to talk radio seems similar to how I viewed “real life” movies when as a young child, not understanding why anyone would be interested in a movie that wasn’t animated (note: I may have actually referred to them as “adult” or “grown-up” movies, which caused some confusion back in the day).
Anyway, these long treks back to Bates became one of those bonding moments, and we always tried to schedule the drive back to Bates during Prairie Home Companion. It also inspired a mid-term presentation on Radio Shows for one of my courses (we talked about the failed broadcast of War of the Worlds). Fast forward to a couple weekends ago, and I was driving back from Connecticut with Alison. Sick of listening to the same music, nostalgia tugged at me, and suddenly I wanted to hear a story. Another friend had recommended the Serial podcast a few weeks before (he’d just driven to Pennsylvania). Without really consulting Alison, I decided that we were going to listen to Serial (which involved figuring out how to access podcasts- something I’d never attempted). After beasting through the series in 30 hours, I decided that it’d be fun to explore what people find so enthralling about podcasts (myself included, now that I’ve figured them out):
1) Head Games. So, in my rambling introduction, I mentioned the sentimental value of listening to a radio show. Others may get that twinge of nostalgia from listening, too. Plus, certain shows, such as Prairie Home Companion and Serial, require a certain amount of mental energy and imagination. You aren’t being shown all the details, so your creative muscles have to flex a bit.
2) Hands free. Audio is a convenient information delivery system. In other words, you can multi-task. If you’re commuting, at the gym, cleaning your house, washing dishes, doing some data entry, you can just plug in your headphones and go. And yes, while stopping to smell the roses is highly recommended, we do live in a fairly bustley world where the more you can do, the better.
3) It’s free. Most podcasts are free for the listening, which, let’s face it, most of us appreciate. I’m not one to turn down free knowledge…More information on how obtaining podcasts here (in case, like me, you aren’t entirely familiar with how the process works and want more information).
4) The possibilities are endless. There are plenty of different topics and formats as far as shows go. You can even create your own for your business- its a similar idea to our Tech Thursday videos- they don’t directly make us money, but they’re informative and we have fun making them.
Call it coincidence, but two days after finishing Serial I saw this article on podcasts and radio broadcasts, which offers the following suggestion:”Rather than listen to the same songs you’ve heard over and over again on your way to or from work, why not keep up with the latest trends of marketing?” (Also, number 5 on the list is Prairie Home Companion, so this seems like a legitimate list). Here’s to listening!