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Michael O’Conner Clarke had a great post (now two) on podcasting and is so right. Well, at least right for the most part.
I read his post and cringed at hearing the truth. We live in a social media echo-chamber, no question. Michael, thanks for coming right out and saying what you did. I am as guilty as the next podcaster in terms of what you wrote but have always tried to remain cognizant of the pitfalls which you outlined. However, I think that things could and should be looked at in a slightly different light. Some points if I may:
First, let’s not forget that it is amateur hour in this self-produced medium. I can’t help but look at efforts in other mediums such as TV, movies or radio and much of what turns up there is pure rubbish too. All of what you said is applicable except that, in those cases, teams of professionals with loads and loads of cash work hard to deliver that garbage season after season. At least we podcasters do it on our own and no expense to any shareholders!
Second, in my case (as well as others I know of) the approach was simply to experiment. Not all experiments work – remember New Coke? The Edsel? But many have worked and I hope that these experiments continue to get better and evolve.
Third, more folks are getting into the conversation. Little by little the echo effect is being reduced. However, we are still a small group standing around the Kool-Aid bowl waiting for the cool kids to arrive.
Fourth, it is all about building community. If my community of listeners are quality listeners then quantity of audience is not important. Walking the talk of stimulating and sustaining a “conversation” makes it all worthwhile – no matter if it takes some stumbling and bumbling to get there. I think the marketing/PR/advertising and tech podcasters are doing a great service in terms of giving back a bit to the community while harnessing the ability to make new friends along the way.
Fifth, this is an on-demand medium and obviously there is a growing demand – even a demand for some of the niche shite that is available. What is that they say about beauty is in the eye of the beholder? Some podcasts are an acquired taste, for others there is always the fast forward, unsubscribe or delete option.
Sixth, the garbage will continue to grow for a while to come before reaching an eventual breaking point. The bad and the ugly will fade away over time leaving only the good and great. But, no one should begin holding their breath for that to happen anytime soon.
Finally, the lot of us in marketing/advertising/communications are silly bunch of self-help junkies who need validation in any form. Be it an award, a mention or quote in a trade mag or a call in comment to our podcast. We are a self-loving (and loathing) bunch. It is an industry thing. Look no further than the titles at a bookstore. Marketing & advertising and communication titles are only outdone in quantity by self-help titles and
Harry Potter.
That being said Michael, I enjoyed your posts and I certainly hope that you were just a bit grumpy that day – but what you said really counts. The follow-up post was excellent and gave some great examples of things to avoid. My overall sentiment is that there are some decent efforts out there in podcastland and many are getting better over time.