Saturday, May 14, 2005

On podcasting and patience

CNet’s Charles Cooper on the podcasting fad:

The blunt truth is that much of the current podcasting fare simply is lame, unless you’re into hearing narcissistic ramblings and wonder-of-me routines that go on forever; unless you’re fond of on-air phlegm-clearing and bad FM-radio-voice impersonations; unless you’re a fan of loudmouth no-nothings spouting off on their latest pet peeve.
Text blogging is, of course, not without it’s share of narcissism; but somehow, audio seems a lot more self-indulgent.

I’m reminded of this lovely turn of phrase in Maciej Cegłowski’s rant, Dabblers and Blowhards:

You can still hear him snorfling cashew nuts and talking at length about what it means to be a blogger.

But for me, the nail in podcasting’s coffin is this: with audio, I’m forced to consume at your pace, not my pace. And frankly, I don’t have the patience. I can read a two-page article in a few minutes; but if I have to listen to you reading it, I’m looking at ten or fifteen minutes. I can skim and skip in text. I can’t skim audio, and I can’t skip over audio easily because unlike text, I can’t see the structure of the piece.

So, unless it’s something which has been recommended as particularly good (for example, Malcolm Gladwell’s SXSW keynote), I won’t bother listening to podcasts. Life’s too short.

The same goes for video blogging. There’s lots of interesting stuff happening over at Channel 9, Microsoft’s video blog project; but I don’t have the patience to sit through 15 minutes of interview for a few interesting titbits.

There’s an easy solution to all of this: provide a text transcript alongside the multimedia content. That way, I can read at my pace; I can skim; I can decide whether I want to listen or watch. And there’s two further benefits: the content becomes visible to search engines; and it becomes easily excerptable for anyone who wants to discuss it.


Maciej also has a very apt post about podcasting:
That’s here. Bravo.

And for the audio-impaired or impatient, a transcript: whoo-hoo.