Podcast is a form of Audio Content, which is recorded by one or more hosts that discusses some topics or events. They can be standalone episodes or a series with recurring themes. They are similar to a YouTube video/series sans Video or a Spoken/Discussed QA or Blog. Podcasts are produced from quite a while (Since 2007 as per Wikipedia) and are constantly gaining traction. They are available with-in Music/Audio streaming platforms like Spotify, Gaana or JioSaavn and also have dedicated Apps in form of Apple/Google podcasts, iHeartRadio, etc. They are reminiscent of Radio Shows of pre-television and Internet era.
I have been following and listening to several podcasts from around 1.5 years. I find them to be efficient and quite a favorite way to consume media. Through this post, I want to share, why I find them to be so.
Comparing with a YouTube video, podcasts are less distracting. Many of us find ourselves spending hours on YouTube, moving from one recommendation to other without realizing the time spent. This may decrease our productivity, if it becomes a habit. Videos often serve multiple ads, often un-skippable, and require subscriptions otherwise. Podcasts can also have sponsored sections, but they are skippable. Podcasts serve singular topic and recommendation engines are not as much distracting (yet) compared to Video media at present.
This is yet again a comparison to Video media. Almost all professions deal with Computers on a daily basis. Most of our entertainment content is also in Video format. If something like news can be consumed through Podcasts, we can reduce our daily screen time, considerably.
Podcast content is evolving fast and increasingly versatile. You may not be getting pranker Podcasts but, there are alternatives promoting good Comedy. Most of the podcasts are also focused on a niche, providing analysis and in-depth content. When considering the fewer distractions, they provide crisp content with better value.
Active Listening is an important everyday skill. We must be able to give our concentration to understand and respond to a speaker either in-person or over digital means. Vision makes up the most of our sensory perception. For few people, focus on Images, still or moving, can be a distraction from listening. Immersive podcasts on interesting topics, to self, may promote this kind of attentive listening and understanding.
These are a bit far-fetched ideas. Podcasts can be Music replacement during commute or long work hours. They can simply be a background noise while cooking or cleaning. Maybe, sometimes, an interesting analysis is better than a repeating the playlist? I also found several Audio books for free on Podcast feeds (some pirated). They did help me re-kindle an interest in book reading.
Well, the grass is not always greener on the other side. Podcasts are impressive, but, only the right ones. The community is not yet mature like YouTube, so finding quality content on several niches can be an arduous task and sometimes not possible. Discussion on complex or specific topics may not be feasible without Visuals and also not quite engaging. Also, Most of the time, the content creators do both Audio and Video formats, and release on respective platforms. This is great, yet repetitive.
Podcasts are simply another form of consumption. They have their own audience, creators and enthusiasts. Emerging Social media platforms like ClubHouse are also helping their reach. They can either be helpful or just another distraction, based on the audience. However, if you have not yet checked one, I recommend you to try something in your interest zone. Maybe, it can become one of your favorite pass time.