Sunday, 21 April 2013

A Podcast A Day Keeps Boredom At Bay

When I was 13, me and a close friend of mine used to listen to Ricky Gervais' famous podcast, with Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington. I'd consider us to be one of the earlier adopters of podcasting, although certainly not the earliest. The Ricky Gervais Show was one of those podcast series that helped bring podcasts to the mainstream, but for the last few years I had completely lost touch with them. Before I stopped listening, I observed The Bugle for a long time, The Russell Brand show, till it hit an unfortunate scandal, and I could never forget the numerous IGN gaming podcasts through the week. I'm glad to say that in the recent weeks, my podcast affections have returned. Podcasting has come a lot further since Ricky Gervais proudly touted about having the most popular podcast on the web, but it's not changed by leaps and bounds.

On the one hand, it's a much more popular format, so much so that I can have enough podcast to fill my 90 minutes of commute every day. It's weird, because about 2 or so months ago I was trialling Spotify and other music discovery apps, to try and keep myself discovering new music I liked, because my commute was filled with tired crap, and a huge collection of overplayed songs from my earlier years. Now I don't have to care about music, because I've got enough podcast to fill all that time. Apologies if this is not news to you, but the amount of interesting podcast available out there was news to me!  It shouldn't be a surprise really - we've had 24/7 radio for years, and if they can fill the airwaves with that endless drivel, there was bound to be enough content amateurly produced once the format was available and simple to use. Podcasting arrived full fledged at some point. I'm not sure when it happened, but it has, and there's so much of it!

One thing the format could definitely use is more video adoption. I'm supposing YouTube harbours most of the online video content because of its underlying utility as a social network, as opposed to being simply for video consumption. However, since many podcasts seem to post their videos on their YouTube channel anyway, there definitely seems to be some work we can do to bring some collaboration between these formats. Could we foresee a future where podcasting has social plugged in? Who is even meant to work on these standards - leaders in RSS or someone like Apple who manufactures to most widely used platforms for podcasting? I haven't really thought much about this yet, and I don't really understand a lot of the technicalities involved - but I'd love to talk to someone who does know about this stuff.

Anyway, I'm glad I decided to come back to listening to podcasts. I'm really tempted to start my own, but I wouldn't know where to start, or with whom. There are probably many factors that led to me listening to less, but one important one is that there's no prominent podcast app plugged straight into Android; I'm guessing because Google doesn't really provide such a service. Furthermore, since the sunsetting of Google Reader the company seems to be leaning further away from doing this, rather than the other way round. It would be great to see them build something, not least because I'm sure YouTube and Google+ collaboration might bring about some of that built in social functionality.

Podcasts I'm currently subscribed to:

The Android app I ended up going for was Pocketcasts. At €3.13, I'd consider it premium for what it does, and it's not flawless, so I'm keeping my eyes open for alternatives.