My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and the founder/president of Data & Society. Buzzwords in my world include: privacy, context, youth culture, social media, big data. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.

Relevant links:

Archive

podcasting: connecting directly via naming and practice

So, when podcasting first emerged and people told me that it was *the* answer to blogging, i rolled my eyes. I have zero interest in listening to random blogs. While i’m happy to scan across large quantities of text, there’s no way that i have any desire to listen to blogs or produce a podcast. None.

From the beginning, i said that i would like podcasting when NPR was podcasting, when electronic music was podcast and when it was otherwise adopted by people who know how to turn voice into an art. In theory, amateurism is interesting to me; in reality, i don’t want to listen to it.

This morning, i woke up to the word podcast coming out of NPR every few seconds. ABC is podcasting. Wow… i’m impressed. Podcasting is not that old but it has already reached mainstream news. But this actually make sense. They already produce large quantities of media ready-to-go for mobile listening. Why not just deploy it in a new way? This makes complete sense. They are doing their own TiVo for radio (and for TV). The practice is already there. While audio-bloggers have to develop a new practice, radio and TV folks have this medium down. Podcasting does what i’ve wanted Audible to do wrt radio for a while. And it is simpler and quicker.

Second, think about the value of the term “podcast.” What was the number one device sold at Christmas? iPod. The term “pod” is hip, cool and yet mainstream as hell.

I’m super super stoked that the mainstream media has taken this and ran with it – this is impressively fast adoption. There’s only one problem… how are they going to feel when we forward through the ads and NPR’s annoying requests for money? Are we going to see the same TiVo fights on podcasting? Are deals going to be made such that podcasting is limited to just the mainstream folks or iPods are created to not allow forwarding? Goddess, i hope not. As much as i have no interest in listening to any audio-blogs, by all means, let those who do relish in it.

What are the costs of mainstream adoption during the early adopter phase? What does it mean when it fits so well with a practice and yet, allows for a different form of it?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

2 comments to podcasting: connecting directly via naming and practice

  • RE: “the costs of mainstream adoption during the early adopter phase” – back up.. Are you sure we’re still in the early adopter phase w/ podcasting? I think “podcast” all over mainstream media over the past few months says that we’re just transferring to early majority. Diffusion as usual, no?

    RE: fitting well w/ a practice and allowing for a new form — that’s not so rare either. Think TiVo (it does allows practices we’re used to from vcrs, as well as other forms of them along with entirely new practices). Or mobile phones (allow landline practices and…)

    I’m also terrified of the threat of legislation requiring nasty no-fast-forward tech restrictions.. But that’s the same thing we’ve seen with the broadcast flag drama and so on.

    This isn’t a problem stemming from lack of cool-tech exclusivity – it’s a problem with legislation/litigation abuse and unchecked megacorporate power.. Don’t get me started. But NAB/MPAA/RIAA: keep your hands off my ipod.

  • joe

    You should have rolled your eyes… just as if someone had said that voicemail was *the* answer to post-it notes.

    Podcasting, of course, allows for new types of interactions from us amateurs… for example, the reason I’ve started to podcast (once per month, roughly) is because I like how if I review a musical artist, I can include the artists music along with my description of their record. Try doing that with text!