Peter says podcasting is inefficient

Peter Davis says: "In the time I can listen to an average podcast, I could have caught up on my 50 favorite blogs, or read a chapter in a book, or read the latest issue of Red Herring magazine."

You might be shocked to hear me say this, but Peter is right.

So, why am I joining a podcasting company if Peter is right? Cause I'd love Peter to explain to me how he reads RSS when he's driving. Or, as someone told me recently, while walking in the Scottish Highlands.

Or, try exercising while reading a Tablet PC. I've tried, it doesn't work for me.

Walking around town with my SmartPhone out and reading it gets me branded a freak.

See, what you're missing is podcasting opens up a new usage model that text can't serve.

How about video? Here, let me show you Halo 3. Well, not. It's top secret and they won't let me into see that. Smart people over at Bungie. Heheh. But, let's say it was being released today. What would be better? A 10,000 word essay on what's new? Or one minute of video showing you the new features?

When I hang out with developers they tell me "use the right tool for the job." If you want to communicate with other people text will do the job more times than not. But, if you want to reach people where they are likely to use an iPod then audio is better. If you have something visual, photos or video is better.

Imagine that you read the report of the Hindenberg disaster instead of listened to it (Real Media player required). Some things need to be heard.

148 thoughts on “Peter says podcasting is inefficient

  1. Peter is right when he says podcasts are inefficient, since the content behind it is inefficient.

    However I’d have to disagree on the fact that it cannot replace text content. Multi-media content is the wave of the future (both for web and mobile) and I think slowly but surely the rest of the world (amateur and corporate), will come to realize its effectiveness. But that cannot happen without proper changes in the format/structure of the content itself.

    Good luck at Podtech.net.

    - Mario Sundar
    Marketing Nirvana
    http://mariosundar.wordpress.com/

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  3. Peter is right when he says podcasts are inefficient, since the content behind it is inefficient.

    However I’d have to disagree on the fact that it cannot replace text content. Multi-media content is the wave of the future (both for web and mobile) and I think slowly but surely the rest of the world (amateur and corporate), will come to realize its effectiveness. But that cannot happen without proper changes in the format/structure of the content itself.

    Good luck at Podtech.net.

    - Mario Sundar
    Marketing Nirvana
    http://mariosundar.wordpress.com/

  4. I have always had similar thoughts to David’s regarding Podcasting. In an age when we try to cram more and more into tighter periods of time, I have never understood how talk radio (podcasts) can make much of a comeback in the mainstream. It is not just that I can’t scan it quickly like a newspaper, but many of these people are amateur commentators: slower than they should be, and more impressed with themselves when they can squeeze in an extra joke or two. In terms of the view that this can be listened to in downtime when other media are not reasonable (commuting, driving, plane rides, etc), you still have to factor in the time it takes to organize the media. I understand that Podcasts will probably do just fine without my approval, and I am happy that it really works for some people. If it worked for everyone – that would be great too. But for me, I devour media, and cannot find a way to make Podcasts work for me. Video Podcasts I think are another story entirely. I think that will continue to grow and become a mainstream part of the net. (good move robert!)

  5. I have always had similar thoughts to David’s regarding Podcasting. In an age when we try to cram more and more into tighter periods of time, I have never understood how talk radio (podcasts) can make much of a comeback in the mainstream. It is not just that I can’t scan it quickly like a newspaper, but many of these people are amateur commentators: slower than they should be, and more impressed with themselves when they can squeeze in an extra joke or two. In terms of the view that this can be listened to in downtime when other media are not reasonable (commuting, driving, plane rides, etc), you still have to factor in the time it takes to organize the media. I understand that Podcasts will probably do just fine without my approval, and I am happy that it really works for some people. If it worked for everyone – that would be great too. But for me, I devour media, and cannot find a way to make Podcasts work for me. Video Podcasts I think are another story entirely. I think that will continue to grow and become a mainstream part of the net. (good move robert!)

  6. What will sell me on it is when I can adjust the playback speed of the recording. Most people (particularly the ones that are trained public speakers) speak painfully slow.

    I recently discovered that I can adjust the playback speed of audio and video in Windows Media player. In almost all cases, I can listen to the audio at 160% of regular speed and still catch everything. I’ve found that 130% is a decent listening speed for the average speaker.

    If I have the ability to set the playback speed of a podcast to 130% of the regular pace, then I will be 100% on board. Until then, I find it too painful to listen to the slow-talking people.

  7. What will sell me on it is when I can adjust the playback speed of the recording. Most people (particularly the ones that are trained public speakers) speak painfully slow.

    I recently discovered that I can adjust the playback speed of audio and video in Windows Media player. In almost all cases, I can listen to the audio at 160% of regular speed and still catch everything. I’ve found that 130% is a decent listening speed for the average speaker.

    If I have the ability to set the playback speed of a podcast to 130% of the regular pace, then I will be 100% on board. Until then, I find it too painful to listen to the slow-talking people.

  8. That guy Peter is all ‘wet’. Podcasting and video podcasting are complementary media formats to text. Text is great for comprehension and speed but audio and text have amazing benefits. Listening to someone
    ‘s voice is powerful and targeted and intimate.

    Good move on Scoble and PodTech. The future is often not seen by average people until it’s upon them…Scoble has always been a visionary and what PodTech seems to be doing is along those lines… can’t wait to see podcasting and videopodcasting get easier and better quality

  9. That guy Peter is all ‘wet’. Podcasting and video podcasting are complementary media formats to text. Text is great for comprehension and speed but audio and text have amazing benefits. Listening to someone
    ‘s voice is powerful and targeted and intimate.

    Good move on Scoble and PodTech. The future is often not seen by average people until it’s upon them…Scoble has always been a visionary and what PodTech seems to be doing is along those lines… can’t wait to see podcasting and videopodcasting get easier and better quality

  10. It is not only about the usage but the content. Would someone want to read a 500 page transcript of bloggercon or listen to it? And most people can’t go to all the conferences, but they want to get the knowledge. Podcasting changed my world.

  11. It is not only about the usage but the content. Would someone want to read a 500 page transcript of bloggercon or listen to it? And most people can’t go to all the conferences, but they want to get the knowledge. Podcasting changed my world.

  12. Definitely, Robert’s post and all these comments have, ad nauseam, delineated the boundaries of what the demand for Podcasts is/will be.

    The next question is how many competing suppliers will enter the market to satisfy that demand.

    My bet: a stunningly high amount.

    And so I just do not see alot of profit ahead for PodTech.

  13. Definitely, Robert’s post and all these comments have, ad nauseam, delineated the boundaries of what the demand for Podcasts is/will be.

    The next question is how many competing suppliers will enter the market to satisfy that demand.

    My bet: a stunningly high amount.

    And so I just do not see alot of profit ahead for PodTech.

  14. I’m looking forward to what the next wave of ‘casts will bring. Ultra portable and easy to store, what with the low costs of players and storage nowadays. Repalce that dusty stack of old newspapers with an iPod and a NAS device :)

  15. I’m looking forward to what the next wave of ‘casts will bring. Ultra portable and easy to store, what with the low costs of players and storage nowadays. Repalce that dusty stack of old newspapers with an iPod and a NAS device :)

  16. 5. Video Game Central – Endless upon endless unedited droning bluster about, geee, video games, as an added bonus, 2 hour heated-debates on Xbox 360 vs PS3. Occasionally, self-important types wax philosophical about the social implications of World of Warcraft.

    6. Egocasts – Look at me. Look at me. Did you see me? Huh? You want me to repeat that? Look at me. Random misc. daily happenings, of no particular importance whatsoever, but said blustered ego, thinks the world should know when he or she decides to change toothpaste brands. Oft times tries for the humorous outlook on daily life, but always fails miserably. Making the ordinary, transcendent, is an art-form only a rare few ever achieve, most often found in great literature, not quite via dizzy-headache-inducing retail-purchased handheld camera’s.

    7. Cults of Personalities – Self-appointed Silicon Valley notables and Venture Capitalists, vlogging and podcasting themselves and their friends all up. You are supposed to worship them and join their Cult of the Moment, as heck, that’s what it takes to get in this game. We are the big dogs, and if you don’t know that, I suggest you get with the program, fast.

    “You gave me fortune. You gave me fame. You me power in your god’s name. I’m every person you need to be. I’m the cult of personality.”

    8. Pretty in Pinks – No talent beach-ball Valley Girl wander-arounds, but get the audiences and the hits on account of the Secret Decoder Ring 34DD Codename.

    9. Empty Heads – Bland dull-as-rocks, corporate press-releasey talking-heads; thought of as brand new frontier by any number of Valley podcast start-ups. Has as a main feature, the inability to maintain EYE CONTACT with the camera. Here’s a word that might be too big for Corporate Spokespeople types, T-E-L-E-P-R-O-M-P-T-E-R, they are pretty affordable these days, use and love.

    10. Analyze That – Analysts and Journalists (that should really really stick with print) blathering on and on about the weeks general news in tech, lots of ‘ummms’, ‘yeah’, ‘cool’, ‘likes’ with endless sputterings and long pauses. Sort of ‘Washington in Week in Review’ only with half a bottle of Sleeping Pills extra. Broadcasting and radio takes talent…not much of that here.

    11. Wannabee Independent Film Makers – Art films and low-budget gore films podcasted and vlogged up for their own sake. Unwatchable — all Direction and no Script. In the immortal words of Sire Joe Bob Briggs, “I hear the word ‘independent,’ and I see movies about schizophrenic lesbian performance artists spouting freeform poetry.”

  17. A View From the Vlog Smog

    1. Vlogs about Vlogs all Vlogged up – Blog-level egos gone Video, endless pontificational ramblings about blogs, vlogs, podcasts, RSS feeds and the whole annoying scene. Circular content circling itself, squared (and then some). Video Killed The Blogging Star.

    2. YouTube Stupidisms and MySpace-Cadets – Mimicking that song or doing goofy grade-school-level humor spoofs, funny for the first time maybe, but even a stretch there. Passable for some teen-ager yucking around around with a camera, but downright embarrassing for 30-something geeks. Grow up, please.

    3. Tech Conference reports on Tech Conferences and the Tech Conference Attendees – Insider-baseball extreme, after recording the panels, the shaky cam’s wander around to the audience for another redundant poke. All smug and self-important.

    “What you weren’t at this conference? Well, obviously you don’t matter. But have a gander at what these so-so-important people have to say. You should consider yourself darned lucky that I am sooo kind-hearted and democratically-minded as to report on this and bring it down to your level, you lower-caste low-life pond-scum miserable excuses for human beings”.

    4. Geek Out, Freak Out – Geeks talking about their Computers, Gadgets and all things SciFi. The neurological and medical science research vlogs are few and far between, but boatloads of geeks taking geeky. These are the sort of people you run away from at parties, or feign a fainting spell if cornered. Run, scream and hide.

  18. A View From the Vlog Smog

    1. Vlogs about Vlogs all Vlogged up – Blog-level egos gone Video, endless pontificational ramblings about blogs, vlogs, podcasts, RSS feeds and the whole annoying scene. Circular content circling itself, squared (and then some). Video Killed The Blogging Star.

    2. YouTube Stupidisms and MySpace-Cadets – Mimicking that song or doing goofy grade-school-level humor spoofs, funny for the first time maybe, but even a stretch there. Passable for some teen-ager yucking around around with a camera, but downright embarrassing for 30-something geeks. Grow up, please.

    3. Tech Conference reports on Tech Conferences and the Tech Conference Attendees – Insider-baseball extreme, after recording the panels, the shaky cam’s wander around to the audience for another redundant poke. All smug and self-important.

    “What you weren’t at this conference? Well, obviously you don’t matter. But have a gander at what these so-so-important people have to say. You should consider yourself darned lucky that I am sooo kind-hearted and democratically-minded as to report on this and bring it down to your level, you lower-caste low-life pond-scum miserable excuses for human beings”.

    4. Geek Out, Freak Out – Geeks talking about their Computers, Gadgets and all things SciFi. The neurological and medical science research vlogs are few and far between, but boatloads of geeks taking geeky. These are the sort of people you run away from at parties, or feign a fainting spell if cornered. Run, scream and hide.

  19. 5. Video Game Central – Endless upon endless unedited droning bluster about, geee, video games, as an added bonus, 2 hour heated-debates on Xbox 360 vs PS3. Occasionally, self-important types wax philosophical about the social implications of World of Warcraft.

    6. Egocasts – Look at me. Look at me. Did you see me? Huh? You want me to repeat that? Look at me. Random misc. daily happenings, of no particular importance whatsoever, but said blustered ego, thinks the world should know when he or she decides to change toothpaste brands. Oft times tries for the humorous outlook on daily life, but always fails miserably. Making the ordinary, transcendent, is an art-form only a rare few ever achieve, most often found in great literature, not quite via dizzy-headache-inducing retail-purchased handheld camera’s.

    7. Cults of Personalities – Self-appointed Silicon Valley notables and Venture Capitalists, vlogging and podcasting themselves and their friends all up. You are supposed to worship them and join their Cult of the Moment, as heck, that’s what it takes to get in this game. We are the big dogs, and if you don’t know that, I suggest you get with the program, fast.

    “You gave me fortune. You gave me fame. You me power in your god’s name. I’m every person you need to be. I’m the cult of personality.”

    8. Pretty in Pinks – No talent beach-ball Valley Girl wander-arounds, but get the audiences and the hits on account of the Secret Decoder Ring 34DD Codename.

    9. Empty Heads – Bland dull-as-rocks, corporate press-releasey talking-heads; thought of as brand new frontier by any number of Valley podcast start-ups. Has as a main feature, the inability to maintain EYE CONTACT with the camera. Here’s a word that might be too big for Corporate Spokespeople types, T-E-L-E-P-R-O-M-P-T-E-R, they are pretty affordable these days, use and love.

    10. Analyze That – Analysts and Journalists (that should really really stick with print) blathering on and on about the weeks general news in tech, lots of ‘ummms’, ‘yeah’, ‘cool’, ‘likes’ with endless sputterings and long pauses. Sort of ‘Washington in Week in Review’ only with half a bottle of Sleeping Pills extra. Broadcasting and radio takes talent…not much of that here.

    11. Wannabee Independent Film Makers – Art films and low-budget gore films podcasted and vlogged up for their own sake. Unwatchable — all Direction and no Script. In the immortal words of Sire Joe Bob Briggs, “I hear the word ‘independent,’ and I see movies about schizophrenic lesbian performance artists spouting freeform poetry.”

  20. Robert,

    I can’t wait to see what you do with this new media. I think you’re more effective as a speaker than a writer, for example.

    I’m curious to know what your role at PodTech will be.
    As always, time answer these questions.

    The audience for podcasting is growing… there’s no denying that it fills a need for millions. I listen while I commute for 10 hours and lately have started listening to work safe content as I work. My co-workers play the radio or have XM devices and I just have my iPod handy to add another layer to my “wage slave” environment.

  21. Robert,

    I can’t wait to see what you do with this new media. I think you’re more effective as a speaker than a writer, for example.

    I’m curious to know what your role at PodTech will be.
    As always, time answer these questions.

    The audience for podcasting is growing… there’s no denying that it fills a need for millions. I listen while I commute for 10 hours and lately have started listening to work safe content as I work. My co-workers play the radio or have XM devices and I just have my iPod handy to add another layer to my “wage slave” environment.

  22. The observation of TV, radio, and newspapers is mostly on target. Yes, those are today’s models and analogies for new media, BUT…. What makes vlogging, pocasting and blogs stand out from the parent medium is timeshifting, placeshifting, and nicheiness.

    Teevee and radio especially as broadcasting makes time (when broadcasted) and place (your home or other stationary location with a TeeVee) critical to receiving the information or entertainment. So, you must plan your life around the information or entertainment that you want. With timeshifting and placeshifting you plan the information and entertainment into your life. Or when receiving it across the mobile network, little or no planning is required either.

    Examples include, listening to podcasts at the laundrymat, a sporting event, on a commute, during class (you are recording the lecture, right?) while waiting for a bus, train or other transportation.

    RE: placeshifting…I listen to podcasts on my mobile phone at the dog park. It could also be while I’m waiting for a dentist, doctor or hair stylist. Having podcasts on the device which is always with me is liberating from the whole planning cycle of placeshifting my fav content. This applies to video too as today I watch bliptv on my phone. I would also watch check out lots of other videos if I could.

  23. The observation of TV, radio, and newspapers is mostly on target. Yes, those are today’s models and analogies for new media, BUT…. What makes vlogging, pocasting and blogs stand out from the parent medium is timeshifting, placeshifting, and nicheiness.

    Teevee and radio especially as broadcasting makes time (when broadcasted) and place (your home or other stationary location with a TeeVee) critical to receiving the information or entertainment. So, you must plan your life around the information or entertainment that you want. With timeshifting and placeshifting you plan the information and entertainment into your life. Or when receiving it across the mobile network, little or no planning is required either.

    Examples include, listening to podcasts at the laundrymat, a sporting event, on a commute, during class (you are recording the lecture, right?) while waiting for a bus, train or other transportation.

    RE: placeshifting…I listen to podcasts on my mobile phone at the dog park. It could also be while I’m waiting for a dentist, doctor or hair stylist. Having podcasts on the device which is always with me is liberating from the whole planning cycle of placeshifting my fav content. This applies to video too as today I watch bliptv on my phone. I would also watch check out lots of other videos if I could.

  24. My short list for why I listen to podcasts:

    1. Long commute. 2. I listen to talk radio. 3. I own an iPod. 4. I’m comfortable with technology.

    As far as I’m concerned if any one of these items weren’t part of my life I doubt I would listen to podcasts, but right now I’m addicted to them. The last 2 are pretty important because one has to be comfortable with the concept of downloading files and pushing to the iPod regularly, which I’m afraid is not an easy concept for some. Some people just digitize their whole music collection, push to the iPod once and don’t sync regularly after that.

  25. My short list for why I listen to podcasts:

    1. Long commute. 2. I listen to talk radio. 3. I own an iPod. 4. I’m comfortable with technology.

    As far as I’m concerned if any one of these items weren’t part of my life I doubt I would listen to podcasts, but right now I’m addicted to them. The last 2 are pretty important because one has to be comfortable with the concept of downloading files and pushing to the iPod regularly, which I’m afraid is not an easy concept for some. Some people just digitize their whole music collection, push to the iPod once and don’t sync regularly after that.

  26. a podcast is basically talk radio 2.0. so just insert podcasts in the place where you normally put in radio…

  27. a podcast is basically talk radio 2.0. so just insert podcasts in the place where you normally put in radio…

  28. reading is blogs are great but you are rigt about the times when you don’t have a computer to read them and i think listening to podcast are a better form of entertainment. I listen to a lot of podcast (mainly from the TWIT Network when im out and about but not when i am at a computer.

  29. reading is blogs are great but you are rigt about the times when you don’t have a computer to read them and i think listening to podcast are a better form of entertainment. I listen to a lot of podcast (mainly from the TWIT Network when im out and about but not when i am at a computer.

  30. La la la let’s play the medium-is-not-the-content game boys and girls, yes that’s right! Okay, your challenge…….. rewrite all the posts and comments and snarky, by doing the following things………..ready? GO!

    Replace ‘podcast’ with ‘radio’; replace ‘videoblog’ with TV; replace ‘blogs’ with newspaper…..

    Hi, hello, what up, zOMG. You watch stuff, you listen to stuff, you read stuff. And you do one or all of those where it makes sense or convenient. But i think that might be too obvious.

    /end ridiculously patronizing, sarcastic, yet, insightful comment.

  31. La la la let’s play the medium-is-not-the-content game boys and girls, yes that’s right! Okay, your challenge…….. rewrite all the posts and comments and snarky, by doing the following things………..ready? GO!

    Replace ‘podcast’ with ‘radio’; replace ‘videoblog’ with TV; replace ‘blogs’ with newspaper…..

    Hi, hello, what up, zOMG. You watch stuff, you listen to stuff, you read stuff. And you do one or all of those where it makes sense or convenient. But i think that might be too obvious.

    /end ridiculously patronizing, sarcastic, yet, insightful comment.

  32. Exactly!

    - Text requires your eyes’ attention and hand coordination.
    - Video requires your eyes’ and ears’ attention
    - Audio just needs your ears.

    : So you can get on with doing something else – like drive/code/work/farm/walk/etc/etc….

    and LEARN!

  33. Exactly!

    - Text requires your eyes’ attention and hand coordination.
    - Video requires your eyes’ and ears’ attention
    - Audio just needs your ears.

    : So you can get on with doing something else – like drive/code/work/farm/walk/etc/etc….

    and LEARN!

  34. I work at home, and I still use podcasts–at the gym, while I’m driving, and when I’m relaxing. I really don’t think it’s wise for a content publisher to ONLY offer podcasts–it makes the most sense to me to do a weekly summary podcast that boils down what’s happened in the text version over the past week. That would serve the additional purpose of luring in listeners who may not want to subscribe to and read yet another blog but want to keep up to date on what’s happening while they work out.

  35. I work at home, and I still use podcasts–at the gym, while I’m driving, and when I’m relaxing. I really don’t think it’s wise for a content publisher to ONLY offer podcasts–it makes the most sense to me to do a weekly summary podcast that boils down what’s happened in the text version over the past week. That would serve the additional purpose of luring in listeners who may not want to subscribe to and read yet another blog but want to keep up to date on what’s happening while they work out.

  36. Couple of other podcast modality benefits … multitasking. Even when at a PC I can do lots of work and listen to a podcast. I can’t read more than one thing at a time. Also, absorption … I retain information better listening then scanning text (could be just me). Group activities … I know a developer who puts his team in a room, closes the door, plays a relevant podcast and does a group brainstorm on it. He says if he sends out a document before the meeting, most people won’t have read it. By listening in a group, he knows the whole team is on the same page, and they get a discussion in real time on it. Podcasting is a strong business tool.

  37. Couple of other podcast modality benefits … multitasking. Even when at a PC I can do lots of work and listen to a podcast. I can’t read more than one thing at a time. Also, absorption … I retain information better listening then scanning text (could be just me). Group activities … I know a developer who puts his team in a room, closes the door, plays a relevant podcast and does a group brainstorm on it. He says if he sends out a document before the meeting, most people won’t have read it. By listening in a group, he knows the whole team is on the same page, and they get a discussion in real time on it. Podcasting is a strong business tool.

  38. This Peter guy is out to lunch — the only time I find podcasts least efficient that reading blogs is when I’m in front of a computer in the office. And guess what — that’s the time I should be reading and not listening.

    His complaint is like spoons are more efficient than forks as you can eat soup with them.

    There’s no way I could read on the bus into work, with all the jostling and all the talk going on around me. But put on some good earphones and Audible on my iPod and the 50 minute trip is bearable.

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