AfterPod — YAPT

Yet Another Podcast Term

Like a magnet, the podcasting space attracts a perplexing array of VERY SIMILAR sounding words that describe quite DIFFERENT ASPECTS of the industry, sometimes with meanings EXACTLY OPPOSITE. It is actually still being defined…

… so naturally, somebody wants to add to the confusion:

“podfaster”

I’m a very open-minded person but I’m going to take a stand on this. NO.

Fasting is taking a conscious break from something, so a podfaster would be one taking a break from listening to podcasts, right? Perhaps as a general “unplugged” cleansing.

Podcasting is confusing enough (to “those who don’t know”)… let’s not add to it. Please?

More Content

I took the point of the article to describe a small segment of the total podcasting audience who, driven by a variety of reasons, consume an EXTREME AMOUNT of podcast content… not just a little more than the average listener… a LOT more. And the article described it well, except the choice of name attached to the phenomenon.

So, should such a person wanting MORE podcast content be called a “podmore”? No.

If talking about CARS, would we call such a driver a “drivefaster”? No. We’d say “speed driver” or something like that.

If talking about ICE SKATING, we do not call Apolo Ohno a “skatefaster”… he is a “speed skater”.

A datefaster?

“Speed Listener”

A known practice going back years, a few listeners — truly a tiny segment — ratchet up the speed a bit to better accommodate their own personal audio comprehension abilities. They go to extra effort to FINE TUNE their experience. Thus, a “sophisticated” user… not average (or anywhere near).

Most modern players commonly have a few settings for those who want to venture past 1X (one times the normal speed). Generally, experimentation starts slowly… maybe 1.25X and works up from there as the listener becomes accustomed to the faster pace of conversation and the flow of the show.

Most people can’t go past 2X, unable to keep up… even 1.5X is a fast clip. I’m one of those.

A handful of folks can turn the dial all the way up… listening at mind-boggling speeds.

All who listen fast are self-selected and self-trained to consume more content in the same amount of time; the pace changes, nothing else. They are still listening as closely as a 1X listener, perhaps even better.

Speed Producer

In the quest for efficiency, not all the work is being done by consumers… some content producers use tools and techniques to make the listening experience better, which benefits everyone, including 1X listeners.

For example, before released as podcasts to the “RSS PUBLIC”, the podcaster (or a service on their behalf) might edit the audio file. Such editing may enhance the audio quality and adjust sound levels for uniformity, which is great for all listeners, but does not change the duration of the content when consumed. The length is not changed.

Sometimes, though, sections of the audio file may be REMOVED. This might be done manually or automatically.

A new podcaster prone to UMM’s and AHH’s might take the time and tedious effort to painstakingly remove them. Like scenes shot for a movie that never made it to the theater. More experienced podcasters learned that changing their on-mic habits was far more efficient than manual editing and, now, many take a “no editing” stand, releasing raw content as final.

We could now have a lengthy discussion on the merits of HIGHLY PRODUCED CONTENT versus UNFILTERED CONTENT. You choose first… pick either side, I’ll advocate for the other… but another day.

A lot of podcasters use tools that automatically condense audio files by removing “dead air”… gaps of silence that occur frequently in conversation-based podcasts. Trimming CERTAIN silent sections can “tighten up” a show considerably and NOTHING is lost… not content, not timing. Taking out silent sections then delivers the same content in less actual listening time.

In the past, this was all done on the production side of the podcast. Technology has now enabled media players, which are on the consumption side, to also remove silent gaps.

Chipmunks

The uninitiated eventually ask… what happens to the voices of the podcasters when you turn up the speed? Old players rotated a plate-sized disc at 78 RPM. Then tech advanced to the “Long Play” or LP speed of 33 RPM, with records holding multiple songs — an album — and later, one song on a smaller disc rotating at 45 RPM — a single.

IF podcasts worked like the old record players, the audio would be fast and voices would sound like chipmunks.

But podcasting is much more recent on the timeline of technical evolution and is able to counter the deficiencies of those older devices. The fast voices sound pretty normal.

“Slow Listener”

Media player technology makes it possible to — gasp — also listen SLOWER! I know, isn’t it amazing?

Seriously, there are reasons some people (including myself) might listen to a podcast at a speed BELOW the normal replay rate. Why? Increased comprehension… allowing the brain a few extra milliseconds to process what might be (to it) more difficult information (or a stream rate beyond its processing and buffer capacity, however you choose to look at it).

Once again, I’m going to make my gut declaration that podcasts COULD be one of the most powerful EDUCATIONAL TOOLS ever invented… yet it remains in the void for most.

Advertisers

Not to be left out, hand-wringing advertisers worry speed listeners will SKIP their precious ads. Rest easy… a “good ad” accepted by a show’s general audience will be fine for this segment of the audience, too. They’re listening… perhaps even more closely than others.

Besides, things fly by so fast for speed listeners it’s not even worth the effort to fast forward… think about that.


TECH TYPES:

If you have time and interest in an emerging web media development project, the VIZdex Annotated Timeline Presentation Platform, let’s talk!

Also, check out my last article comparing podcasts to magazines.

You may want to read the first article, which establishes much of the foundation for these views, or the second one that begins to forth our intent to purposefully (and positively) modify podcast consumption behavior.

Thanks!