The outer limits of the podcast revolution
The rediscovery of podcasts is a welcome and in some ways surprising phenomenon, which has restored faith in the spoken word AND encouraged a renewed sense of creativity in the global community.
The rediscovery of podcasts is a welcome and in some ways surprising phenomenon, which has restored faith in the spoken word AND encouraged a renewed sense of creativity in the global community. The recent explosion in the creation and consumption of podcast content shows the scale of the opportunity for podcasts — as a means of worldwide high influence communication. They are also potentially an exciting and democratic platform if they can change their format and adapt like other media.
Often the well-curated podcast, is valuable to both the listener and the creator. However, the scope for innovation has yet to be fully explored as content and formatting have followed a fairly rigid formula up until now– and it remains a largely stage-managed art form. The general idea around podcasts is, “I am on transmit and you are on receive”, but what about sharing ideas spontaneously, and interacting simultaneously, to help this medium grow?
You see, “podcast”, the word itself, was invented in 2004 and has experienced slower development than other forms of social media in text, image and video, maybe as a result of this one-way approach. The creation of audio is absolutely not new, but in some ways it is the last new frontier to be developed and truly given to the people. I believe its time is now coming as it shapes and evolves into a manageable and digestible platform that the world can interact with.
So how does it reach its full potential? Well, now the podcast can grow up. It’s time for a change of language — and perhaps a revolution in the way that we share audio — as part of the current wave of de-centralising entertainment and information. The humble podcast can make audio recording less exclusive and more accessible to the people who are most hungry for it.
So where to from here?
I think that “audio clip” (clip), is an etymology more suited to the new generation of audio and the future — and it should be whatever the broadcaster and listener wants it to be. The “clip” is the “atomic element” of audio. It can be short or long, planned in advance, curated or spontaneous — it doesn’t matter. With this in mind, the spontaneous creation and sharing of audio clips is conceptually interesting, and will bring the world closer to itself. It also resonates with the principle of “Giving People a Voice”, which is the premise that all revolutions are based on.
Often the history of a subject defines and limits its future — and podcasts will probably remain podcasts, while clips will take off into a new genre and far beyond. We all have the power to shape how far they go and how much of the world has the chance to be heard. Now the only questions are: When, and what will we do with it?