Thursday, June 30, 2005

Smoking the Podcasting Dope, a Little Bit

This week I got an FM transmitter for my car. Now I can listen to my MP3 player as I drive and have started listening to podcasts. Greg Schwartz of Open Stacks has been making my commute time less tedious. He has a good speaking voice and interesting and intelligent take on professional topics. After I finish his talks I plan to listen to the presentations from NEASIST. After that I'm open to suggestions.

I find the commute is the only time I can devote to podcasts. At work listening to someone talking would be too distracting. At home, I listen to music while doing chores, but that is a background process. I couldn't give a discussion the attention it requires. So, I'm limited to listening during my commute time, about 40-60 minutes a day.

It seems to me podcasting will be a nitch source of information. Not everybody has Greg's audio presence. There are many more variables in making a good audio presentation than a written one. Tone of voice, vocal dynamics, speed, and diction to name a few. The constraints on time are also much greater than reading. I can skim a paper, not so a podcast. So I'll be selective in my listening. I can skim 50 or so RSS feeds daily but I'll be much more selective in my audio choices.

Being a nitch isn't at all bad. I'm glad Greg is with me on my commute. And I hope other folks as talented and thoughtful as he give us their thoughts on news in the profession. There may be ways to use podcasts to connect to our users, as well as among ourselves. Could the visiting author be taped and made available as an MP3. Maybe a book discussion group would like their meeting made available to a wider audience. These ways of connecting with our users will never impact the majority of the population, however, it might be an important way to connect with certain groups and individuals.

The title is a reference to a very negative article on podcasting, Why I'm not Smoking the Podcasting Dope by Darren Barefoot. If you are looking to get started, the folks at Apple have some tips.

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