Podcasting? Feh

Podcasting is supposed to be the next wave of blogging. I don’t think so. At least not for me.

Speaking as a blogger, podcasting is hard.

  • Reading text might seem to be a no-brainer, but you haven’t heard how many times it takes me to change my voicemail message.
  • And writing for the spoken word might be easy for Douglas Adams, but it’s not for me. I’m used to having the visual formatting provide some of the meaning. Can you tell by listening that this is a bulleted list?
  • If I were to have a regular podcast, I’d want podcasting equipment such as a better microphone and a studio. You can see why with this podcast. My laptop has a microphone of questionable quality. A soundproof booth could muffle the background noises. I’d want one without glass windows. My kids think I’m strange just for blogging. Imagine what they’d think if I read my blog to the computer every night.
  • I’d need audio editing software that let me cut out my mistakes and insert corrections. That would be better than re-reading the article now eight times. I hate it when the phone rings in the middle of the recording…
  • Also, there’s no easy way to provide web links in a podcast. The transcript for this podcast has a link to Douglas Adams at douglasadams.com. That link is easy to say. What if the URL was 83 characters long and included strange characters? (You can find the tilde above the backtick character to the left of the number one key near the top left of your keyboard, unless you’re in Europe and then it’s…) No thanks.

As a blog reader, listening to a podcast is less convenient.

  • I can’t skim a podcast. Either I listen to it or I don’t. Sure, a podcaster can divide a podcast into multiple, smaller files and provide descriptions for each. Although this would let me avoid some of the junk I don’t want to hear, I still can’t skim the mp3 in my player. (Maybe I need a better mp3 player.)
  • Listening to a podcast takes longer than reading its transcript. Unless there are sound effects, that’s wasted time. After all, not everyone has a long commute.
  • I can’t search for words or phrases within a podcast unless the podcaster provides a transcript on the site. I’ve seen this “feature” touted as an advantage. And maybe it is for the podcaster who doesn’t want visibility or accountability. After all, if I like your podcast or hate it, I can’t easily excerpt it on my blog.
  • Finally, for this list, if I find a podcast in a foreign language, it stays foreign to me. If it was text like a blog, I could use freely available translation tools to read it.

I’ve heard that video logging, or vlogging, is on its way, too. I really don’t think so.

I have a couple of questions:

  1. Why would you download the mp3 when I provided the transcript?
  2. Why do I feel like Andy Rooney?
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