Podcasting has received a lot of attention. I don’t think I’ve written a single word about it to date, despite being a longtime reader of Dave Winer and a creator of a news aggregator. The reason I haven’t written anything to date is that it’s not something I’m really jumping up and down about. There are many other things going on in internet audio that are more compelling: the move to subscription services, heinous DRM — and when consumers will finally revolt against it, the ongoing availability of AllOfMP3.com.
And now, I don’t have to write my thoughts about podcasting, because Seth Godin has summed it up perfectly. Podcasting doesn’t work as well as blogs for reaching a broad audience or sustainable. Check out Seth’s further thoughts as well.
In order for podcasting to work, it needs to provide an experience similar to what I get with blogs: it needs to be searchable, and it needs to be indexed. There are some blogs that I subscribe to, but there are many, many blogs that I read via searches and such. Usually, I’m interested in one topic, not an entire 1 hour show worth. I need to be able to do a textual search that links me directly to a ~1 minute space around the topic I’m interested in. Give me that, and podcasting may work.
Even with that, however, it’s not a certainty. The segment that talks about the topic I’m interested in may be 10 minutes long. With a blog article, I can scan for the specific item of interest. This is a lot harder to do with an audio file. Like I said, there’s a serious UI challenge to overcome before podcasting really works as well as a blog.