When we think blogging, we think writing. Recent weeks have emphasized images and other tools, but things still seem to come back to the written word. Briggs, in this week’s chapter, proposes some ways to emphasize sound over sight. We’ll focus on one: Podcasting. This semester, for the first time, we’ve got a fully functional podcasting studio, and our class will be the ones to break it in (and hopefully not just break it). Read on, and think about what you might have to say.
A podcast is essentially an audio blog. Instead of reading, you can download and listen, which is helpful if you like to do your “reading” while exercising, cooking, or doing something else. The process can be simple or complex, but it boils down to four basic steps:
This guide from DigitalTrends gets into more detail, but at minimum you need a theme (and usually some guests), a topic, a mic, and a (free) copy of Audacity; anything more can give a cleaner, more polished product but isn’t absolutely necessary.
Audiences listen to podcasts via apps such as Stitcher (free), iTunes, or just listening to them streaming online. Consider these examples of the form:
- Some of the most popular are attached to well-established brands such as NPR (This American Life, RadioLab, and Newsy are among Stitcher’s top-ranked).
- Comedians have been particularly strong adopters of the podcast format, likely because of their emphasis on the well-spoken word.
- 2014’s Serial, a 12-episode story about a 1999 disappearance, became surprisingly popular across multiple audiences, even high school students (there have been two seasons).
- Finally, there’s the widely popular Worst Idea of All Time, in which two New Zealanders watched Adam Sandler’s Grown Ups 2. Every week. For a year. (in year two, they watched Sex and the City 2, and they’re currently working through non-sequel We Are Your Friends)
Your response this week should be enjoyable: Listen to some podcasts, especially if you never have. Pick some from the links above, or find some of your own (Buzzfeed has its own list of the ones you should be listening to). How do these (and Briggs’ other audio subject) inform your work? Have you now decided blogging is dead, and you’re going to become a podcaster instead?
Most importantly, what’s a subject (ideally one relevant to your group blog) you could see running an approximately 10-minute podcast on? Would you have guests, or would it just be you and your groupmates? What are some questions/topics you can set up in advance to avoid the dreaded Dead Air? Post your responses by 11:59 p.m. Sunday, April 2.