Jason listed several reasons why people claim podcasting is dead:
I enjoyed Jason's podcast because of the exposure to this issue. He gets a little heated and annoyed at the accusations from Read/Write, but he's engaging.
Personally, I can see both sides. In the past two years, I watched nearly every one of my dozen tech writer colleagues at work acquire an iPod. However, only 1 of those people (besides myself) started listening to podcasts. The others used them for music only.
It was strange because they all knew I had a podcast, and they all commuted -- some for 45+ minutes. I encouraged them to try out some podcasts, but many simply had no interest. One person said she is not an audio learner. Another said she prefers to listen to music. Another said she listens to audio books. Another just laughed.
When it comes right down to it, podcasts are somewhat problematic in content. If your podcast is educational, your audience may resist listening because they've just been working for 8-10 hours and want to relax. One turns on the radio for entertainment.
On the other hand, if your podcast is pure entertainment, there's little reason to listen to it rather than the entertainment on the radio.
The key is to balance education with entertainment. I know if I wanted to dedicate about 10 hrs a week putting together an audio show, I could make it a lot more entertaining.
But this brings up another problem with podcasting: time. It can take several hours to create a podcast. First you have to identify the content, find someone to interview (or create the content yourself), think of compelling questions, schedule a time, conduct the interview, edit the audio because of a poor Skype connection, add an introduction, FTP large files, and publish a post with a link to the audio.
You have to also make sure your podcast is integrated in all the major podcast directories and that readers have an email subscription notification option (in addition to your email newsletter). To be effective, you should track hits, analyze web stats, respond to feedback, and seek to promote your podcast to relevant forums that can draw more potential listeners. And do this all for either little or no pay.
In contrast, writing a blog post is much easier. Search engines find you, people can read your posts during the day, and since they're reading online, they're more apt to respond, which makes it more rewarding.
Podcasting is not dying, but there are certainly limitations that keep it from being more prominent. Here's what I think needs to happen to fix many of the podcasting issues:
Anyone care to share his or her thoughts on the death of podcasting?
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I'm a technical writer based in the California San Francisco Bay area. Topics I write about on this blog include technical writing, authoring and publishing tools, API documentation, tech comm trends, visual communication, technical writing career advice, information architecture and findability, developer documentation, and more. If you're a professional or aspiring technical writer, be sure to subscribe to email updates using the form above. You can learn more about me here.