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From podcasts to audio books and now back to podcasts -- experimenting with a new angle

by Tom Johnson on Oct 22, 2016 •
categories: technical-writing

Lately I've been turning my attention away from audio fiction and back into technology podcasts. I'm curious whether looking at the tech comm angle associated with technology news might provide a fruitful angle for blog posts and discussion.

I’ve listened to audio books from Audible for the past 5 years or more, but lately I’ve started drifting back towards listening to technology podcasts instead.

I first started listening to podcasts around 2007, when podcasting was a new media form and MP3s were all the rage. Then at some point, I got introduced to Audible and started consuming audio books on a regular basis. At least from around 2010 through 2015, I mainly listened to audio books instead of podcasts. For example, I listened to nearly every single Jack Reacher book by Lee Childs. (This is largely why my podcast sort of faded.)

Oddly, with fiction, I only listen to it (mostly while biking). When I read, I almost never read fiction. Instead I’ll usually try to grok something technical that will be useful for work. When I want to unwind, I’ll read the news – and now more than ever, the news I read is tech news.

I really enjoy This Week in Tech with Leo Laporte. Tech news and podcasts is winning me back from the land of Audible’s fiction. So much is going on now: What will happen with Twitter? Will Samsung recover trust in its brand? Will the new Google Pixel live up to its premium expectations? Who will buy Yahoo, and how did 500 million accounts get so easily hacked? Is Elon Musk serious about unraveling the matrix? And so on.

Working for a big tech company also helps make these topics a little more appealing. For example, Google now has a competitor to the Echo. Amazon’s streaming music service competes with Spotify. The new Kindle Fire tablet is dominating the low-end market, while Apple clearly dominates the premium tablet market. Another episode of Amazon Fire TV News is out. AWS re:Invent is just around the corner, etc.

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I had a fleeting thought today. What if I could create podcasts or blog posts that discussed the tech comm angle to some of the topics discussed on TWIT and other podcasts? For example, what did Samsung’s communication look like announcing to customers that the Galaxy Note 7s explode? How did Yahoo let customers know about the account breach? What does the failure of Twitter say about social media integration with documentation? What does the documentation look like for Tesla’s self-driving cars?

I’m not actually sure all of these big tech stories have tech comm angles, but some of them surely do. Maybe not documentation angles, but some aspect of communication is inevitable with any tech news. This angle to my blog may prove to be interesting, so stay tuned.

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About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer / API doc specialist based in the Seattle area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out simplifying complexity and API documentation for some deep dives into these topics. If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the field, be sure to subscribe to email updates. You can also learn more about me or contact me.