Juliette Wallack has written a very interesting (and soft) piece about what it takes to be a good podcaster. Her subtitle says it all: “Podcasting Easy Enough for Everyone to Use, but You Must Have Something to Say.”
Juliette has some very excellent observations:
- “I’m 22, just out of college, and don’t expect to be the next Garrison Keillor. But I was intrigued by the idea and sampled the menu of podcasts out there. Some sounded as if they’d been recorded on a walkie-talkie, others like they came out of professional studios.” Juliette coundn’t be more right. Quality varies so broadly. But that is some of the “wonder” and mystery of podcasting. It really does have that early FM feel.
- “Podcast topics range from the latest in gadgets to fine wines. There’s some incredibly polished scripted entertainment and storytelling, and traditional media is now jumping in on the genre.” I hope that the low cost of creating content and feeds will continue to promote the diversity of content that exists today. I love the fact that I can find content that meets my peculiar listening needs. I fear that the “one guy with a message” mystique may soon be lost in the commercialization of the medium. But I hold out hope that content diversity will continue.
- Juliette spent $13 to build a two-minute podcast. OK, that was the cost of her mike. But she was able to say something and get it distributed onto the Internet. And it cost her next to nothing. That is the kind of price point we need.
Freedom of speech demands that your voice can be heard in “the marketplace of ideas.” And podcasting can give almost anyone a voice – provided you have a computer and a broadband connection. In Juliette’s test case, her ability to speak freely had very few impediments.
But I wonder how many people in depressed economic areas have the necessary infrastructure required to express their thoughts across the Internet. Recent numbers show that broadband is available nearly everywhere. But that doesn’t make it affordable everywhere. For middle-class Americans, podcasting is within easy reach. But in some urban (or rural) neighborhoods, the only place where this can be done is in the schools – and sometimes, not even there.
The Gates Foundation is actively involved in getting high-speed connectivity into schools throughout the nation. Bill Gates has said, “Our high schools were designed fifty years ago to meet the needs of another age. Until we design them to meet the needs of the 21st century, we will keep limiting – even ruining – the lives of millions of Americans every year.” Mr. Gates is right. Make sure that wherever you live, you are actively supporting efforts to modernize schools in your community. It will help your community and your world.