The Promise of Podcasting
Dave Winer is looking at the state of podcasting today, and its promise in the future. Besides outlining his ideal, mobile podcatcher (wifi, recording, open software), he also talks about the expectations and reality of podcasting:
In terms of expectations, a lot of people seemed to think they could start making podcasts and quit their day jobs. I wasn’t one of those people, and I never encouraged people to believe that. I see podcasting as being, for bloggers, just another way to communicate with a few people who are interested in what you know and think. I also see it as a way for professional news organizations, esp non-profit ones, to flow reports to people in a very convenient and powerful way.
I take the “quit their day jobs” as a subtle stab at Podshow‘s “Quit your day job” campagin, but overall, I think Dave has a good point here (though Podshow to me is probably the greatest disappointment in podcasting…).
Podcasting today is stuck. New, independent shows are hard to launch and the audience numbers are stagnant.
To me the promise of podcasting was a democratization of the spoken word. Everybody and anybody could be heard (not just read). There was great excitement about this in the first year, but somehow, commercial realities have drowned out the amateurs (though thank God there are still quite a few left, especially in education). ABC, Disney, MTV etc. took over iTunes. And with iTunes being the defacto standard podcatcher today, a monoculture has taken root at the basis of podcasting where everything and everybody depends on Apple to succeed. And that is never a good thing.