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Podcasting, Hot or Not?

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I’ve dabbled a bit with podcasting early on when it wasn’t so easy to do, then dabbled some more since it’s become easier thanks to tools like Skype and Hot Recorder. Yet, I’ve not jumped on the podcasting bandwagon wholeheartedly and asked myself why.

No doubt podcasting is the hottest thing to hit the internet since, well, blogs! (And I did jump on the blogging bandwagon wholeheartedly!) Corante thinks so highly of the new media phenomenon they’re hosting an event in September called Podcast Hotel, and even holding it at the trendy Jupiter Hotel just to make the point. They refer to it as “the new radio, the new video — the DIY trend that is shaping the dynamic way we view the world.”

Mark Cuban, on the other hand, is pooh-poohing this new media invention as not so hot. He likens it to the surge of streaming media back in the 90s, of which he was an industry leader. Cuban asserts that, due to the ease of use, the numbers of podcasts will increase exponentially resulting in “a massive dilution in the audience size of the early entry podcasters. EVERYONE’s audience will fall as the marginal listeners find something they like better.”

He does suggest that repurposing content using podcasts is a good thing, but warns against trying to build a business out of it.

So, who’s right here? I believe both Corante and Cuban make valid points. Podcasts are hot but will eventually become, according to Cuban, “a normal part of the digital media landscape.”

We early adopters easily get excited about any new technology innovation. (That’s good though, because it’s us who introduce these innovations to the early majority.) What is being said of podcasts has also been said of blogs and RSS. Before too long, maybe even wikis will join that list as the NEXT next big thing. However, over the course of time each will find its place in the new media landscape.

I’m reminded of a line in the 80s movie Karate Kid II, where the Yoda-like character Miyagi tells his prodigy, “Balance, Daniel-san. Balance.” That’s a pretty good way to approach the new media – take a balanced view. Podcasts, RSS, and blogs all have their place, and each is powerful no doubt. Yet, where marketing is concerned, none of these are comprehensive enough on their own to do as effective a job as all of them working in concert. What’s more, the new media shouldn’t be adorned with Holy Grail-like stature to the extent that we give up on the tried-and-true; e-mail marketing, for example.

While I still get excited about new technologies and their possible benefit in the business space, I’ve learned to “take all things in moderation.” Use the best the web has to offer without becoming a crusader for one singular strategy or tool. Everything in its place and all things in their time. Just like old Miyagi said, “Balance, Daniel-san. Balance.”
Edited: LH

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About Paul Chaney