Can Old Podcasting Dogs Learn New Tricks?
Podcasting turns 15 years old this summer. A whole lot has changed from then until now, including this chilling fact: The original vanguard is much, much older. Which means we run the risk of losing touch with podcasting today.
Back in 2004, everything was new in the podcasting world. Like, literally. That’s when podcasting happened. It’s been 15 years. Which, on one hand, seems like no time at all. Heck, I’d drive a 15-year-old car and not even think about it.
But on the other hand, teenagers who rode that first wave of podcasting are now in their thirties. Robbie Trencheny is one of those teenagers. Robbie was a staple of podcasting when he was 14 years old. By my count, he’s 29 now.
I don’t know about you, but other than an undying love of the fart scene in Blazing Saddles, 14-year-old Evo and 29-year-old Evo are vastly different people.
But I wasn’t 14. I was [does quick math] 36. And other than the inevitable physical changes that come with crossing the half-century mark, I’m not all that different of a person between now and then.
But podcasting is different if only due to the huge flux of new people, thoughts and ideas that have entered and been changed by the space.
And I’m not just singling out other old dudes like me. Lynette, Jennifer, Mignon… this impacts all of us early adopters, regardless of gender. We old dogs need to make sure we’re still capable of learning new tricks. Because there's a whole new crop of much, much younger podcasters who have matriculated through the podcasting ecosystem, some from the start. Those early-adopting teenagers like Robbie probably very different outlook on podcasting now vs then.
Can the same be said for us old school podcasters?
Granted, creating compelling content hasn't really changed all that much. Sure, the tools and techniques have changed. But not so much to impact our ability to make fantastic podcast content. I don’t see that changing any time real soon.
I'm more concerned about our attitudes on what is acceptable, expected, and even anticipated in podcasting. Those are things that are harder to change your mind about as you get older. Me too. Even though I don't worry about too many things, I do worry about my own obsolescence. I worry about my own ability, as a 51-year-old dude, to stay up with the expectations and changes that are being brought about into our industry from the outside.
When we started podcasting, there wasn't a Snapchat. Heck, there wasn't a Twitter. And everyone will agree that tools like these had an impact on podcasting. Not just from the technology-integration angle, but from an expectation of what should be.
Take the fact that advertising has become accepted and expected. When podcasting was just getting started a few independent radio stations had the bright idea of incorporating podcasted content into their programming. So did XM radio. Back then, there was a huge outcry by more than a few podcasters who didn’t like that these commercial radio stations were running ads -- some times during, but often on either side of -- the podcast episodes they were airing. “It’s a violation of my Creative Commons license!”, many cried. More wanted a piece of the action from those ad sales. And gods help you if your podcast player wrapped audio ads around episodes.
Today, that’s no big deal. Few people are up in arms that Spotify runs ads when people are listening to free podcasts. If you’re using the free version of Spotify to listen to this podcast, there’s a good chance you’ll hear an ad placed by Spotify either before or after my episode. That would have been anathema just a few years ago. But it’s OK today.
Attitudes have shifted because the people expressing those attitudes have changed. We podcasters know that it’s more important for our podcast to be on Spotify than it is to stamp our feet to the ground and say, “Gimmie a piece!”
Changing attitudes and expectations is in part why I'm so gung-ho on the Advancing Podcasting Party. I want to make sure that forward-thinking concepts like making podcasting better not just easier become widely adopted. I care less about what podcasting was 15 years ago, because time doesn’t flow backward.
We have four initiatives running right now, all of which are aimed at making sure us old-dog podcasters know some new tricks. We're working on making RSS feeds better. We're working on ways to make your experience with your chosen hosting company better. We're also working on ways to make the next generation podcast players/directories/apps better. And we’re also working on a way to help bring in the ~70% who still don’t get podcasting, making it easier on them (and better for you!) to subscribe and listen to your show.
And that’s just the start of what we have planned in the Advancing Podcasting Party. Yes, you should join us.
And if you have questions about how to make podcasting work for your business, perhaps my company can help? firstname.lastname@example.org reaches me. You can go to PodcastLaunch.pro to see a list of all the services that we offer our clients.
I shall see you tomorrow with yet another Podcast Pontifications.