Podcasting's Blogger Moment
Over the past week especially, there has been a fair bit of discussion devoted to podcasting’s so-called “Blogger moment”. In particular, John Gruber and Mike Monteiro discussed this on the latest episode of The Talk Show, and Myke Hurley and Casey Liss spent some time talking about it on CMD+SPACE 96: Not Many Original Thoughts, with Casey Liss as well. In a nutshell, the idea is that just as Blogger brought blogging to the masses in the early 2000s and consequently caused the medium to explode in popularity, so too will podcasting have a similar moment whereby it breaks through the nerd barrier and goes mainstream. Interestingly, many at the forefront of the podcast medium believe that time to be now. For what reasons they believe this, however, I cannot say.
Podcasts are growing, of that I would have to be insane to argue against; the writing is on the wall, as the saying goes, by which I mean that it is patently obvious and nearly everywhere: you can’t swing a pair of headphones around these days without hitting someone who runs their own network. The podcast space is not, however, growing exceptionally fast, but rather at an appropriate pace for a fledgling industry gaining in popularity at a respectable pace. Moreover, it is also not making significant advancements towards going mainstream: outside of healthy but nevertheless unremarkable growth, the medium has remained very true to its roots in not changing drastically since it debuted as a format geared specifically towards a certain niche rather than created with mass market appeal in mind. Unfortunately then, despite all the grandiose pictures many like to paint of this medium taking the world by storm, this is the reality we live in, partly because there is no catalyst spurring explosive growth and widespread awareness — we do not yet have the Blogger of podcasts, the thing that will make podcasting accessible to everyone on all fronts, both in regards to consumption and creation.
There are certainly some very interesting things going on in this space right now, such as Fiat Lux’s Constellation, for example, but — as much as it pains me to say this, as a huge fan of this space — we are not quite to our Blogger moment just yet. We have everything necessary for that revolution — podcasts have high production values and focus on an incredibly diverse range of topics — but these are not yet sufficient.