I’m going to admit something here. Wait for it. Wait . . . Okay, here it is: I can’t be bothered with podcasts.
Yes, I know they’re the latest hip social media thing. There are thousands of them, and some are probably even pretty good. But in the same way I can’t stand audiobooks, podcasts don’t work for me. Listening to one is like having to slow my brain to a snail’s pace. Like, it makes me restless to the point of agitated.
Also, I’m a visual person. I need to see the words not hear them. At uni, I wrote down my professors’ lectures so I could re-read them later in order to study. I needed the words in front of me. (I have that thing where I remember information by picturing where on the page it was written and recalling it visually.)
Best I can tell, podcasts are kind of like YouTube for radio? (Well, for iTunes anyway.) People just record stuff and other people can search for and listen and subscribe and stuff? I don’t know. It’s probably some great thing, but I’ve tried to listen to a few and it just didn’t work for me. My friends all say, “Have you tried this one?” No, I haven’t. But I don’t think finding a good one will make a difference; for me it’s about the way the info or entertainment is delivered.
Guess it’s a good thing I didn’t grow up during the days of radio.
Then again, I did grow up listening to National Lampoon’s Radio Talk Show. And I love that.
So what is it about podcasts?
I get really annoyed when I click on an interesting looking link only to be shunted to a video or podcast. I might watch the video if it isn’t too long. But I’ll pretty much never listen to the podcast. My preference is always to read—yes, an actual article—because I can do that much faster. Also, it’s great to be able to refer back to things in a written piece rather than, what? Rewind if you want to see or hear something again?
Still, I’m aware that podcasts are a key way of connecting with readers. At conferences, writers are told to find podcasts in which they can be interviewed about their books, or even to start podcasts of their own. And that does sound like fun. When my friend Emily and I were young, we used to record ourselves as a faux radio talkshow. Maybe hosting a podcast would be something like that.
Then again, it would hardly be fair of me to expect people to listen to my stuff if I won’t listen to theirs. (But social media seems to be a lot of that anyway—people expecting you to act on what they put out there while they are unwilling to engage in others’ content.)
Never say never. There may yet come a day when I find that Grail of a podcast that wins me over. It hasn’t happened with audiobooks yet (I feel like I can’t absorb the story when I’m hearing it rather than reading it), but . . . Maybe?