With podcasting gaining in popularity, some bloggers inevitably worry podcasting will eventually replace blogging as the best way to reach visitors.
For some reason, whenever we find ourselves with a good thing, we quickly become obsessed with determining what will come along and kill it.
I suppose this makes sense in a way: some people always want to feel they’re ahead of the proverbial curve, so they’re always looking for the “next big thing.”
But I suspect if they’d put that same level of energy and enthusiasm improving the current big thing, it’d stick around that much longer. (Maybe that’s just me.)
During a recent conversation between bloggers, someone asked what everyone thought would replace blogging eventually. Some people said it’d be video, based on the rise of video and Facebook Live. Some argue, on the other hand, that blogging will eventually fall to podcasting.
Avery Swartz just wrote in The Globe and Mail that “podcasting is the new blogging.” Swartz says an estimated 21 percent of Americans — a figure that amounts to 57 million people — listen to podcasts at least once a month.
And that number, Swartz says, is growing.
It’s certainly easy to suggest, based on those numbers, that podcasting is going to continue to grow and may one day dominate.
But for the convenience of being able to listen to a podcast during a commute, there’s a huge manpower cost:
Podcasting can be labour-intensive. Planning, recording, editing, distributing and marketing each episode can easily take 10 to 20 hours per episode.
Yes, 10 to 20 hours per episode. That’s a lot of time some content producers (the ones who currently produce their content in blog form) just can’t commit to.
Then there’s a bigger problem: some of us don’t have that long of a commute to make podcast consumption that attractive a pastime. My commute to work is about four minutes. Do I really want to listen to a podcast that’s only four minutes long? Can a podcast that’s only four minutes long offer me enough useful content to make it worth my while?
When I have a longer drive, I’ll listen to a podcast in the car. But there aren’t enough “longer drives” in my life to allow podcasting to replace blogging in my routine as a reader.
On top of that, there’s the notion that it’s a lot easier to consume content when scanning through a post, where one can simply go back and re-read a section without having to figure out how many seconds to go back to re-listen, and the ear is probably the least efficient way to transmit information.
There was a time when the motion picture industry was convinced television would put them out of business. It didn’t.
On the other hand, television did cause a major shift in radio programming, and television’s evening news helped make the afternoon daily newspaper all but extinct.
Still, movies and newspapers do still exist. And I think there are valid reasons to believe that blogging isn’t going anywhere.
As with all things, it’s a question of how much value bloggers can provide to their readers. As long as readers are satisfied by what they find, bloggers will have an audience.