Podcasts: What Are They Good For?
When do audiocasts get listened to? Usually when people play them on their digital music players while travelling. This includes all those commuters who want to get something out of a commute that they’d rather not have to put up with. I haven’t been a commuter for a while, so I listen to audiocasts only rarely, on my computer, usually trying to do something else at the same time but not succeeding. Audiocasts are primarily for people in situations where they can focus on listening without giving up anything significant, like sitting on a bus, driving or cycling in traffic that doesn’t require much attention, walking, or sitting in a waiting room. Those of us who don’t do that much of the above have little use for audiocasts. I can read much faster than I can listen to people talking. If you’re going to create an audiocast, fine, but please also supply a transcript. (Clearly I’m referring here to spoken audiocasts, not music audiocasts — but music audiocasts are generally just playlists.)
Videocasts don’t have the same set of use cases as audiocasts: you’d better not be watching video while driving, although it’s fine if you’re on the bus. The other big difference is that your portable video player probably has a small screen and you’d prefer to watch on something bigger. Putting these two factors together, video is much less attractive than audio for a portable device. But on a computer with a decently-sized screen (or a TV set that’s connected), it’s the opposite: video is much more attractive. I can watch videocasts “efficiently”, making good use of both my eyes and ears. (I’m fond of The Show with Ze Frank and Rocketboom, both of which appear every weekday, as well as one-offs such as Pancakes!.)