Did Twitter Kill the Podcast?

What's next to die?

April 3, 2014

What ever happened to all those podcasts we were planning to create?

Just yesterday it seemed that we all had grand plans to become podcasters.  Today, not so much.

I have distinct memories of hearing arguments from a range of smart and forward thinking folks along the lines of:

  • Podcasting is a terrific way to raise awareness of your services, brand, department, ideas etc. etc.
  • Podcasting is an essential channel of communication.
  • Podcasting will only get bigger as smart phones make it easier to subscribe, download, and play the podcasts.

I’m not saying that the professional podcasts have gone away.  

For instance, the EDUCAUSE podcast page contains a ton of great podcasts that I probably should be listening to.  (But I probably won’t, as I’d rather spend my audio time on an audiobook, but that is just me).

What seems to have largely disappeared is the excitement over you and I creating our own half crappy podcasts.

Circa 2008 I think that we thought that creating our own podcasts would be a terrific learning experience.  Maybe we’d find an audience, probably not, but in doing our own podcasts we’d be participating in the great democratization of broadcasting.

Why has the magic of podcasting our own news, views, and opinions worn off?  And how come our podcasting passions seemed to disappear so abruptly that we seem to have largely forgotten our prior enthusiasm?

My theory is that Twitter largely killed the amateur podcast.

When Twitter became ubiquitous, and Tweeting became normative, the urge to podcast simply evaporated.

Podcasting, after all, is difficult.  Why go through all the effort to record, edit, and publish an audio recording when we can share our thoughts and promote our services 140 characters at a time?

All our iPhones and Android phones probably hastened the death of the amateur podcast.  

My guess is that we are not only creating less podcasts, we are probably listening to less podcasts as well.  (I know I am).  

The reason is that podcasts were great when we had iPods.  We loaded our iPods with content from our computers (remember when our devices were not Web connected?), and that content was audio (remember, no screens).

Today we stream our content directly from our phones, and that content is mostly visual.  (Music and audiobooks being the obvious exception).   

Our smart phones give us many more content options to choose from.  Podcasts have been crowded out.

What is today’s equivalent of the podcast?

What is the technology that feels totally entrenched today that will be completely gone by tomorrow?


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