I started listening to podcasts almost a decade ago on the first generation iPhone. I was always curious to see what the purple app icon did on the iOS home screen. Partly a microphone with emitting sound waves and partly a human stick-figure with a halo, clicking it was one of the best decisions of my life.
The rest as they say is history. Today, podcasts are increasingly a medium i turn to for news, entertainment, nerd-out sessions, stories, expert opinion, and believe it or not, even comfort. And wait for it, I am now a podcaster too! My sister and I started a podcast called Life of a Global Desi. What a world we live in.
So, what makes podcasts so great? And why do i still listen to them 10 years later and most likely will continue to do so in the future.
- Podcasts are free(!) and easily accessible. – No monthly subscription, no one-time fee, and no hidden costs, a majority of podcasts are free. More importantly, you don’t need expensive equipment or technology to enjoy the experience. A phone/computer with a compatible android/iOS podcasting app and decent headphones will suffice. You can listen to podcasts literally anywhere if you download them.
2. Podcasts are low involvement time-wise. – Listen to them as you start the morning, the last-thing tucking you into sleep, and any time in between. I have also dreamt about podcasts. Nerdy yes, but true. In the age of low attention spans and fear of commitment, being able to skip-through ads, intros/closings, and boring parts is a key feature across media we have come to expect. And podcasts sure deliver. If you are into speed-listening, and want to get through more content in less time, amping up listening speed to 1.25x, 1.5x, 1.75x, or even 2.0x might be for you. The average length of a podcast varies anywhere between 15 mins an 1 hour which makes it longer than a song, but shorter than an audiobook, which is the goldilocks amount of time commitment.
3. Podcasts complement mundane chores. – Be it tidying up, doing laundry, cooking a meal, doing the dishes, waiting in line at the post-office, doing groceries, stuck in traffic in your car or <insert anytime you can listen to music>, podcasts shroud the monotonous nature of errands with the impenetrable veil of masterful story-telling. Throw in some AirPods and you have yourself a running or work-out partner too.
4. Podcasts make commutes more enjoyable – Certain podcasts have now become my daily commute companions. Be it a daily news podcast on your way to work, a murder mystery series on a long road trip, or bin-gable biographical narratives on an inter-continental flight, thorough investigative journalism and captivating story-telling drowns out boredom, monotony, ambient noise on the train/car/airplane/walk. Sure, be concerned about smiling silly, bursting out in a laugh, or tearing up in public as you immerse yourself in the world of audible narration.
5. Podcasts build nerd communities. – If the internet has positively enabled nerdy behavior, podcasts just propelled it to a new level. Think of the most obscure topic you are passionate about, there are podcasts by people just like you who maniacally geek out about it. From generic topics like Tech, business, world politics, science, etc. to niche specific interests like Harry Potter fandoms, Game of Thrones dissections, origins of a word, 99% PI, to how stuff works, there is truly something for everyone. Roman Mars, Alex Blumberg, Micheal Barbaro, Sarah Koenig, Ira Glass, Kara Swisher – if you have never heard of these podcasting sensations, you just don’t get how lit 🔥 the scene is among millennials.
6. Podcasts kindle imagination & visualization. – Podcasts enable comprehension in one of the four ways of learning – kinesthetic, read/write, visual, or auditory. If you think about it, the written word and the visual medium in video/picture has only been around for a few centuries, but telling tales and the audible narrative has been around for thousands of years in human history. When auditory learners listen to a story, kids and adults alike build the muscle for fantastical imagination and creative visualization in focused and highly engaging methods.
7. Podcasts turn us into compelling story-tellers. – Just like any creative medium of story-telling, podcasting can teach us how to be effective story-tellers. The world runs on stories. From a start-up looking to get the next round of funding, to a film maker tackling a pertinent societal problem, to building trust in a political leader, stories make sense of the world we live in. In light of new age technological advancement, there is resounding evidence that while highly analytical and numerical skills will be made redundant by artificial intelligence and machine learning, uniquely human skills in empathy, compassion, cultural cognition, ethical discernment, and vicarious existence will continue to survive.
If you are already a Pod-head or had no idea what Podcasts were and for everyone in between, hope this list resonated/gave you enough reasons to check them out! Would be curious to hear your relationship with podcasts coz mine is sure getting serious and i think i am in love. ❤️
Previous Post on 7 Stages of loss we are feeling for the world we once knew. Other doodles on Instagram or Facebook. Listen to my podcast, Life of a Global Desi!