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    It’s interesting that podcasts as a medium have been able to somewhat eschew this shitty new paradigm. I wonder why that is.

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      The article talks about this.

      Madrigal suggested that the newest successful media bundle is the podcast. Perhaps that’s why podcasts have surged in popularity and why you find such a refreshing mixture of breadth and depth in that form: Individual episodes don’t matter; what matters is getting subscribers. You can occasionally whiff, or do something weird, and still be successful.

      Imagine if podcasts were Twitterized in the sense that people cut up and reacted to individual segments, say a few minutes long. The content marketplace might shift away from the bundle—shows that you subscribe to—and toward individual fragments. The incentives would evolve toward producing fragments that get Likes. If that model came to dominate, such that the default was no longer to subscribe to any podcast in particular, it seems obvious that long-running shows devoted to niches would starve.

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        Yes, I was referring to that bit in the article. To clarify, I meant that I wonder why podcasts have been able to mostly avoid being “Twitterized”.

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          Seems like technical limitations make it difficult to share segments in isolation; it’s difficult and awkward to share a URL to a specific point of time in a recording.

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            Podcasts have a different target market. Tweets / IG posts / outrage clickbait are targeted at “interstitial moments” - breaks, waiting for the bus, standing in the checkout line. Podcasts appeal to captive audiences - commuters, exercisers, people with jobs where they’re stuck in one place but have to use their hands to manipulate machinery.

            I think you’re painting podcast quality in too bright a light though. There’s some very good, well researched and produced content, but most of it is “talk radio” - engaging personalities who riff off each other, snark, and appealing to a shared ideal or prejudice.

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          Partly it could be is that RSS (what podcasts are made on) doesn’t have a standard for comments or likes.

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          The idea of a “bundle” und “unbundling content” is a very interesting one. I do sometimes miss the days of publications (be it print or any kind) where apart from the stuff that you are interested in is also a bunch of stuff you aren’t interested in yet but might discover real gems. I wonder what are the ways to recapture that kind of magic on the modern internet. The author mentions podcasts which I couldn’t ever get into, but maybe fellow Lobsters have some suggestions?

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            I used to listen to a lot of the developer tea podcast in its early days, haven’t found time to listen to any podcasts in the past year or two so I don’t know if its still any good.

            I liked the fact that I could fit two episodes in a bike ride to work.

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            I never really stopped to think about it this way - but it makes a lot of sense I think. Podcasts as a whole definitely have more of a sense of “bundledness” than other media forms today. Another interesting consideration I think though is time/length of content. I think a big reason why so much content is clickbaity these days is because it’s quick and easy to do so. A Twitter post is only 280 characters, and most YouTubers only care about hitting the 10 minute mark for monetization purposes. On the other hand, podcasts provide a much more lengthy platform, which naturally lends itself to more interesting ideas and discussion. Would be interesting to further examine the effect of content length on quality.

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              This article was originally published on March 21, 2017, by The Atlantic, and is republished here with permission.

              Suggested “2017” to the title.