Growing up I was the kid that fell in love with movies. I was the kid carrying a camera everywhere. Movies to me, were larger than life. The intimacy and connection entangled me. They say, when you find your right “art” these two elements will co exist, Intimacy and Connection. For me I guess that was film. Some people love music, some people love books, some people love painting and some people even love cooking as an art. But for me, it was popping in a VHS and seeing familiar faces. That medium has really never been challenged before. Until now.
I discovered Podcasts while working 3rd shift at Home Depot. It was lonely job and I didn’t mind it one bit. I stayed to myself and did my work. But after awhile, it became routine. I started searching for Audiobooks. Some form of education that I could learn and be entertained at the same time while working. The medium held my interest just fine, but I really was yearning for the 2 elements that hooked my love of Film, Intimacy and Connection. Once I found the existence of Podcasts, it all just sort of clicked.
Podcasts are amazingly personal, yet open for discussion. They don’t apologize for their existence but are extremely gentle upon introduction. They are to the point, narrative dialogues that can pair perfectly with your personal interests or unlearned territory that are ready for your consumption. If you haven’t gotten it yet, Podcasts can be whatever you want them to be. A major medium in your life, or just a thing you turn on once in awhile. But most importantly, a medium that you can build a relationship with.
When I first found Podcasts a few things stuck out at me immediately: Podcasts were updated weekly in most scenarios and most importantly you could tailor your listening content to your own interests. The 7 year old me would have loved the option to listen to an in depth film review minutes after watching a movie for the first time. Now that was possible. Another aspect I loved about podcasts is the hosts. They were always the same and not working for a huge company. Usually, they were just normal people working day jobs and coming home and talking about what they loved, whether that be film, tech, politics, stories. Whatever. There was a real grass roots movement feeling to the medium that I loved.
So, my very first podcast I listened to was “Filmspotting”. A weekly show keeping you up to date with the world a film and sprinkling in a review or 2. To me, this was a miracle. Here were people talking exactly about things I was interested in. It was like finding new friends. Friends with the same interests. I didn’t have to get lucky and catch a review on the radio or google search for my interests. These people were actively talking about it, weekly.
Then I thought, if I could find a podcast on Film, why not Technology? And so Macbreak Weekly was discovered. I can’t stress enough that the discovery of these shows were equivalent to walking into a new room of all familiar faces. It was a great time, this podcasting discovery time. I searched for every interest I had: Writing, Filming, Preaching, History, Basketball, Storytelling. They were all there. It truly was like opening a door I never knew existed.
How I listened changed dramatically in my first couple of months. At the beginning, I was listening on my phone through the internet browser, which was not ideal. My cell phone bill was climbing because I was streaming everything. As my show volume got larger I searched for an app that could handle all the podcasts. I was pleasantly surprised to find Instacast. Instacast was the first “paid” app I ever purchased on a mobile platform, but boy was it worth it.
Instacast also had some great features. Most impressively to me, I didn’t have to go searching for new episodes anymore. When a Podcast released a new episode, Instacast would just alert my phone. This was truly magical! Also, Instacast organized my Podcasts by date of episodes and allowed an area for “show notes” to be easily accessible.
I wanted to write about Podcasts a year or so ago but I figured not many readers would be interested. So I scratched the idea. Then something interesting happened. Something no one could have predicted
A podcast titled “Serial” was released. This was significant to the world of Podcasting mainly because the general public took notice. Big notice. Serial climbed to the top of Podcasting charts overnight and mentioned on nearly every “real” news station. Sure, Serial was a fresh take because it involved a true story; but i’d like to think it took off maybe because the general mass of people fell in love with how personal podcasting is.
Either way, Podcasting benefitted from Serial greatly and now more people than ever are listening. If you’ve never listened to a podcast, I would highly recommend them. Whatever your interests are. You can find a show and start connected with people. Not in a artificial, invisible Facebook way. But in a real, insightful, eye opening way.
Nowadays I am subscribed to about 30 podcasts and I don’t listen to all them weekly. But that’s the great thing about it. Theres no pressure to keep up. If you miss an episode, just catch the new one next week. No big deal.
As of today my Podcast app of choice in Overcast. Not only is it simple in design. Also, it comes equipped with a featured titled “Smart Speed”. Which intelligently cuts out gaps in-between talking without the listener ever noticing. As of today, Overcast has saved 62 hours of my life by intelligently speeding up podcasts.
Nothing will ever replace Movies in my life. But for me it was important to be open to new mediums. Since my Podcast listening has started, I’ve learned countless things about countless subjects. I’ve even learned about myself more and more as I am exposed to a vast variety of topics.
Below I have made a starter kit, if you will. Maybe you’ve never listened to Podcasts or are interested but don’t know how. That perfectly reasonable. Below is a great place to start!
I would really love to hear any feedback if you already listen to Podcasts or this helped you discover some! Happy Podcasting and enjoy!
PODCAST STARTER KIT
Click to view my Podcast App of choice:
Some of my Favorite Podcasts:
- This American Life
- Stuff You Missed in History Class
- Accidental Tech Podcast
- The Moth
- Macbreak Weekly