As we've seen numerous times, technology just evolves naturally. Social media went from the age of Friendster and Myspace to Twitter and Facebook. Mobile phones went from BlackBerry's and Nokia's to iPhone's and Galaxy's. And platforms for self-expression have evolved as well. Blogs used to be the main platform for people to get their thoughts out, but they fell so out of flavour that even Google abandoned Blogger, one of the more popular platforms of choice for writers. The Android app was recently updated after three years of neglect, which I guess reflects the general lack of interest in blogging as we enter 2020.
Then came vlogs, no doubt thanks to the explosion of YouTube. Suddenly, everybody who had thoughts to share but couldn't translate those thoughts to written words had a platform for them to speak their minds. As some people find it easier to speak than to write, vlogging became a big hit, and it still is today. So much so that many camera manufacturers have been making cameras specifically for vlogging, and accessory makers are making products like gimbals, tripods, lighting, and microphones to help both budding and professional vloggers in their efforts.
And now, we are in the age of podcasts which can be found everywhere nowadays. They have enjoyed a huge surge in popularity recently and almost every kind of creator in almost every field of interest has a podcast. Journalists who traditionally focus on writing have podcasts, and even video creators have podcasts as well. Clearly, podcasts are growing and it seems like that isn't going to stop any time soon, but why? Why have podcasts taken over the airwaves? I have a few theories.
When it comes to blogs and vlogs you actively need to be looking at the screen to consume content. This restriction somewhat limits where and when you can read blogs or watch vlogs. Podcasts on the other hand can be consumed with your phone in your pocket. You don't need to be looking at your phone while listening to a podcast, and your hands and eyes can remain free for other tasks as well. You can listen to podcasts while driving, cooking, cleaning your house, or while working in the office. The passive nature of podcasts means that you can quite literally be doing anything else and still consume content via podcasts.
But it's not just the convenience on the consumer side of podcasts that has led to its popularity. For content creators, many people might feel like podcasts are a bit easier to produce than videos. All you basically need is a mic and some audio recording software, and you're good to go. There's no need to worry about having a backdrop for videos, no need to worry about editing or cinematography, and for those who may have some self-confidence issues about their appearance, or those who are simply just camera shy, podcasts are a great way for them to provide content without needing to be on camera.
Lastly, creators and consumers aren't the only part of the equation, as podcast platforms have also helped to increase podcast availability and discoverability, making it easier for everyone to find and listen to podcasts of their choice. Google launched its very own podcast app for Android, while one of the most popular podcast apps in the market, Pocket Casts, recently went free with a subscription service for more premium feature. Spotify, the worlds largest music streaming platform isn't missing out either, supporting podcasts directly in its music app.
Do you have any other theories to explain the sudden explosion of podcasts? Do you listen to podcasts regularly? Got any to recommend?