Why podcasts have become so popular?

Now we all know that podcasts are nothing new but if you’ve payed attention over the past few years you’ll have seen that there’s been an insurgence in podcasts.

They’ve become the cool thing.

Not only are more people listening to them but more people are creating them too.

I think the rise of podasts is down to their simplicty of being a recorded conversation discussing various topics.

A podcast could be one person talking about something for 20 minutes, it could be 3 people discussing dating, relationships and popular topics from social media or it could be one person interviewing different guests each week to talk about the work they do.

Even though many podcasts are now have visual content or perhaps the podcasters have their photos in the logo, the essence of a podcast means there’s no focus on what you look like, instead it’s all about what you say.

Podcasts also require much less effort from the consumer when compared to blog posts or YouTube videos. You can listen on your journey to work, whilst cleaning or cooking dinner, whilst you go for a walk infact you can listen whilst doing almost anything.

In contrast, visual forms of media require more attention. You can’t watch a youtube video whilst driving or going for a walk, you can’t read a blog post whilst doing these things either.

Podcasts can be entertaining and educational. They allow the listener to connect in a way that can’t quite be compared to a blog post or video content.

Hearing someones voice feels personal yet not having visuals allows you to create some distance between the creator and the consumer.

You don’t get swept up in what the person looks like, if you like they’re outfit, if their nails look good etc. These things can end up playing a large role in how content is received e.g. you’re more interested in content because of how the person looks.

But also before we had phones, computers, YouTube, blogs, tv, radio, newspapers, magazines and even letters, we just had our voices. And of course at that point in time they weren’t being recorded and edited but talking is one of the first forms of communications, podcasts tap into that.

Podcasts have been around since the 80s but there was a lot of time when they weren’t popular and definitely weren’t at the forefront of media like they are today.

I believe the popularity of podcasts to be down to the evolution of media, things change. For example, we’re not buying magazines or reading blogs like we used to. I also think celebrities and well known people have also helped the podcasting world grow because they have fans all over the globe that are more than eager to hear what they have to say in a casual setting rather than a formal interview.

Lastly, people building their own small communities from their podcasts. As much as you can have a celebrity podcast with 10,000 listens per episode you can also have hundreds or thousands of podcasts with 5-500 listens per episode. The numbers might not be high but they add up.

The final point is that people have started making money from podcasts, enough to live off of. This draws the attention and curiosity of many people because podcasting is no longer just a fun thing people do but instead a way to earn a living.

Instagram ads

Instagram is full of ads that often don’t seem like the ads we’re used to seeing in traditional media. In between the nature photography and selfies there are photos of products and even more products.

It’s at a point where we almost forget that we’re constantly being shown things to buy.

It’s the same way tv ads worked but it’s much cheaper and many of us even do it for free.

Keeping up with strangers

Social media makes it really easy to keep up with everything going on in the world around us. From crises happening across the globe to personal details about people we’ve never met.

And on an average day for many, I don’t think I’d be wrong in assuming that little thought goes into it.

How often do you find yourself questioning whether you need to know all this information you’re consuming?

I’m guilty of clicking on trending topics out of curiosity but on reflection I know that this information isn’t something I need to know.

The goings on of celebrities (and even just people we’ve never met) has always been a popular form of entertainment which is why gossip magazines were so popular. I guess those magazines have now changed to social media, something that is free and consumed by even more people.

And as much as you control who you follow, you can’t control what they post, tweet, re-tweet, like or share on their stories.

But what you do have control over is your active consumption. As much as knowing certain things might tickle your fancy, upon reflection would you really choose knowing details about a strangers personal life over reading a book, working on your craft, writing, planning ahead etc.

Of course you can make time for both (if you so wish) but this is more about being intentional with what you consume rather than getting swept up in it all.

If you leave the twitter thread, video or post feeling fine that’s great but if you feel like you’ve wasted time then maybe you need to start making some changes.

Consumption and influence

You might be under the impression that the media you consume has no influence over you.

But one day you might find yourself saying, doing or buying something that doesn’t quite feel like you.

For example, on a podcast a woman spoke about how she noticed that when watching a particular reality tv show she was more argumentative.

I think it’s impossible to not be influenced whatsoever and it’s important to be aware of how you’re influenced by the things you consume.

Some examples of the things we consume are: YouTube, blogs, TV, music and social media.

Consumption of those things can influence your career choice, how you spend your money, what you value, your self esteem, how you communicate, the way you view life and so on.

I can openly admit that I’m aware of how I’m influenced by things. An easy example is music because I have playlists for when I’m feeling blue and for when I need a pick me up.

Something I unconsciously started doing from a young age is thinking about the way I want to feel or the kind of person I want to be and consuming things that align with that.

If that’s not something you already do, I think it’s worth a try.