I'm Talking Here! I'm Talking Here!
Yesterday I left a version of this comment on two blogs that were discussing varieties of audio blogging.
Is the addition of voice to the online world really an advantage? It's possible to speed-read,scan or flick through slides at an accelerated rate but you can't do that with aural additions. My big problem with podcasts and video is that generally they're too long. If you end up with a page of notes, wouldn't it have been better for you and for the distribution of the "voice" if it had appeared in that form in the first place?
As I've written previously, the problem with podcasts is that they are increasingly easy to produce badly and hard to produce in a way that delivers value to the listener because it's in audio.
After all, in most online environments, it takes greater concentration to listen to every word of a podcast than it does to read every word of a blogpost. Moreover, very few people can speak spontaeously off the cuff so unless you've drafted your script and know exactly where you're going, then the listener's interest will pall (as mine did within a minute of the excellent John Batelle's podcast). You wouldn't approach a conference or a business presentation without real preparation so what are you saying about your opinion of your potential listeners if you don't?
Generally speaking, quick and dirty doesn't work. So the question then becomes, once I've conscientiously drafted my talk, what is the listener going to gain from this that they wouldn't if they just read it from my blog? They're not getting (nor expecting) the live conference experience of interaction and audience; they may find the format more convenient (though I'm not fully convinced on that) and they may have to use more time to consume the message.
As always, it's all about the actual rather than the imagined user experience. There need to be advances in quality, editing, notes and tagging and then I may be convinced. For now, it's all too often a medium that exists because it can. And don't get me started on Twittergrams!