Call me an out-of-touchable, but I am happy to remain at the bottom
(actually, outside) of the new podcast caste system. JurisPundit got it
right last week, asking What’s the Big Deal With Podcasts? (March 18,
“Basically they’re just short audio recordings of blog posts.
Why? Why would anyone do this? It just sounds like a horrible idea. . . .
Rather than amateur broadcasters, we’re listening to amateurs
pretending to be amateur broadcasters.”
I say this, despite my respect and even affection for many of the Blawgmins
yesterday by its acolyte-advocate Evan Schaeffer made me even more certain
that this is a “next big thing” that I can safely allow to pass me by:
“But the revolutionary thing about podcasting in these early stages isn’t
the content, but the way the content is delivered. Using software like
iPodder, the content is delivered to your mp3 device automatically.
Podcasting is TIVO for your iPod. You can choose what you want to
listen to and you can listen to it without having to sit at a computer. Not
only does podcasting give you more options than with radio, but the
content isn’t governed by the restrictive FCC-enforced rules that have
made ordinary radio so plain vanilla. And that content continues to
improve every day.”
Oh, Boy: something that’s kinda like radio, that I can listen to anywhere, but
with the 7 Banned Words included, and the quality level debatable! I’m in
that stage of life where I just don’t need to jump into every technology, just
because it’s new or popular. I’m also trying to buck the American mania-addiction
for putting sound into one’s ears every waking moment. Podcasting doesn’t jibe
with my needs and desires as a human being right now (no matter how much I’m
dying to know what a particular web personality sounds like).
casting no light
for me, an orphan…
As a weblogger, I visit other sites for content, commentary, and camaraderie.
I’m also pretty selective about which posts I read– like Ann Althouse, I do
a lot of skimming and skipping. (cf. Jonathan Gewirtz) A primary advantage
of weblogs is the information management that it gives us, including the easy
ability to decide if a post is worth perusal, to quote a passage in assent or
dissent, or to find it quickly at a later time. Podcasting might nurture a bit of
camaraderie, but facilitating the use and organization of information are not its
forte. For me, information is far better processed and preserved through written
text. And, I just don’t need a new form of audio entertainment right now.
Bob Ambrogi recently asked whether podcasting is the
next wave in CLE (LTN, Feb. 25, 2005). Personally, I’ve
always wanted some text to go with my CLE courses — on
paper or in pixel form.
Most of podcasting’s Blawgmin originally got into weblogging because
they are attracted to new technology and to being among the first-users.
They got into iPods because they have to have every new audio gadget
(or got one for Christmas) and love being awash in music. I’m no longer
in either demographic group and, frankly, I think there are a lot of over-40-
somethings on my side of the techno divide. Many of “us” only recently
became weblog writers and/or readers. Cluttering weblogs with podcasting
links, posts, and references — and taking away from the content and quality
of weblogs by spending time instead producing podcasts — is unlikely
to make weblogs appear useful and attractive to those outside the
Maybe we could just outsource podcasting to India (or did they export
the caste and characters to us?). Call me a Proud Podriah. Ignorance may
not be bliss, but silence sure can be.
p.s. Once again, I marvel that the legal highpriests of podcasting
have so much time to test and participate in all the newest technological
trends. Don’t their clients wonder when any legal work gets done?
Don’t their spouses rebel against being virtual single parents and
p.p.s. [update 6 PM]: Having re-read the original version of this post, I am
reminded of one very big advantage of podcasting: No Typos. My apologies
and thanks to those who read through it, despite my inputting difficulties. Looks
like I better go back to a bigger font size, or start using that new SpellChecking
technology. As always happens when I closely proofread an entire piece, I have
snuck in a few additional points or barbs. (Sure hope I haven’t created more
Thanks to Kevin and Evan for responding with their customary good
grace — and for creating a weblog that segregates law podcasting from
their other web sites. However, given some of the queries that keep
showing up on my referers page, I don’t entirely buy their notion that
“since I like it, I figured others will, too.”
update (March 25, 9 PM): Responses that I’ve gotten from interested webloggers have
convinced me that this lighthearted post needs some clarification: I have presented the
personal reasons for my lack of interest in weblog podcasting I do not have additional
time or energy to spend at other weblogs (or in producing my own), so I’m sticking to
written content and not exploring podcasts.
It should go without saying, that I am in no way suggesting that anyone
who enjoys podcasting, or wants to seek its entrepeneurial or pedagogic potential, stop
doing it — just as my dislike of beer doesn’t make me want to deprive others from enjoy-
ing it, but does mean that having a kegger is not a good way to get me to come visit.
I agree completely that podcastingcan be just as useful as any stored audio medium,
and offers a convenient mechanism for receiving the content. However, downloading
audio content is not exactly revolutionary in 2005, and RSS aggregation suggests a
commitment of free time for added listenting and browsing that I am not willing to make.
My life is full enough, that I can safely risk never knowing the joys of podcasting. If that
makes me an out-of-touchable, I humbly accept my karmic destiny.
JurisPundit Jeremy Moore has devoted a lengthy post to the
conversation provoked by this post. The caste of characters involved
update (March 29, 2005): See technogagdetophile Ernie Svenson’s admission that
“I’m definitely getting older, and I’m clearly losing my edge. That’s the best explanation
I can offer for my inability to achieve ‘tech-epiphany’ over the whole podcast revolution,”
at the new law-tech group weblog Between Lawyers.
of the mountains
watch out, kids!
don’t let those red mushrooms
cast a spell
podcaste pariah –
sees crosses everywhere
[March 25, 2005]
“tinyredcheck” This being Good Friday, it seems like an appropriate time to reprise two posts in which
we bestowed our JuDee Awards — the Judas Esqariot Award is given in recognition of exceptional
efforts to promote the financial interests of lawyers, while purporting to protect consumers
of legal services. JuDees have been awarded to Illinois and Maryland bar groups, and
to the NYSBA.
With all the fuss lately about new ethics weblawgs, I’ve been remiss in checking out Arnie
Herz’s legalsanity. My referer page reminded me to check it out today, and I was rewarded with two
posts (from March 23 and March 25) dealing with the lawyer’s need to improve relationship-building
skills. Arnie notes, “Law schools will go a long way towards fostering happier lawyers and a healthier
profession if they recognize and teach the human relations skills that are so vital to optimal lawyering.”
Martin Grace grudgingly reminds us that competitive prices are not always afforable prices.