But then I've never had any use for talk radio or audio books either. I understand the technical matters; that's not an obstacle for me. I'm perplexed by the rhetorical purpose of my doing audio. I'm committed to doing it, anyway, and hoping that I'll be able to figure it out. I'm going to teach my students about podcasting next semester and have them do their own podcasts. Perhaps they will appreciate it more than I.
Here's a couple of things that are obstacles for me as both a composer and consumer.
1. One of the things I like about blogging is that I don't have to plan it out. I start with an idea, an exigency, a motive for writing. Then I figure out what I'm going to say as I'm composing. I do go back sometimes and make some edits but mostly a blog is about a process of thinking for me. I can't do that as a podcaster (unless you want to listen to ten seconds of dead air while I scratch my neck and think about what I want to say next or how I want to phrase it). Instead, I have to plan out my podcast. I'm not going to write it all out and read it like a script, but I need an outline. That means I have to figure out what I'm going to say before I say it.
In short, the most valuable aspect of blogging (at least for me as a writer) is completely absent from podcasting.
2. Put briefly, podcasts are neither easily searchable nor scan-able (at least with current tech.). That means I have to listen to an entire podcast to find out what it's about. I also have to rely on someone's description of the content rather than being able to search the content directly.
3. The thing I find most objectionable about podcasting is the element most loudly proclaimed as its great value: now I can capitalize on all that "dead time" I spend driving my car or washing dishes and so on. Multi-tasking is microfascism! To paraphrase John Lennon, "life is what happens to you while you're busy listening to podcasts!"
This is just the complete opposite direction of where I am trying to go with my life. I am striving to be more mindful, to be more fully present: to be driving when I am driving, to be washing dishes when I am washing dishes. To be present to your life is not a waste of time. It is not inefficient to experience one's life.
That said, I am not one to simply separate mediated experiences from immediate ones. Listening to your iPod (music or podcast), talking on your mobile phone, or hooked into some other wireless network, one is still experiencing the material, physical world. After all, there is nothing else for the body to experience. I simply object to this characterization.
Instead of saying my commute is a waste of time; I will use that time to listen to my students' podcast responses to today's readings, instead of saying if I podcast my ideas to students and colleagues then they can make more efficient use of their time, I need to think more about how switching to this new medium to produce a new informational experience both for me as a producer and for others as listeners.
Right now though, I'm just not getting it.