Stop, read, and listen

I do not want to use the provided podcasts this week as citations in this post.

This is not because i do not find podcasts useful or engaging. Far from it. I am listening to My Favorite Murder as I type this, and while having two comediennes discuss the Jon-Benet Ramsey case might not sound like great background noise, I find it so.

This is the problem with discussing the podcasts this week; the positives and negatives of the medium are too subjective.Hardcore History is one of my go-to commute listens, but my wife finds Dan Carlin’s voice grating. 99% Invisible is clearly well-researched, but it puts me to sleep.

None of this means the podcast is good or bad. Neither does your agreement or disagreement with my opinions.

So what can we say about podcasts that are more objective? For starters, if you want to keep an audience coming back, the presenter needs to be charismatic. Having a pair of hosts helps, because one can fill in for another’s faults. It takes a special individual to host by himself. This is one of the reasons I find Dan Carlin so engaging. Another “truth” is that you need decent equipment. No one is going to keep listening to someone that sounds like he recorded his voice on a smart toaster.

As for topics, that is another idea that is completely subjective. There is a podcast dedicated to new releases of shoes and shoe culture. Did you know that was a thing? I didn’t, but sure enough, My Brother’s Sneaker is out there. I wouldn’t listen. But people do. Who am I to say they are wasting their time?

As for social media, it seems to always come down to promotion and contacts. The “Five Ways to Use Twitter” article makes this abundantly clear. But surely there is more to Twitter that historians can use. Why not live tweet a paper? Use Periscope to show off a historical site? Plenty of options exist for us to make use of, and i can only imagine our generation of historians doing more with the technology.

Lastly, Collie’s interview with Katrina Gulliver. Firstly, that was the worst interview I have ever read. I do not know who gave Gulliver an Ambien before the talk, but how someone who coined a term (a term I despise) could have nothing to say is absolutely beyond me. The questions were softball (“what’s your favorite tweet?” GAG) and the answers were too terse to make any adequate communication. If I was to be honest, I do not know why it was included in this week’s readings.


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