Uncommon Uses is a series of posts where I talk about different ways an emerging technology can be used. My previous post on uncommon uses for wiki’s was rather popular, and I thought another technology that could bare some Uncommon Uses attention was podcasting. Sometimes in the early adoption of new technologies they are pressed into service in similar ways to previous technologies, for instance when television first came many of the early shows resembled radio plays, but were on television.
Podcasting is very different from radio though, it’s on demand, and not only can you listen to it when ever you want, you can also discover it at any time as well. What would most podcasts be like if you discovered them a year later? Not great for news then, but really good for serial content, and even more interesting for contextual content ie. stuff you listen to in a certain context or situation.
Serial Plays – Shadow Falls of course is the first professionally produced podcast drama (podrama), and it’s apparently some scary shit.
Podcast Novels – You would think this would be a no brainer, audio books right? But this Sci-Fi writer Scott Sigler lays claim to being the first podcasting novelist and with over 80,000 downloads (for his 3 books) he’s generated a hell of a lot of demand for his actual books. My good blogging friend CK of CK-blog.com has just posted a very interesting interview with Scott that provides some really fascinating context as to how and why he got into podcasting his novels.
Audio Tours – The first example of what I’ll call contextual podcasting, walking tours. Great example of course the Sweatshopper walking tours of two walmarts in Maine. Another example is Adam Curry (the podfather) walking tour of South Beach, Miami. Also check out Itoors who seem to be dedicated to this, but this idea is limitless.
Learning a Language – Podcasting is an amazing format for education, great example being the folks over at ChinesePod where they provide a series of free lessons, and a subscription service that will build your own RSS feed lesson. Related: MSNBC just wrote about learning languages on your ipod
Music Lessons – iplaymusic.com is a video podcast that teaches you guitar, they give away the first 35 lessons for you to try out. I downloaded them ages ago and have only been through a couple, I guess I need a motivational podcast.
Powerpoint Presentations – Ouch I know, but hey, with an enhanced podcast you can add screenshots of the deck and sync them with bookmarks on the audio track. Great thing to hand out after a conference or lecture. If your on a mac here’s a nice little app that does it for you called ProfCast
Children’s Stories – StoryNory, of course any story can be read for a podcast, but I’m sure Mum’s and Dad’s will love a service like this. Although, i loved having stories read to me by my Dad when I was a kid.
Cooking lessons – Couldn’t find many examples but I’m thinking this would be huge. Shopping list in the shownotes, some background information to listen to while your shopping, and then talking you through the techniques. If someone can figure out the script i’ll narrate. Ok I found a couple, campfire cafe: meals cooked over an open fire in realtime. Also Crash Test Kitchen Looks like my cup of tea “real people cooking real food”
Performance Venue My friend and colleague Seth Palmer is using a podcast to publish a series of piano recitals, even more interestingly is he is transcribing/playing classical music using GarageBand and the orchestral JamPacks. I found it hard to believe that Antonín Dvořák: Piano Quintet in A was done in garageband, incredible.
Narrate public domain books Librivox is an amazing example of what can be done by a passionate group and an internet connection. It is essentially a collection of audio books of public domain books that you can download for free.
So what else?
Alternate commentary on movies, kind of mystery science theatre in your ipod.
What do you guys think? Anyone found podcasts that go beyond the radio format and really take advantage of context and time?
Even better click here to send me an audio comment and I’ll post a podcast of suggestions