Uncommon Uses: Podcasting

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 PlaysShadow 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 Lessonsiplaymusic.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 StoriesStoryNory, 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.

Excersise Class Anyone that listens to the Daily Source Code will know this one, the fitness attack podcast, and the soon to come Assercize Podcast

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?

Car Maintenance?
Cycling tours?
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



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  1. Posted August 28, 2006 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Good stuff, Karl. I’m enjoying this newfound “Uncommon” series of yours. ‘Tis all about innovation (and co-creation, too).

    Sure, technologies like wikis and podcasting are breakthrough…but only when we get to look at the creative and enriching uses that people are coming up with do we really understand their value and impact.

  2. Posted August 29, 2006 at 1:12 am | Permalink

    That ChinesePod link seems to be wrong…

  3. karl long
    Posted August 29, 2006 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    Thanks CK, yeah, I’m enjoying the uncommon uses idea as well, I’m working on a couple more.

    And thanks John for the note on the link, I’ve now fixed it.



  4. Posted November 7, 2006 at 4:41 am | Permalink

    Great piece. I am working on a podcast called “Creativity in Podcasting”. A look beyond the copying of existing (mostly broadcast and publishing) formats. I’d add Citizen Media, and Comedy to your list…

  5. Car Wreck Lawyer Tyler
    Posted July 22, 2011 at 3:44 am | Permalink

    Nice blog, This is very detailed and informative article.

  6. Posted October 6, 2011 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    hi and thanks for the actual blog post ive recently been searching regarding this specific advice on-line for sum hours these days as a result thanks

3 Trackbacks

  • By Learn Mandarin Chinese on August 28, 2006 at 7:29 pm

    [...] Karl Long, over at Experience Curve, has a good blog post called Uncommun Uses: Podcasting. [...]

  • [...] (i) My thought process was triggered by a FutureLab post by our very own Karl Long (Experience Curve) on the “Uncommon Uses of Podcasting“. Karl provides a great overview of some of the uncommon ways he sees podcasts being used effectively. Think Entertainment (Music, Travel Tours, Cooking Lessons, etc…) [...]

  • By links for 2006-09-03 at Duane Brown’s Blog on September 2, 2006 at 11:24 pm

    [...] Uncommon Uses: Podcasting at ExperienceCurve Entertaining ways to use a podcast that go beyond the radio format. (tags: podcasting business) [...]

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