So this week we are taking a look at different web 2.0 tools such as podcasting, tagging, wikis, social networking and blogs. I will cover my experience with these different tools over a few posts and discuss my favourite examples.
I first learned about podcasts last year when I was searching the internet for interviews with a TV sitcom creator I liked (Dan Harmon of Community fame) and stumbled across a few different podcasts that I continue to listen to on a weekly basis.
The idea behind podcasting is to make digital distribution of episodic content (whether audio, video, text or image) as easy and automated as possible. RSS feeds are used and updated to disseminate links to new episodes and are also used to download the episodes through podcatchers, BitTorrent clients and iTunes.
There have been many uses for podcasting, and a look at podcast directories shows the vastly diverse genres and topics that can be covered through this new medium. TV show creators offer downloadable commentary tracks for those who like behind the scenes detail, debates and discussions about different political and social issues, interviews and DIY advice are also among the different topics covered by podcasts.
The genre of podcasts I’ve found enjoyable are comedy podcasts. The two popular and longest running podcasts are Never Not Funny with Jimmy Pardo and WTFPod with Marc Maron. Pardo and Maron are both life long standup comedians in their late 40s who struggled for decades to achieve success in standup, radio and tv.
Jimmy Pardo’s day job is warming up the audience for Conan O’ Brien’s talk show but earns more through his podcast which charges $20 for a 24 episode season (the first 30 minutes of every 90 minute episode is free). Marc Maron offers the last 100 podcast episodes as free downloads with any previous episodes only offered to premium subscribers.
Although both are considered among the best comedy podcasts, they take different approaches and look at different sides of the world of standup comedy. The Never Not Funny podcast is like a third person view at comedians hanging out, telling anecdotes from their careers or just discussing current affairs or trivial topics. The WTFPod podcast often feels like you’re listening to a comedy psychologist played by Marc Maron has he digs deep into his guests lives to find out what made them decide to become comedians/actors and encourages them to be candid about mistakes or drug problems to help listeners get to know them more.
Then there is the Earwolf and Nerdist Industries podcasting networks. Originally starting out as a single interview style podcast discussing all things nerdy, the Nerdist has become a podcasting network with podcasts hosted by different comedians and covering different topics such as video games, TV writing, how various actors/comedians got their break in Hollywood, and a 1920s style radio drama show.
Earwolf first started by bringing an FM radio show, Comedy Death Ray now Comedy Bang Bang, to the internet through podcasting. The show features famous guests, fictional characters or characterized impressions of famous people and mini games. Below is a compilation of clips featuring Bob Ducca, a middle aged character that suffers from various ailments, tries to reconnect with his ex-step son, the host of the podcast, and enjoys reading lists and poetry.
Other podcasts on the Earwolf network include How Did This Get Made, a podcast that deconstructs and mocks bad movies, and The Wolf Den, a podcast about the business of podcasting.
The comedians who have excelled in the world of podcasting generally attempted and failed at getting into the world of TV. However after achieving success in podcasting, they have then been offered TV shows. This shows how podcasts can be created by a single person and achieve world wide notoriety and all that is needed is a unique idea, decent production and consistent episodes.
I may have gone off on a tangent, but I hope if you’re still reading, you have learnt something about podcasting or found a few new podcasts to listen to.
I will take a look at other web 2.0 tools in my next posts