👓 Spotify’s Podcast Aggregation Play | Stratechery by Ben Thompson

Read Spotify’s Podcast Aggregation Play by Ben Thompson (Stratechery)
Spotify is making a major move into podcasts, where it appears to have clear designs to be the sort of Aggregator it cannot be when it comes to music.

An interesting take on Spotify’s recent acquisitions. I’m worried what a more active aggregator play in the podcast space will look like, particularly with most of the players (by this I mean companies) in the audio game using players (by this I mean the actual JavaScript interfaces that play online audio) hiding the actual audio files.

🔖 Listen Notes: The best podcast search engine

Bookmarked Listen Notes: The best podcast search engine by Wenbin FangWenbin Fang (Listen Notes)
The most comprehensive podcast database online. Discover best podcasts. Search podcast show notes and audio transcripts by people, places, or topics.

An interesting looking service to be sure. Reminds me a bit of some of the functionality of Jeremy Keith’s Huffduffer, but it’s also a social silo of sorts for listening related content. It allows you to bookmark podcast episodes to listen later and includes an RSS feed for those so you can subscribe directly to your feed in a podcast player. It also does listen clips and comments. Sadly it doesn’t look like its got listen posts to allow you to keep track of what you’ve actually listened to. It does have an API for those who want to play around with it though.

I’m curious what folks like Kim Hansen, Ben Werdmüller, or Erin Jo Richey think of it. Are there better small tools out there?

hat tip: This Week in Google

🎧 Gillmor Gang X – Keith Teare | Anchor

Listened to Gillmor Gang X - Keith Teare by Steve Gillmor from Anchor

Gillmor Gang X - Keith Teare and Steve Gillmor. Produced on Anchor and GarageBand June 18, 2018

I’ve been getting back into Gillmor Gang episodes from the last year and noticed there’s a new shorter offshoot called Gillmor Gang X series. Steve has apparently taken to Anchor to put out slighly shorter episodes. You’ve got to love that just a few minutes into the show he mentions RSS and says (somewhat ironically) that as of six minutes ago we now have an RSS feed. Of course that doesn’t mean that he’s bothering to have any sort of feed for his primary show which still eschews RSS.

Given his long term interest in the music business and watching what the deans of the music business are doing with respect to distribution, I’m surprised that he doesn’t want to own and control his own masters and their own distribution. Perhaps the ease of recording and distribution on platforms like Anchor.fm (for this show) and TechCrunch for his other show is more than enough? They do discuss in the episode that the company is one of John Borthwick’s which may have prompted this series of experiments.

In any case, this seems like an interesting shorter format with fewer guests, so I’m interested in seeing where it goes.

👓 Tools to start a podcast | Indie Digital Media

Read Tools to start a podcast by Richard MacManus (Indie Digital Media)
If you’re thinking of creating a podcast, or want to know how to improve your existing podcast, you’ll need to spend a bit of money and a chunk of time setting yourself up for success. The good news: there’s no shortage of free or inexpensive professional-level tools and services to…

The piece missing from this is the getting over the inertia even if you’ve got all the tools. Sometimes thinking about a microcast of 10 minutes or less can help one get over this mental speed bump.

👓 Podcasts keep getting better | Nieman Journalism Lab

Read Podcasts keep getting better by John BiewenJohn Biewen (Nieman Lab)
"It turns out that people — well, lots of people, anyway — are hungry for substance. Our attention spans are quite intact, ready, and willing."

👓 Is YouTube Fundamental or Trivial? | Study Hacks – Cal Newport

Replied to Is YouTube Fundamental or Trivial? by Cal Newport (Study Hacks)

As a public critic of social media, I’m often asked if my concerns extend to YouTube. This is a tricky question.

As I’ve written, platforms such as Facebook and Instagram didn’t offer something fundamentally different than the world wide web that preceded them. Their main contribution was to make this style of online life more accessible and convenient.

I suspect that people have generally been exploring some of this already, particularly with embedding. The difficult part on moving past YouTube, Vimeo, et al. with streaming or even simple embedding is that video on the web is a big engineering problem not to mention a major bandwidth issue for self-hosters. I’ve seen scions like Kevin Marks indicate in the past that they’d put almost any type of content on their own websites natively but video. Even coding a JavaScript player on one’s site is prohibitively difficult and rarely do major corporate players in the video content space bother to do this themselves. Thus, until something drastic happens, embedding video may be the only sensible way to go.

As an interesting aside, I’ll note that just a few months ago that YouTube allowed people to do embeds with several options, but they’re recently removed the option to prevent their player from recommending additional videos once you’re done. Thus the embedding site is still co-opted to some extent by YouTube and their vexing algorithmic recommendations.

In a similar vein audio is also an issue, but at least an easier and much lower bandwidth one. I’ve been running some experiments lately on my own website by posting what I’m listening to on a regular basis as a “faux-cast” and embedding the original audio. I’ve also been doing it pointedly as a means of helping others discover good content, because in some sense I can say I love the most recent NPR podcast or click like on it somewhere, but I’m definitely sure that doesn’t have as much weight or value as my tacitly saying, “I’ve actually put my time and attention on the line and actually listened to this particular episode.” I think having and indicating skin-in-the-game can make a tremendous difference in these areas. In a similar vein, sites like Twitter don’t really have a good bookmarking feature, so readers don’t know if the sharing user actually read any of an article or if it was just the headline. Posting these things separately on my own site as either reads or bookmarks allows me to differentiate between the two specifically and semantically, both for others’ benefit as well as, and possibly most importantly, for my own (future self).

Replied to How Long Should a Podcast Be? by Jeremy CherfasJeremy Cherfas (Jeremy Cherfas)

Podnews has a piece that many podcasters could usefully read. The bit that resonated was this quote from Roman Mars:

If you have 100,000 listeners and you edit out one useless minute you are saving 100,000 wasted minutes in the world. You’re practically a hero.

Not quite a hero, I can at least count myself a mini-hero. 

Definitely some sage advice. I recall The Economist going a step further in their analysis a few years back and providing visuals on a 4 minute video: The hidden cost of Gangnam Style: What humanity could achieve if it weren’t galloping in front of computer screens

The hidden cost of Gangnam Style

👓 How Students Engage with News: Five Takeaways for Educators, Journalists, and Librarians | Project Information Literacy Research Institute

Read How Students Engage with News: Five Takeaways for Educators, Journalists, and Librarians [.pdf] by Alison J. Head, John Wihbey, P. Takis Metaxas, Margy MacMillan, and Dan Cohen (Project Information Literacy Research Institute)
Abstract: The News Study research report presents findings about how a sample of U.S. college students gather information and engage with news in the digital age. Results are included from an online survey of 5,844 respondents and telephone interviews with 37 participants from 11 U.S. colleges and universities selected for their regional, demographic, and red/blue state diversity. A computational analysis was conducted using Twitter data associated with the survey respondents and a Twitter panel of 135,891 college-age people. Six recommendations are included for educators, journalists, and librarians working to make students effective news consumers. To explore the implications of this study’s findings, concise commentaries from leading thinkers in education, libraries, media research, and journalism are included.

A great little paper about how teens and college students are finding, reading, sharing, and generally interacting with news. There’s some nice overlap here on both the topics of journalism and education which I find completely fascinating. In general, however, I think in a few places students are mis-reporting their general uses, so I’m glad a portion of the paper actually looks at data from Twitter in the wild to see what real world use cases actually are.

Perhaps there are some interesting segments and even references relevant to the topics of education and IndieWeb for Greg McVerry‘s recent project?

As I read this, I can’t help but think of some things I’ve seen Michael Caulfield writing about news and social media over the past several months. As I look, I notice that he’s already read and written a bit about a press release for this particular paper. I’ll have to take a look at his take on it tomorrow. I’m particularly interested in any insights he’s got on lateral reading and fake news above and beyond his prior thoughts.

Perhaps I missed it hiding in there reading so late at night, but another potentially good source for this paper’s recommended section would be Caulfield’s book Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers.

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

The purpose of this study was to better understand the preferences, practices, and motivations of young news consumers, while focusing on what students actually do, rather than what they do not do.  

October 22, 2018 at 08:28PM

YouTube (54%), Instagram (51%) or Snapchat (55%)  

I’m curious to know which sources in particular they’re using on these platforms. Snapchat was growing news sources a year ago, but I’ve heard those sources are declining. What is the general quality of these sources?

For example, getting news from television can range from PBS News Hour and cable news networks (more traditional sources) to comedy shows like Stephen Colbert and The Daily Show with Trevor Noah which have some underlying news in the comedy, but are far from traditional sources.
October 22, 2018 at 08:35PM

Some students (28%) received news from podcasts in the preceding week.  

October 22, 2018 at 08:38PM

news is stressful and has little impact on the day-to-day routines —use it for class assignments, avoid it otherwise.” While a few students like this one practiced news abstinence, such students were rare.  

This sounds a bit like my college experience, though I didn’t avoid it because of stressful news (and there wasn’t social media yet). I generally missed it because I didn’t subscribe directly to publications or watch much television. Most of my news consumption was the local college newspaper.
October 22, 2018 at 08:46PM

But on the Web, stories of all kinds can show up anywhere and information and news are all mixed together. Light features rotate through prominent spots on the “page” with the same weight as breaking news, sports coverage, and investigative pieces, even on mainstream news sites. Advertorial “features” and opinion pieces are not always clearly identified in digitalspaces.  

This difference is one of the things I miss about reading a particular newspaper and experiencing the outlet’s particular curation of their own stories. Perhaps I should spend more time looking at the “front page” of various news sites?
October 22, 2018 at 08:57PM

Some (36%) said they agreed that the threat of “‘fake news’ had made them distrust the credibility of any news.” Almost half (45%) lacked confidence with discerning “real news” from “fake news,” and only 14% said they were “very confident” that they could detect “fake news.”  

These numbers are insane!
October 22, 2018 at 09:04PM

As a matter of recourse, some students in the study “read the news laterally,” meaning they used sources elsewhere on the Internet to compare versions of a story in an attempt to verify its facts, bias, and ultimately, its credibility.25  

This reminds me how much I miss the old daily analysis that Slate use to do for the day’s top news stories in various outlets in their Today’s Papers segment.
October 22, 2018 at 09:15PM

Some respondents, though not all, did evaluate the veracity of news they shared on social media. More (62%) said they checked to see how current an item was, while 59% read the complete story before sharing and 57% checked the URL to see where a story originated (Figure 7). Fewer read comments about a post (55%) or looked to see how many times an item was tweeted or shared (39%).  

I’m not sure I believe these self-reported numbers at all. 59% read the complete story before sharing?! 57% checked the URL? I’ll bet that not that many could probably define what a URL is.
October 22, 2018 at 10:00PM

information diet  

October 22, 2018 at 11:02PM

At the tactical level, there are likely many small things that could be tested with younger audiences to help them better orient themselves to the crowded news landscape. For example, some news organizations are more clearly identifying different types of content such as editorials, features, and backgrounders/news analysis.57More consistent and more obvious use of these typological tags would help all news consumers, not just youth, and could also travel with content as itis posted and shared in social media. News organizations should engage more actively with younger audiences to see what might be helpful.  

October 22, 2018 at 11:37PM

When news began moving into the first digital spaces in the early 1990s, pro-Web journalists touted the possibilities of hypertext links that would give news consumers the context they needed. Within a couple of years, hypertext links slowly began to disappear from many news stories. Today, hypertext links are all but gone from most mainstream news stories.  

October 22, 2018 at 11:38PM

“Solutions journalism’ is another promising trend that answers some of the respondents’ sense of helplessness in the face of the barrage of crisis coverage.62  

October 22, 2018 at 11:40PM

❤️ EatPodcast tweet: Proposal for the book of Our Daily Bread is on its way to publisher.

Liked a tweet by Jeremy Cherfas | Eat This PodcastJeremy Cherfas | Eat This Podcast (Twitter)

👓 Coroner’s Report: Webrings are Dead, Part II | Brad Enslen

Read Coroner’s Report: Webrings are Dead, Part II by Brad EnslenBrad Enslen (Brad Enslen)
This is Part II of my series on the Death of Webrings.  Part I is here. For this article I am going to use two examples.  I want to make it clear that I am not picking on the example rings, their creators or their intended uses.  I do want to point out what I see as flaws in their model that unle...

Reply to Dave Keine about Podcast Discovery and Clean up

Replied to a tweet by Dave Keine (Twitter)

People often share their podcast recommendations, but why not share what they’re actually listening to the way that @reading does? #PodcastPareDown @HeyKeine

Maybe like this?

Podcasts of things I’ve listened to or want to listen to

Blue sky sketch for Overcast

Replied to a tweet by Marco Arment on TwitterMarco Arment on Twitter (Twitter)

Marco, your post about supporting rel=”payment” for Overcast made me start thinking about other potential solve-able problems in the podcast space. Now that you’ve solved a piece of the support/payment problem, perhaps you can solve for a big part of the “who actually listened to my podcast” problem?

In a recent article on the topic of Webmention for A List Apart, I covered the topic of listen posts and sending webmentions for them. In addition to people being able to post on their own website that they’ve listened to a particular episode, the hosting podcast site can receive these mentions and display them as social proof that the episode was actually listened to. In addition to individual websites being able to do this, it would be awesome if podcast players/apps could send webmentions on behalf of their users (either with user specific data like Name, website, avatar, etc. if it’s stored, without it, or anonymized by the player itself) so that the canonical page for the podcast could collect (and potentially display) them.

As a proof of concept, here’s a page for a podcast episode that can receive webmentions. Someone listens to it, makes a “listen post” on their site, and sends a webmention of that fact. The original page can then collect it on the backend or display it if it chooses. Just imagine what this could do for the podcast world at scale for providing actual listening statistics?

In addition to aggregate numbers of downloads a podcast is receiving, they could also begin to have direct data about actual listens. Naturally the app/player would have to set (or allow a configuration) some percentage threshold of how much was played before sending such a notification to the receiving site. Perhaps the webmention spec for listens could also include the data for the percentage listened and send that number in the payload?

The toughest part may be collecting the rel=”canonical” URL for the podcast’s post (to send the webmention there) rather than the audio file’s URL, though I suspect that the feed for the podcast may have this depending on the feed’s source.

If you want to go a step further, you could add Micropub support to Overcast, so that when people are done listening to episodes, the app could send a micropub request to their registered website (perhaps via authentication using IndieAuth?). This would allow people to automatically make “listen posts” to their websites using Overcast and thereby help those following them to discover new and interesting podcasts. (Naturally, you might need a setting for sites that support both micropub and webmention, so that the app doesn’t send a webmention when it does a micropub post for a site that will then send a second webmention as well.)

One could also have podcast players with Micropub support that would allow text entry for commenting on particular portions of podcasts (perhaps using media fragments)? Suddenly we’re closer to commenting on individual portions of audio content in a way that’s not too dissimilar to SoundCloud’s commenting interface, but done in a more open web way.

As further example, I maintain a list of listen posts on my personal website. Because it includes links to the original audio files, it also becomes a “faux-cast” that friends and colleagues can subscribe to everything I’m listening to (or sub-categorizations thereof) via RSS. Perhaps this also works toward helping to fix some of the discovery problem as well?

Thanks, as always, for your dedication to building one of the best podcast tools out there!

📺 USB Audio FINALLY Works on Android! | YouTube

Watched USB Audio FINALLY Works on Android! (Recording Test - Shield Tablet Running Lollipop) from YouTube
It's Happening! True USB input and output has been one of the most requested and completely neglected features missing from Android. With Android 5.0, it's finally arrived! Let's take a look at a Shield Tablet hooked up to a USB Mic!

Reply to Taylor Jadin about podcasting networks

Replied to a tweet by Taylor JadinTaylor Jadin (Twitter)

Taylor, If it helps a bit, Manton Reece [(@manton), (@manton)] fairly recently created a microcast network and some tools to help people create, host, and distribute short podcasts with micro.blog. It’s an interesting model and one which could eventually be built upon as a minimal product for adding additional features and tools.

Additionally Aaron Parecki had some thoughts a while back on his microcast (episode 9: Streamlining My Microcast Workflow) about improving his production workflow. Earlier today he also created a discovery website (with subtle hints of a webring) that acts as a discovery mechanism and network of sorts for microcasts which you might find interesting in light of your plans.

I might also submit that if you’re doing it for students, starting with small, short microcasts are always a quick way to get started.

All this to remind me that I just got a Yeti Blue for my birthday and I need to fire it up to continue on with both my microcast and my longer format podcast.