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...
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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!
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!
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.
My mom has a podcast but you can only hear it if you have the password to my voicemail— Dan Duvall (@lazerdoov) July 17, 2018
David Remnick speaks with Malcolm Gladwell about how he arrived at his particular approach to storytelling.
I appreciate how Gladwell makes the attempt to reach out to his readers between books and has thought about how podcasting is a useful way to do that. Some of this is the idea behind the why and how of what a good author platform is and how it should work. Podcasting is just a tool for doing a piece of that better.
There are some interesting references in here that I’ll have to read up on as well as taking a look at Gladwell’s podcast. I’m curious how he translates his storytelling approach in the audio medium compared to how he writes.
h/t Aaron Davis
I’ll start off with the fact that I’m a big fan of The Gillmore Gang and recommend it to anyone who is interested in the very bleeding edge of the overlap of technology and media. I’ve been listening almost since the beginning, and feel that digging back into their archives is a fantastic learning experience even for the well-informed. Most older episodes stand up well to the test of time.
In the Doc Soup episode of The Gillmor Gang on 5/13/17–right at the very end–Steve Gillmor reiterated, “This isn’t a podcast. This was a podcast. It will always be a podcast, but streaming is where it’s at, and that’s what we’re doing right now.” As such, apparently Tech Crunch (or Steve for that matter) doesn’t think it’s worthwhile to have any sort of subscribe-able feed for those who prefer to listen to a time shifted version of the show. (Ironically in nearly every other episode they talk about the brilliance of the Apple TV, which is–guess what?–a highly dedicated time shifting viewing/listening device.) I suppose that their use of an old, but modified TV test pattern hiding in the og:image metadata on their webpages is all-too-apropos.
It’s been several years (around the time of the Leo Incident?) since The Gillmor Gang has reliably published an audio version, a fact I find painful and frustrating as I’m sure many others do as well. At least once or twice a year, I spend an hour or so searching around to find one, generally to no avail. While watching it live and participating in the live chat may be nice, I typically can’t manage the time slot, so I’m stuck trying to find time to watch the video versions on Tech Crunch. Sadly, looking at four or more old, wrinkly, white men (Steve himself has cautioned, “cover your eyes, it’ll be okay…” without admitting it could certainly use some diversity) for an hour or more isn’t my bailiwick. Having video as the primary modality for this show is rarely useful. To me, it’s the ideas within the discussion which are worthwhile, so I only need a much lower bandwidth .mp3 audio file to be able to listen. And so sadly, the one thing this over-technologized show (thanks again TriCaster!) actually needs from a production perspective is a simple .mp3 (RSS, Atom, JSON feed, or h-feed) podcast feed!
In recent batches of searching, I have come across a few useful resources for those who want simple, sweet audio out of the show, so I’m going to document them here.
First, some benevolent soul has been archiving audio copies of the show to The Internet Archive for a while. They can be found here (sorted by upload date): https://archive.org/search.php?query=subject%3A%22Gillmor+Gang%22&sort=-publicdate
In addition to this, one might also use other search methods, but this should give one most of the needed weekly content. Sadly IA doesn’t provide a useful feed out…
To create a feed quickly, one can create a free Huffduffer account. (This is one of my favorite tools in the world by the way.) They’ve got a useful bookmarklet tool that allows you to visit pages and save audio files and metadata about them to your account. Further, they provide multiple immediate means of subscribing to your saves as feeds! Thus you can pick and choose which Gillmor Gang episodes (or any other audio files on the web for that matter) you’d like to put into your feed. Then subscribe in your favorite podcatcher and go.
For those who’d like to skip a step, Huffduffer also provides iTunes and a variety of other podcatcher specific feeds for content aggregated in other people’s accounts or even via tags on the service. (You can subscribe to what your friends are listening to!) Thus you can search for Gillmor Gang and BOOM! There are quick and easy links right there in the sidebar for you to subscribe to your heart’s content! (Caveat: you might have to filter out a few duplicates or some unrelated content, but this is the small price you’ll pay for huge convenience.)
My last potential suggestion might be useful to some, but is (currently) so time-delayed it’s likely not as useful. For a while, I’ve been making “Listen” posts to my website of things I listen to around the web. I’ve discovered that the way I do it, which involves transcluding the original audio files so the original host sees and gets the traffic, provides a subscribe-able faux-cast of content. You can use this RSS feed to capture the episodes I’ve been listening to lately. Note that I’m way behind right now and don’t always listen to episodes in chronological order, so it’s not as reliable a method for the more avid fan. Of course now that I’ve got some reasonable solutions… I’ll likely catch up quickly and we’re off to the races again.
Naturally none of this chicanery would be necessary if the group of producers and editors of the show would take five minutes to create and host their own version. Apparently they have the freedom and flexibility to not have to worry about clicks and advertising (which I completely appreciate, by the way) to need to capture the other half of the audience they’re surely missing by not offering an easy-to-find audio feed. But I’m dead certain they’ve got the time, ability, and resources to easily do this, which makes it painful to see that they don’t. Perhaps one day they will, but I wouldn’t bet the house on it.
I’ve made requests and been holding my breath for years, but the best I’ve done so far is to turn blue and fall off my chair.
Earlier in the week I noticed how well reading.am dovetailed with Huffduffer. Now I’m noticing that my listen posts (aka my faux-cast) also now translate to micro.blog’s podcast discovery page. The secret to this seems to be having an .mp3 file in a post that feeds across. I do notice at least one post without an .mp3, but which includes the word “podcast.” Are there any other criterion for this @manton?
I wonder if there’s a way for more posts to display the inline audio player without being hosted directly by micro.blog?
We have something really big to announce today. Micro.blog now supports hosting short-form podcasts, also known as microcasts, with a companion iPhone app called Wavelength for recording, editing, and publishing episodes.
Micro.blog is about making short-form content you own as simple to post as a tweet because we believe blogging should be easier. Podcasting should be easier too.
Wavelength looks like a cool new app in the podcasting space. While meant for growing category of microcasts, it portends some interesting things. I suspect this is just the start for something that will likely continue getting better over time.
I don’t really think of it as a “podcast” per se, but since I make “listen” posts of all the various podcasts and audio I listen to and the vast majority of those posts include direct links to the audio files, my own listen feed essentially becomes a self-published podcast of all the stuff I’m listening to that others could potentially consume. Maybe I should call it a faux-cast?
Here’s the link you can use to subscribe in your favorite podcatcher: http://boffosocko.com/kind/listen/feed/
Perhaps one day I’ll do more with feed validation and submit it to various distribution channels to make searching/subscribing easier, but since I’m not really “promoting” it as anything other than a means of discovery (or extreme stalker behavior) I won’t take the time now.
As I think about creating “want” posts in the near term, perhaps I’ll create a feed of want-to-listen-to items as another discovery channel option as well. In some sense, this is how I use my Huffduffer.com account. It has a subscribe-able list of audio items I want to listen to at some point in the future. Since I can add my Huffduffer feed (or those of others) to my podcatcher, it helps enable me to easily get the content to my phone or other devices to listen to a variety of new things. There’s no reason not to do all of this on my own site explicitly.
Now if only podcatchers could support micropub for more easily creating scrobbles or “listens”…
Broadcasting app Anchor, which helps anyone record and share audio, is relaunching its app today with a new focus on serving the larger podcaster community... Of course, there is one concern for professional podcasters migrating to Anchor’s platform – and that’s whether it will be around in the long-term. For now, the company isn’t generating revenue – it’s living off its funding. Podcasters who pay for hosting or self-host don’t generally have to worry with whether they’ll one day have to quickly migrate elsewhere because the company is shutting down or being acquired – and that’s always a concern with startups.
I appreciate that they both give and highlight some reasonable caveats about using this Anchor given its start-up nature. Mentions of potential site-deaths should have been de rigueur for the past decade and change.
It also makes me wonder why an app like this, which has some great and useful higher end utility, doesn’t offer its production service as the product? Sure they can offer the hosting and other bits to the general public, but for the professionals who are already out there, why not give them inexpensive access to the root production service and then allow immediate export so that the company could host the end product on their own website? This would amount to a very solid PESOS service. In fact, they could probably offer the production side for free for the big players for the advertising leverage to gain the smaller players in the space.
I’ve noticed some very large publishing concerns, notably The Atlantic Interview recently, who are sadly relying on third party services to host their podcast content. For large companies that actually have a team that manages their presence to at least some extent, there’s really no reason that they should be relying on a third party to be holding the URLs to their content.
I’m curious to try this out now for my own too-often-neglected microcast. Having a simpler and more straight-forward production flow would certainly help lower the bar for making it even despite my already low requirements for making it.
Create your own podcast: find links to audio files on the Web; huffduff the links (add them to your podcast); subscribe to podcasts of other found sounds.
I tell almost everyone I know who’s into web audio and podcasts how much I love Huffduffer.
I should tell Jeremy Keith more often I love that he runs this little service: Thanks for making the world so much brighter!Syndicated copies to: