Blogs and Podcasts

I am considering a podcast.  A friend from seminary usually greets me with one word: podcast. So I’m considering it. I have the first edition scratched out and want to have the first year outlined before I go to step two. It would be fun but it is a lot of work too.

Obviously, I’m a blogger. You’re currently reading my blog.

So why the title of this post? Because I just listened to one of my favorite podcasts and at the end there was a plug for voting for it in some competition. It hit me at that point. Many blogs and podcasts have become commercial enterprises. Voting for a blog or a podcast seems like giving your buddy props (and in some cases it is) but really the big winners are commercial site, not po-dunk ones like mine. Notice that I don’t have any advertisements on this site? Support for this comes out of my pocket.

So what? Or “duh”. Yea, I know, it seems like I’m slow to catch on. But the issue is that what used to be a Web 2.0 kind of thing got taken over by commercial operations. I’m part of the “problem” since I read and about 50 times a day and listen to the Grammar Girl podcast. So how do we fish through the professional podcast and blogs to get to normal people? Do we want to or need to? Do regular chumps like me simply regurgitate the links promoted on the commercial sites?

I don’t know. I’m not sure. I know that I write on things that I think about. On the left side of the blog I have an “Other Reading” list of links I find interesting. I guess the way to connect to personal sites rather than commercial ones are what could almost jokingly be called the “traditional” method: links from sites you know. I get a lot of hits from my sending church, Steve, and Tom. People sometimes find me by Google searches. I know I’m rather picky about outgoing links.

And to be honest, professional writers should be writers who are good enough to make people want to read them. I have no delusions of being as good a blogger as Doug Wilson or as successful a podcaster as John Piper (not that either one are a problem, just that they’re better than I). But I think we must be aware that there are professional bloggers out there. The very soul of blogging has changed from the early days. 1I’ve been blogging in one form or another since April 12, 2002 and I’m fairly new to it. Blogging used to be a grassroots thing and has grown into a somewhat less regulated media outlet.

AND? And nothing. But just be aware that when you vote for professional podcasts or blogs you’re really helping their bottom line. The more successful they are the more they can charge advertisers. And it isn’t just hit counts that matter, these kinds of ‘awards’ help too. Think of the internet as your mail box. The professional blogs and podcasts are catalogs and the personal ones like mine are a hand written letter from a friend.

Tim Etherington

1 I’ve been blogging in one form or another since April 12, 2002 and I’m fairly new to it.
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  • I have to point out that I was just like you a year ago. Grammar Girl was my hobby.

    Grammar Girl took off beyond my wildest dreams, and quickly started taking up so much of my time that it HAD to be a commercial enterprise because I didn’t have time to work anymore. I’m not sad about how things have turned out, but it wasn’t my plan.

    I know you aren’t saying anything bad here about commercial podcasts, but I don’t think the line between professional podcasts and “regular chumps” is as concrete as you think it is. (And you shouldn’t refer to yourself as a “chump”!)

    And you’re quite right that winning awards can have a commercial benefit. It increases visibility, which can lead to media coverage, and I suspect it helps attract advertisers.

    I don’t think of my show as a catalog. I still produce it exactly the same way I did when it was a hobby–except with slightly better recording equipment and on a more regular schedule.

    Finally, you should do a podcast! It’s fun. If you need any advice, e-mail me with specific questions. I’m always happy to help people get started.

  • Wow. First, you’re fast. This post was up for only a few hours. Second, you’re Grammar Girl! (You did catch that part about me listening, right? :)

    (Now I’m all paranoid about my spelling and grammar.)

    As you mentioned, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with commercial podcasts. And I certainly don’t think yours is crassly commercial. I was thinking about how blogs and podcasting have grown. I hope you weren’t offended.

  • I wasn’t terribly offended. :)

    I have some of the same feelings when I try to decide whether to vote for radio or TV rebroadcasts. I love “This American Life,” but I wonder if one of the more independent shows could use my vote more. That doesn’t mean I think of “This American Life” as a corporate shill, but they have resources that some of the smaller shows don’t, and it would be nice to see smaller shows get more exposure.

    But then I waffle, because I think “This American Life” gets great exposure because the show is fantastic. So doesn’t it then follow that they deserve awards?

    I don’t have the answer, but you’ve made me think, and that’s the sign of a good blog.

    Best wishes!

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