Some Feedback on the Podcast consultation process
I asked for it, and I got it. There was quite a number of /msgs in my inbox, some critical, some not so critical, many supportive.
First of all, thanks for all of your time to feed back. It is quite obvious that the podcast is by now well anchored within the consciousness of this community, and many of you like it just the way it is. Some even commented that they have no problem with my voice or my accent. Nevertheless, there was also some much needed constructive criticism:
"If I were being honest, I'd say your voice, unique as it is, is the major deal-breaker for a ton of people. You do a great job with the organization and the editing, but if we're going for broader appeal we need someone more, you know, radio-friendly, a voice that's "Good for all time zones" - listening to a podcast shouldn't be WORK for people, and your voice forces people to cross that line."
Mmmh. Adam Curry comes to mind, but can we afford him? This needs some more thought, but I think that for the moment you're going to be stuck with my tortured and mangled vowels.
This is an interesting one:
"I'd be way more likely to listen to your voice reading nodes if (and I know I'm a child of my generation) I could click a button in my web browser and make it go, a la the woot! podcast or (!!!) Skreemr audio search. I don't really "do" the podcast thing, syndicating them and all."
I quite like the idea of a built in speech synthesizer that does my voice on the click of a button, but that would be something that Dann and his merry bunch of coders would have to implement.
Here's another interesting one:
One thing that would improve on the podcasts for me would be the option to skip to the next part or listen to part of it again. Would it be possible to cut them up into "tracks"?
I don't think this works with the current generation of the podcast format. If you want to skip tracks, it wouldn't be as easily syndicatable and the downloads would consist of a folder full of separate mp3's, so for the moment I think we're (again) stuck with the present format.
The following suggestion by our dear leader is really cool:
Themed podcasts would work, though I'd make the themes more specific than categories - "snow" would work, in all its meanings. It'd also be easier for the nodegroup to get involved, I think, if you said "I need someone to read THIS node" or "nodes about THIS" instead of "read anything you want." Narrowing the focus for people takes a lot of the work out of it.
That would of course mean greater editorial influence by myself, which I don't know would be acceptable for a lot of noders. I quite like the idea of involving a Usergroup, say, the Grey Panthers, and let them be responsible for the content of one show. That way the usergroup would be able to present themselves to the rest of E2, and they would be able to showcase their best writing. So, if any usergroup out there wants a slot: let me know.
To summarise, this was a useful exercise. While the podcast is now an accepted stepsibling of the nodegel, it still has plenty of scope to improve. I might start with elocution lessons and stop reading those Charles Bukowski books.
Please continue to send me feedback AND unsolicited readings of your favourite nodes. There will always be a podcast that I can fit them into.