I like to joke that if I had a dollar for every time I was asked to fix a misbehaving piece of technology, I may never have to work another day in my life. Let me be clear, this is not a complaint. I am an avid tech enthusiast and love opportunities to share what I know with people who need help. For this reason, many of my friends and family have come to depend on me as their personal I.T. support department. While I don’t have all of the answers, and can’t fix every problem, I do enjoy expanding my knowledge of and staying current with modern consumer technology. I’ve found that one of the simplest yet most effective ways of doing this is through the consumption of high quality podcasts.
For the uninitiated, Podcasts are digital, downloadable audio and/or video content that can be played on-demand using a wide variety of devices. Think NPR but Terry Gross will start and stop talking at your will. Podcast publishers typically produce regular (usually weekly) episodes that users can subscribe to for free. Whenever a new episode is created, it can be automatically downloaded to your device, ready to be listened to on your commute, at your desk, while cleaning the house…anytime!
Because of their nature, podcasts tend to center around very specific topics. However, that’s not to say that the podcast world is limited, quite the contrary. Due to the relatively low cost of production, amateur and professional podcasters across the world have crafted in-depth coverage of topics ranging from government to grammar and everything in between, and there are more coming everyday.
As I write this blogpost, there are over 20 new podcast episodes living on my iPhone. By next week, they will all be gone and replaced with newer episodes. While that may seem excessive to some, consider the fact that I very rarely listen to music and I commute about 2 hours every day. My podcasts are a part of my daily routine and I depend on them for both entertainment and education. I listen to shows about spirituality and mindfulness, technology and science, politics and comedy (which, at times, can be very difficult to distinguish between…) and I believe they enhance my quality of life. I don’t always have time to read the things I want to and podcasts make it possible for me to stay in touch with the things I care about in an effortless way. The same applies to my large and ever growing library of audiobooks, but that’s a topic for another day.
It may surprise you to learn that many publisher you already know are also podcast creators. For example, did you know you can have a daily New York Times briefing read to you? Do you miss Oprah Winfrey? Check out her podcast – currently in the top 3 shows in the U.S.. Missed your favorite American Public Radio show? Download it on-demand. If you have a mobile device, you already have everything you need to start listening to podcasts. Both iOS and Android have stock podcast apps that let you discover new content and manage your downloads. Additionally, there are many third-party podcast apps that take the listening experience to new levels. (Note to self: write blogpost about podcast app recommendations)
Since I began this post talking about technology, and because it was this topic that initially sparked my interest in podcasts, I’d like to leave you with a list of some of my favorite tech related podcasts from the TWiT (This Week in Tech) network. Any of these picks will give you a breadth of information on their respective topics and keep you entertained as well.