Podcast Ousts Print


12 May 2009

On The Millions, a post about “subscriptions we can’t go without,” even in this digital age.  I was just recently thinking about this — i.e., in these recession times, whether I really needed to renew a particular subscription.  

And I realized that, even with all my Luddite tendencies, there is one digital-technological advancement I’ve embraced wholeheartedly: the podcast (and its older sibling, sort of, the audio book).  For me, it’s digital-audio media — not internet publications or blogs — which have absolutely replaced many print publications in my media consumption universe. 

I spend a good part of my life engaged in three activities: driving (between city and country), walking/running, and yard work/gardening.  The podcast is of course the perfect companion to these activities; something about the brain functions that allow me to in fact more deeply engage with aural input while performing physical tasks.  (As for audio books, I’ve “read” many of the difficult, big books this way.)  In church as a youth, I remember always getting up in the middle of the sermon to go to the back of the sanctuary, where I could pace or rock back and forth on my feet, and thus really listen.

I also appreciate the morphing and integrating of the reading experience into something more physical — sound engages the body in a way that reading doesn’t.  As someone prone to living too much in my head, divorced from my body, this is a good thing.

So given my healthy list of podcast subscriptions (free!), the print subscriptions are falling away.  Most of what I want to be reading from the above-mentioned last holdout is available by podcast.  

And even as interface with these digital files is considered technological advancement, there is a lovely sense of returning to an oral tradition of the past.  In getting my news, analysis, and literature of the day, I feel like I’m also regressing to a kind of daily story-telling hour.  Now, if we can just get back to the mid-day nap…


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