In this episode, I play a song from the Thermals, the first of a few; I talk about the civil rights era, and protest past and present; who are the inauguration protests for?; I don’t want to argue with anyone about; Eat to Live opposition is weird; Robert Scoble is the post-Trump model of an advocate; the VR boosterism feels to me like Second Life boosterism circa 2005; I declare (limited) podcast bankruptcy
A few years ago there was a blog frenzy on here about podcast production. I listened to a podcast where the host was demonstratiing how he made his show sound professional, with his Heil microphone and his compressor and effects chain. I listened to that show and in fact I thought that his show sounded better when he turned off all the vocal compression. Before he sounded like a truck rally commercial, after he sounded like a person conversing. Of course, via Twitter he rallied his faithful listeners to come and tell me how wrong I was and this was the result.
Around that time I made myself a little sketch but I didn’t have a working scanner at the time so this was confined to a 3″ X 5″ index card in a pile of detritus in my office. The other day I ran across it and immediately relived the whole argument in a flash, as much fun as that was. In itself, it was a rehash of a 2005 era running of the bull when Stephen Hill of the Hearts of Space radio show weighed in via Steve Gillmor how he though podcasting would never go anywhere because the audio production was so frequently too low as to be unlistenable to him.
My opinion was always hard to articulate but approximates to :
There is a floor of production and processing below which I can’t stand to listen no matter how good the content.
There is a ceiling over which I can’t stand to listen no matter how good the content.
There is some content that I find god awful no matter how good or bad the audio quality is but the opposite doesn’t hold true.
This is easier to represent graphically, and here with my meager talents and illegible handwriting is the sketch I drew myself to figure out what I was talking about. Some of these shows and networks I haven’t listened to in many years but I’d say that this all holds up pretty well in terms of me still agreeing with it. I’m not mentioning the names of the original folks who were so opposed to me because I don’t want any Google Alerts to bring in a lot of douche baggage. Still, I like the concept and stand by it so here you go inkernet. Enjoy!
Update: I didn’t listen to the show when I first drew this graph but I should have added to it. I’d put George Hrab’s Geologic Podcast about halfway between Hour of Slack and the listenable/unlistenable line. I like the show and am engaged with it each episode and long term as a subscriber, but there have been shows where the produced stuff put me off to the point of getting an itchy skip finger. It’s also worth noting that my single favorite episodes were the three hours of him just talking with his friend Milton about Trebuchet . No bits, no jingles or stingers or bumpers, just lots of talk and bits of music.
Update 2: I saw via FriendFeed that Evo Terra mentioned on Twitter this XKCD cartoon. This is a different angle on the same exasperation I feel sometimes.
Via Doug Kaye comes this link to a new version of the Gillmor Gang. This might well be the best one yet. I’m just waiting for the Andrew Keen puppet. Maybe I should build one and start competing with Feldman!
So I haven’t a created an original tweet over on Twitter – one that wasn’t either housekeeping or a reply to someone else – in a month. That mode of interaction exists entirely on my Friend Feed account now. Any tweets that do happen are exhortations to get followers to move over to FriendFeed with me, or crossposted FF comments. I’m happy with that.
For a month of Steve Gillmor has been telling me that I was philosophically inconsistent for still having any Twitter in my life. He thinks I should hide it all on FriendFeed if I’m such a hardcore switcher. I’ve toyed with the idea but am not ready to pull that trigger. FriendFeed has a beautiful transition plan in place automatically so why not take advantage of that a little long. Now I heard on his show that Steve too has ceased to originate tweets, in his case choosing to use Identi.ca exclusively. If he’s getting fed up, then things are coming to a head. He’s been a die hard proponent for longer than is reasonable and a better friend to Twitter than it was to anyone else as it enters the fast part of the toilet bowl swirl. I’ve always wondered how much of this love of Twitter by Silicon Valley types even as it was sucking ass was for the service itself and how much is residual affection and loyalty for the founders? Odeo was winning awards for “best podcast startup” when all it had was a “under construction” page, so this dynamic of over-valuing their ventures is real.
Now, as if all the various unreliabilities weren’t enough, users are finding their accounts blocked for TOS violations and removed with no apparent cause. I’ve obviously been done with Twitter for a while, but this should be check and mate for everyone else. When the unreliability goes beyond website downtime, rollback of feature sets, intermittent unavailability of your account data into full fledged spurious lockouts from the account, it is time to bail. Twitter is like your drunk uncle, and now this is the 5th baseball practice in a row that he has failed to show up and give you a ride home. Are you going to trust it to be there when you need it? I don’t.
I’d suggest that everyone that still cares about the Twitter mode of interaction move to Identi.ca or FriendFeed (or both hooked together), leave a pointer in your Twitter account that you are moving over and shut out the lights. Enough is enough. I understand you once loved the service but if you continue to use it now you are entering the codependent enabling phase of the relationship. Don’t come crying to me when you get hurt. It doesn’t deserve your loyalty, so withdraw it. I’ll see you on the other side, as geniodiabolico at both FriendFeed and Identi.ca. Check and mate.
Today I was invited to participate in a new Gillmor venture, the the News Gang. Steve’s always liked me despite whatever dicklike behavior I exhibit, so what could I do but say yes? Late in the afternoon I got a direct Twitter message from Steve inviting me. I was a little worried about the logistics of calling in from my day job but it all worked out. Thanks to Steve for the invitation. It was nerve wracking but fun. It definitely is harder than it sounds, because it is difficult to tell what time to talk so a few times I just sort of waded in and threw an elbow. It’s kind of like being on a Subgenius show.
The episode is live now, so check it out. I’m not going to listen back because I don’t want to hear how stupid and nervous I sounded, but I’d appreciate honest feedback on how I did from those who do listen. Just the other day I was wondering to myself what I had to do to weasel myself an invite onto the Gillmor Gang/Group and bingo, there it was. Papa likes!