I may seem a little bit slow but not all of us make it onto the ‘boat of innovation’ as fast as others. When I think about it, I have been missing the boat most of my life, but there's a new phenomenon that's come to town and I don't think I'm the last to hear about it. Podcasts, what are they? Well today I finally got my act together and brought my head out of the pit of ignorance where it had been dwelling in relative bliss. I have now experienced podcasts and I think I have an idea as to why and how this new form of Internet communication can bring a whole new level of intimacy to our human community.
Podcasts are like blogs in the sense that they give any individual or group a means to express their ideas to the wider society. The difference is that you can now listen to the actual person's voice as well as to whatever information they have recorded for their visitors, like music or samples from other media sources. The force that grabs me is the power of connection one feels when you realize that you are hearing an individual person's thoughts. Some podcasts seem to be stream-of-consciousness dialogue, so you really feel like you are getting to know the essence of a so-called ‘stranger’ that you may never actually meet in the flesh. Other podcasts are set up so you can read the blog on the computer screen while at the same time getting to hear the voice of the author, which adds a whole new dimension to expressing oneself.
I typed ‘podcasts’ into www.google.com and found this site, which has a list of many podcasts deemed to be the ‘freshest in the known Universe': http://audio. weblogs.com/. I listened to a few on the list, including one called http://podchef. libsyn.com/. This is an average guy who happens to be a chef. He usually talks about all things gastronomical, but also shares his views on life in general. As I sat listening to this guy chatting away I couldn't help picturing him in his house, where he says he lives on an island on the coast of the USA. I had to wonder, what makes someone sit down at his or her computer at home and attempt to talk to the world? Does he know someone will be listening or is he just taking a chance that someone will? If there is someone hearing his thoughts, why does he want us to hear what he's saying anyway?
I think the answers lie deep within our bloodlines, within our tribal instincts, which so much of the time lie dormant in the wine cellars of our minds. In our present planetary society of approximately 6 billion human souls, one can often feel that they are alone, that no one else knows they even exist. We get to hear the perspectives of the major billion-dollar media corporations about what life is supposed to mean to us, about what is ‘important’ to us. Many of us are feeling left out of the circle. We feel empty and strange because others don't mention the things that are relevant to us. This can often lead us to thinking that we are insignificant, disconnected, and that we don't ‘fit in’.
We have now reached a new era in our species’ history. People are figuratively screaming out into the dark emptiness, pleading to be heard by someone that will understand them, and connect with them in a social relationship. A great society will be the one where individuals (people who have decided to interpret life for themselves through their own experience) reach out and realize the power of the people around them. Like a giant tribe, or a hive, we will learn to appreciate the skills, attributes, and voices of the whole team. This may result in all of us working together for the collective good of all, where we all feel that we are an imperative, important part of the group.
I checked out a few other podcasts that were interesting in their own right like http://www.twistedlittlegnome.com/ Here two brothers that live on opposite sides of their country have conversations about ‘geeky’ ideas on-line. It's pretty cool, two people talking to each other, while we can listen and comment on their perspectives. http://dreammaker. libsyn.com/ is a very simple podcast that shows how you can use this medium to play music, showing others what you've made, or letting them know what you like to listen to. http://wichitarutherford. libsyn.com/ is a good example of how to incorporate photos or pictures to enhance the listening experience. http://oldtymeradioman. libsyn.com/ is a podcast dedicated to listening to old-style radio shows of the past. It's ironic that the construct of these old shows is being relived in this futuristic context, as many people are incorporating music and sound effects within their dialogue. It exemplifies the cyclic course that much of humanity's creativity travels over time.
Like blogs and now vlogs (video blogs), podcasts are a sign that individual people need to connect with others in the community and are starting to speak out to the world. Listen to the voices of your fellow human beings and you might just come to realize that there are others like yourself, and that the way you see life in the Universe is a valid one. One day soon you too may decide to share your mind with the rest of us. You never know whom you may meet through the process. You also could find out more about yourself, when you hear your own voice speak its mind out loud.
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Jesse S. Somer
Jesse S. Somer is imagining the voices of all his brothers and sisters of the Earth. It sure would be cool to know what you are all thinking about.