In an age where digital communication dominates our lives, it’s easy to feel lost in the noise. Yet the boom in podcasting suggests a universal need to be heard. In the bustling hub of online discourse, podcasts offer an intimate, personal platform that allows individuals to carve out a unique space for their voices.
These days, though, it’s difficult to find someone who hasn’t at one point thought about starting a podcast. And, there are a lot of people who have followed through on this thought. With so many people trying to be heard, has the freedom to voice our opinions become a loud and cacophonous shouting contest? And what does this trend mean in an age where we have endless access to media?
Blogs and vlogs to podcasts
The podcast boom can be traced back to a fundamental human instinct—the need to share our thoughts and opinions. We use communication to connect with our fellow human beings. A podcast is a direct and personal way to do this; the difference is that you’re doing most (if not all) of the talking.
This desire to share opinions isn’t a new phenomenon. The same motivation led people to start blogs in the early 2000s, vlogs in the late 2000s, and now podcasts in the 2020s. However, the rise of podcasts represents a shift from the written or visual to the audio. This intimate medium allows listeners to hear the speaker’s emotions and nuances in a way that text can’t replicate. There is a sense of authenticity that comes from a podcast because of the nuances of tone, emotion, and emphasis that can’t be replicated in written or visual media. It’s this authenticity that compels people to start a podcast, to create a personal connection that transcends the digital divide.
The double-edged sword of opinion sharing
But why do we feel this need to add our voices into the digital fray?
In the vast arena of the internet, polarising opinions often take centre stage. Provocative, controversial viewpoints tend to gain the most traction, attracting likes, shares, and retweets. This can make individuals feel compelled to weigh in, to offer their own perspectives and counter-narratives. Starting a podcast becomes a way to join the conversation and to challenge the prevailing discourse.
However, the digital world is rife with echo chambers. Like-minded individuals reinforce each other’s viewpoints, leaving little room for debate. Starting a podcast can either perpetuate these echo chambers or break them down. The most successful podcasts are those that foster open, respectful dialogue. And those that provide a platform for diverse viewpoints and challenge their listeners to think critically.
In our era of doom-scrolling, where the consumption of negative news seems endless, the need to offer a different narrative becomes even more urgent. People are drawn to podcasts that provide an antidote to the doom-and-gloom narrative. Podcasts that challenge prevailing viewpoints, and offer fresh insights. Starting a podcast can seem like an act of resistance against the relentless tide of negativity even if few are able to actually achieve this.
Fostering connection and understanding
So, why does everyone have a podcast? Because in a world often reduced to faceless avatars and polarised debates, a podcast offers a chance to be seen and heard as a human being.
It’s ultimately a sign that we all want to be heard and understood. In a world where we should be more connected than ever, we can actually end up feeling more alone. The desire to share our thoughts and opinions with strangers through a podcast can seem like an easier way to connect with others than the vulnerability that comes from connecting with people face to face.