When was the last time a piece of media really changed your life? When was the last time you heard a story that changed how you looked at things? Was that last movie you paid for worth that $12-$20? Did it change your perspective on anything? Has Kim Kardashian ever taught you something over the course of her hour long (42 minute?) show that you took into real life and changed your day to day actions or ideas?
Podcasts have been a part of my life for a few years now (and a few before that When I didn't really understand what podcasts were) and over that time I've ingested a lot of useless information. Anyone who thinks every episode of the Joe Rogan Experience is must-hear for all people may just as well be watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Well... Maybe it's not that bad, but it's still a type of fanaticism that would push you to listen to every one of his releases. If I did that I would barely have time for any other podcasts. Certainly not any of the other long-form style podcasts I also listen to. You (and by that I mean, "I") have to look at who the episode is with and maybe listen to the first 10-20 minutes to see if it's going in a direction you'd (I'd) find entertaining/informational/whatever you're (I'm) looking for and make an executive decision as to whether or not you want to push through.
For instance, I just stopped an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience with Christopher Ryan after about an hour. Don't get me wrong, I love them both and I especially like when they are together with Duncan Trussell, but I don't have time in my life to listen to Christopher Ryan for 3 hours once or twice a month. That's over a day of my listening life in a year that would go into hearing Joe Rogan and Christopher Ryan bullshitting. Yes, every once in a while they have profound things to talk about but they're fewer and farther in between as time goes on and there is an endless sea of amazing podcasts out there that I want find.
Wow, I spent two paragraphs explaining what I didn't want to talk about. None of this was meant to say that Kim and the rest of the Kardashians is useless (though it is what I believe) or that Joe Rogan and Christopher Ryan don't add anything to my life (far from it). What I want to say here, is that some podcasts can change your life. The right person interviewing the right people about the right subject at the right time can change the way people think. Don't believe me? Go listen to The Joe Rogan Experience #670 - Michael A. Wood, Jr. Michael is a retired Baltimore police officer (among other things) and gives his very unique perspective on how the police are part of a system that systematically puts minorities in prison. If you listen to that and don't come out with a very different perspective on the prison system than this is not the blog for you. It's an example of the type of podcast I search for.
Now on to my main point. Do you remember my post a few weeks ago about the podcast Serial? If not check it out but for those who don't bother clicking that link the main idea of the podcast is that the interviewer, Sarah Koenig, is delving deep into the murder of Hae Min Lee whose boyfriend Adnan Syed has been in prison for for over a decade. Sarah interviews Adnan, friends of his and Hae's from that time as well as professional investigators and more. The series became immediately one of the most referenced and popular ones out there and for good reason! This real life scenario became an amazing audio drama not just for the characters in the case but for how Sarah Koenig is literally pulled in a million directions as the series went on. You know the type of podcast I told you I search for? Well, every episode of Serial was one of these.
I lied. Now onto my point. Check out this article HERE. Normally there's no way I'd ever send you over to Entertainment Weekly unless it was to laugh at how laughable it is but it's worth it. Come back when you're done reading. … … .. . That's right, Adnan is getting a hearing. Turns out that people involved in the case got to hear all the other sides of the story and have spotted multiple discrepancies. Which means, that early next year a judge will hear Adnan's plea to get a new trial.
Bam. Proof that podcasts can change the world. I already knew that from the way my thoughts and perception have been altered by listening to fascinating conversations but to see it applied to the real world is a whole 'nother ball game. It made me look at podcasts differently. As if podcasts are more of a tool of social change...
Follow me here! The internet revolutionized the way we communicate with one another. It replaced the old world centralized communications in less than 10 years. Next came the Facebook which changed the way we "socialize" digitally as well as curating what information comes to us rather than we hunt it down. Next was Twitter which put the ability share thoughts/images/situations from any person to literally any other person in the world instantly. Now the big thing is Periscope which lets us broadcast our experiences in real time to anyone who bothers to watch. All of these things are tools for society. Facebook to reorganize our more "local" groups of friends as well as communities, Twitter to make anyone on the planet available to you and Periscope to make any injustice (or asshole) visible to the whole world (among other uses I'm sure...).
What if podcasts are the next step? I know podcasts aren't exactly new tech but what if we're using it wrong? What if it is another tool we can use for social change? What if we're already using them in that way naturally?
Well I know I am. I believe podcasts are the starting of a new way to learn. Instead of waiting to get to high school to learn about astrophysics kids can just listen to StarTalk Radio with Neil deGrasse Tyson. Want to know more about insects? Find an insect podcast. I enjoy etymology so I listen to The Allusionist. Every time I find a new interest I seek podcasts about that subject. Even if I don't find a whole podcast series dedicated to it there's always at least one podisode somewhere with an expert on the topic, even if I have to search weeks to find it.
Anyway, I just wanted to share the update with Adnan because a possibly innocent man may get a second chance at freedom. And it's all because of the amazing creators over at the Serial Podcast. Bravo to the people behind the podcast and good luck Adnan. I'll be patiently awaiting the next season to see how your prep goes.
PS I will be posting the best podcast of the first half of November soon. A lot of good looking episodes came out in the past few days and I want to be fair. Check back around Monday. Until then let me know what your thoughts are on the Adnan hearing, or about Serial, or even about podcasts in general below! You could also go check out who won the best podcasts for October (part 1 & part 2)!