But even with all that growth, podcasting is still a niche media type seemingly destined to be a tertiary way to get entertained or informed.
But maybe, just maybe, Blab will change that?
Blab is a video conversation application (Web and mobile) that can be described in one of two ways. Blab is either “what Google Hangouts could have been, if Google would have continued to iterate.” Alternatively, Blab is (in the words of its founder) “Talk radio if radio was still cool, but with video.”
The current darling of the marketing and information products cognoscenti, Blab’s ease-of-use and strangely addicting combination of video conversation and live chat may be just the thing to take podcasting to the next level.
It’s a fair question to ask, “If Blab is so similar to Google Hangouts (and it is), why didn’t Google Hangouts move the needle on podcasting in any significant way?” And I think the answer is that Google always gave zero f*cks about podcasting. When you own YouTube, helping take something else to new heights is not only small potatoes, but potentially at odds, strategically.
Conversely, Blab is built to be a viable podcasting platform. When you produce a Blab, whether it’s a quick, ad-hoc conversation or a planned, produced broadcast, the company sends the host a high quality audio feed and a copy of the video. This simple gesture makes it easy to use the audio feed on Podbean et al and then syndicate it to iTunes, and then take the video capture and uploading to Youtube (or setting it up as a video podcast). In this way, Blab is a worthy replacement to Skype and GoToMeeting, which most podcasters use if they are not recording in a studio. (great video on how that all works here)
Plus, the conversational element of Blab adds a whole new flavor to podcasting, as interacting with the listening audience is more visceral (and at times, rewarding) in comparison to the lonely, “is this thing on?” nature of typical podcasting.
Further, Blab seems to very much understand its potential in the podcasting arena, and recently purchased Podclear, a newish application used by some podcasters to record their shows. (Podclear is sort of a purpose-built competitor to the Skype and GoToMeeting recording function).
And, Blab recently hosted its first-ever PodCon, an online confab of podcasting heavyweights talking about best practices in the medium. For Convince & Convert readers, the three most recognizable participating names may have been Chris Brogan, Darren Rowse, and John Lee Dumas.
Blab is so easy to use, both for show hosts and for guest/commenters/watchers, that hundreds of podcasts have already either moved to the platform, or been started from scratch on Blab.
My co-host Adam Brown and I recorded an episode of our Social Pros podcast on Blab, and it was a great experience (note we interviewed Brittany Metz, the community manager from Blab on that show. If you want to know more about the incredible story of its birth on a bar napkin, and hear her tales of how to handle social media for a platform that’s going supernova in terms of usage, give it a watch/listen)
Podcasting is big, and getting bigger. But it’s still wonky, and a bit lonely. Blab fixes two shortcomings that may hold podcasting back: ease-of-use, and community engagements with fans and listeners.
What’s your take? Have you played with Blab? What are your favorite shows?
p.s. If you’re into it, there’s a great Facebook group for Blab-obsessed marketers called Blabaholics.