Disclaimer: The following post is about an experience I had listening to a podcast. I am not advertising the blogs or podcasts on behalf of the bloggers, although I did link to them. They didn’t ask me to write this post; I came up with this idea all by myself. 😉 Also, be aware: this is a lengthy, wordy post. Exactly the sort of thing you would expect from me. 😉
It was probably two years ago when I discovered a dad-blogger who was as active in blogging as I was. Or maybe he discovered me. I don’t remember. Anyway, at one point we started to read each other, then follow each other, and over time, we got to know one another in the comments.
There is, among blogging moms and dads with school-aged children, an understanding that often doesn’t require explaining. We are IN it, and we get it. And, as in our case, we blog about it. 😛
He became a friend for a variety of reasons:
We both have teenagers.
We both have kids in sports.
We both have…laundry. 😬
So. Much. Laundry. 😭
But we also share similar struggles. I won’t bore you with all the nitty-gritty that is family life with teenagers, you already know all of that, but that was part of it. It was about reading between the lines and understanding without having to explain. There was that.
Most importantly, we both share a deep love for the written/typed/blogged word. Like so many of you who are reading this right now. ❤
You might have guessed that I’m talking about Jonathan. He reads and comments here and there on my blog, and on many of yours, too. Some of you follow him as well… (click this header to go to his blog)
Let me tell you something else about him.
He is, first and foremost, a cyber-traveler. 😶 I followed him from WP to some self-hosted obscure cyber-island, then back to WP, then to Blogger and now he’s at…Ghost. 😯 Yes, I think that’s where he’s blogging from now. There may have been other platforms but I lost track. 🙃
If all this confuses you, have no fear. He also chats up social media – Twitter, Instagram and all the rest of it. If you want to find him, you can. It’s not hard.
(That’s another thing we share, although I only have Twitter and Instragram now, most of the other stuff I experimented with I let fizz out.)
But. That’s not what I was going to talk about. Today, I wanted to mention his latest project, which he’s been working on for weeks now and has him acting like a kid at Christmas. 🙂
Jonathan is now a Podcaster.
Definition: A podcast is a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device. The term podcast is a portmanteau consisting of iPod and Broadcast.
The premise: he’s podcasting about bloggers. With bloggers. About, primarily, blogging. But not just any old blogging.
Jonathan’s primary interest is story-telling blogging.
His objective, from what I’m gathering, is to find out why people like us blog, how we go about it, what attracted us to it, how we evolved over time, and what our struggles are. And this just scratches the surface.
Rather than writing out a blog posts about all of these ideas, he reaches out to people and offers to have a chat with them. From what I’ve heard so far, he’s using Skype to do the actual recording, then he edits it for clarity and background noise before launching the conversation as a podcast.
And before you inquire, yes, he’s asked me to interview with him too. And although I haven’t officially confirmed yet, he has twisted my arm a little…not in a pushy way, but in an encouraging way.
He knows that I have stories to tell, so he figures I could be one of his guests on his podcasts.
I’m intrigued, and curious, and…a little scared. I’ve never done anything like this before. 😲
So far he’s done 3 podcasts.
The first one, Episode 0, is a trial run where he’s just talking to himself, to test things out in terms of sound quality. He gives his own history and some technical background as to platforms and apps and all that. He is of course knowledgeable about these things, so if you want a keener understanding on how this whole Web Log = Blog thing was born, listen to Episode 0.
By the time he chatted with his oldest daughter, in Episode 1, he had improved on some of technical issues. You may know, if you read him, that he’s a programmer/coder/IT person and there is probably not much he doesn’t know about all the secret behind-the scenes places on the internet, so if anyone can figure things out, he can. (And does.) In this episode, we heard Jonathan in dad-mode, talking to 19 year old Laura, who was cute and enlightening and inspiring and wonderful to hear talk about all things internet with her podcaster dad. 🙂
After he launched Episode 1, he talked to me about inclusivity, hoping that people of all walks of life (and ability) can listen in. I appreciate that – I struggle with hearing and often shy away from audio things like podcasts unless my hearing needs are met.
For me to listen to podcasts I would need:
- good sound quality
- clear speaking (no mumbling, especially male/deeper voices)
- no/few background noises
- a headset on my head
I have not bothered much with podcasts to date, although people who commute in cars swear by them. I can understand this, but it’s not practical for me with my hearing loss. If I do watch an instructive clip on, say, youtube, I usually activate the captions just as a backup (if the sound quality is good, I can get by, but I like the captions there as backup).
Now that Jonathan is doing this project, I am kind of drawn toward checking podcasts out. Not just his, but others. But not all applications offer captions.
I am very likely not the only one who likes having access to captions.
Please feel free to chime in if you have something to contribute on this topic.
But I digress.
By the time he officially launched the third podcast (with Amy Lyons Smith, a fellow blogger in Virginia) I thought, hm…he’s on to something.
Half my family left on Saturday morning for the rink, and the teenager was still asleep. So I had a quiet house. I plugged myself into the headset, and listened to Jonathan and Amy’s podcast.
It was So Much Fun!
Side note: I heard both voices clearly. Jonathan’s voice is male and deep and he has an English accent, but I didn’t struggle as much as I thought I would. He must have really improved things with the accessories. Amy has a nice, clear voice and she was adorable! I really enjoyed listening to the entire conversation.
The podcast with Amy touched on so many topics that were familiar to me, and validated that I am exactly where I want to be in terms of blogging.
I get the impression Jonathan did a lot of prep work. He had some specific questions but they didn’t sound like an interview for a job application. They sounded like they were having a chat over a cup of tea. It just so happens that Jonathan was conducting this chat from his home in the UK, whereas Amy was on the east coast of North America.
How amazing is that?
I also noticed how Jonathan moderated the flow of the topics very well. The conversation was easy to listen to and I am not shy to admit that I actually made some notes while Amy spoke. She touched on so many topics that felt so familiar to me – here’s a woman I’ve never met, only see in social media occasionally, and yet, I felt like I was making a new friend on some level.
It is quite astonishing that we all went through similar sentiments while we were parenting young children during a time when blogging became a huge, new phenomenon.
She touched on things I too went through while I was a blogging mom of younger children, talked a bit about the whole parenting teenagers thing, and the struggle of knowing how to respect the boundaries of family members while blogging about personal experiences. She talked about trolls and negativity, neither of which were a problem for her (or me, either, to be honest).
Jonathan asked her about her earlier days of blogging, how she started and how blogging evolved for her over time. There was a bit of talk about the whole niche / no niche premise – I too remember a push by many bloggers or organizations to ensure one has a niche. (I never picked a niche.)
The prevalent, recurring theme of the podcast was about the story-telling.
Even when Amy’s blog changed, and became a bit more about her travels, she mentioned a phrase that really struck a cord with me. She said:
“I didn’t want to end up like a brochure.” (I think I paraphrased here…)
What she meant was that her blog was primarily about story-telling and not about advertising her vacation locations as a business opportunity.
It always comes back to the story-telling.
Click the links above to check out the podcasts yourself. They are approximately half an hour in length.
Thank you for reading. See you in the comments.