I happen to believe that podcasts are much more interesting when they have listener comments. Though I don’t share Michael O’Connor Clarke’s general disdain for the quality of podcasts, I do share his distaste for “the kissyfest ‘love the show’ comments from loyal listeners.”
The problem with most comments is that, like letters to the editor, they frequently show up when the topic at hand has gone stone cold. Take for instance PRobecast #9 — and I’m not picking on my friends at Topaz Partners here, it’s just the podcast I’m listening to as I type. I’d be inclined to leave a comment about the Fred Vogelstein story. Except it happened over a week ago so by the time most folks listen to PRobecast #10 and hear my rant, it would be 2 weeks after anyone cared about the topic. Since most business podcasts are weekly at best this 2 week lag will occur frequently.
That’s why I think Joseph Jaffe may be on to something. This morning and last night he was Twittering about topics that he wants to discuss on the next Across the Sound podcast and soliciting comments in advance of the show. That’s a great idea. By gathering content from others for timely topics, the comments become more participation and less after the fact, letter to the editor drivel.
Now, Twitter may or may not be the right venue. It’s likely to generate a serious echo chamber effect where the same usual suspects comment all the time. But many podcasts have that anyway and maybe it isn’t so bad — most talking head shows on TV or radio have similar commentators from week to week.
But I love the idea. It makes comments more timely and valuable as contributions to the discussion.
Maybe I’ll start posting topics to my blog in advance of my shows to try to get listener contributions like this…