The Benefits of Commuting

Published by Tony Quinlan on

Last year when David Tebbutt and I ran our workshop on New Media in Amsterdam last year, one of the places we disagreed was around podcasts.  Tebbo thought they were a problem – too time-intensive and demanding your attention, as opposed to skim-able blogs.

I held – and still believe – that podcasts have tremendous potential within organisations for two reasons.

Firstly, some people listen better than they read.  Not necessarily for any great NLP reason, but just because there is a percentage of the workforce that has reading difficulties – impaired sight, dyslexia, learning difficulties or any number of other things could make text-based communication problematic.  (A major issue usually overlooked in any communication programme.)

Secondly, for mobile workers who spend much of their time traveling, audio programmes are an ideal way to get information.  Salesforce, case workers, engineers, etc can’t read as they drive, but they can certainly listen.  And an audio programme with news, knowledge stories and interviews is perfect for that audience.

Since last year’s workshop, I’ve not been a big listener to podcasts – a fact that bothered me, given that I’d advocated them so strongly.  And I realised why – I generally work from home and podcasts are not easily listened to at the desk.  It’s actually better and easier to listen when you’re on the move.

Commuting being one of the ideal opportunities.  If you’ve got a workforce that’s got a high percentage of MP3 player ownership, make the most of it.  Give them something to listen to on their bus/train/car ride.

And I’ve found my alternative.  Listening to music while I run wasn’t effective – but podcasts are ideal.  So I’m listening and learning as we go.  Some are good, others less so, but the point I tried to make last year is, finally, justified to myself.


David Tebbutt · 4 October 2006 at 1:29 pm

I’ve actually always said that commuting is a great podcasting opportunity. In fact, any time which is otherwise ‘dead’ from a reading or viewing perspective.
You need noise-cancelling headphones to get much sense out of a podcast on a tube/subway/metro.

Tony Quinlan · 5 October 2006 at 12:21 am

Thanks for clarifying that. And you’re right on the tubes – either that, or sufficiently loud headphones to share the podcast with all your neighbours…

David Tebbutt · 5 October 2006 at 8:28 am

Yes. I had an afterthought for those who don’t want to be too ostentatious, get some of those earbuds that plunge right down the ear canal.

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