“Unnecessarily shot in HD. Unnecessarily editing in HD.”
— Justine via Twitter
“Unnecessarily shot in HD. Unnecessarily editing in HD.”
— Justine via Twitter
PodShow seems like a really good idea. Develop a powerful content delivery network where people can produce their own shows and upload them to a central site for distribution. If your show is really good and gets a following, PodShow will pick it up, have you sign their (controversial) contract and you’ll be recognized as a signed show producer of PodShow. From there, you’ll make money on an advertising revenue share and be a featured show on their site, gaining you exposure and critical acclaim.
This all sounds pretty great, right? Wait, there’s more: it’s all free to users–both creators of content and consumers of content.
So when PodShow released their Beta site, I thought, “wow this is a great start.” I’d been listening to Adam Curry’s Daily Source Code for probably a year or so prior to PodShow’s launch. As Adam is very charismatic, I was really excited about PodShow’s future.
Since then, PodShow has been criticized for a lot of things. Mostly people’s condemnation surround the comparison of PodShow to the old-school record-company business model of signed artists and their allegedly imperious contract. Perhaps those in the blogosphere and pod-sphere are simply resentful of the nearly $25-million in venture funding PodShow has amassed since launch. Those oft read (and heard) subjects are not what this article is about. I find PodShow’s user interface (UI) to be an absolute disaster. As stated earlier, when PodShow launched at Beta I thought it was a good start, but certainly the UI would be purged of its then (and current) idiocy and become a place where I could hang my digital hat. This is not the case–then nor now.
PodShow’s interface suffers from “way-to-much-going-on-and-no-way-to-find-what-you-really-want” syndrome. This wtmgoanwtfwyrw syndrome affects many Web sites in the world, but usually not those adorned with lots of venture capital and a full-time staff of tech wizards. I’ve heard Mr. Curry, who I am actually quite fond of (no homo), speak of upgrades, changes, new features and interface improvements over the last year or so. I’ve messed with some of the features–the features I could find that is–and like a lot of what PodShow offers. However, the UI is so incredibly faulty, that I find myself often frustrated to the point of closing my browser window. Usually, I last about 10 minutes!
So what’s wrong with the UI? It’s so screwed up, it’s nearly too complicated to articulate, but I will give it a shot…
There’s more I could complain about, but I think it’s obvious to most users who probably don’t spend a lot of time at podshow.com. The people that do spend time there, really must enjoy the community and are perhaps blind to the massive amounts of text, icons, flashing images and unintuitive UI functionality. Perhaps this is what the blogosphere and pod-sphere are truly complaining about? I am not sure. What I am sure of is I could certainly imagineer a better UI than what currently resides on podshow.com. With over 11 years of managing Web projects, I may have a trained eye, but I think the average user when presented with iTunes or Amazon, then presented PodShow, would quickly tell you which site they appreciated more. Certainly they could find what they are looking for on the former sites.
To summarize, I believe PodShow is a company with good leadership, good backend and IT, good people, good talent, but lacking in focus. The main Web site caters to too many areas and is sort of all mashed up into one. In my opinion, PodShow needs to decide to either be a social network, an unsigned music host/directory or a podcasting platform. Based on its name, I would think the latter would be appropriate. I also believe the other aspects of what they are trying to accomplish can be integrated, but it should be done with related sites that are appropriately branded with a UI tailored to that site’s purpose. If PodShow could capture this, they could truly be the dangerous company they advertise to be in all relative fields.
He’s just the most quotable–he gets two today…The next deep space project should have “Master of Puppets” playing on a loop. Just so the greys learn that we don’t fuck around.
Man. I just called my friend’s wife his “partner.” I never would have done that in Florida. Fucking California.
– Merlin Mann via Twitter
It’s humbling, but completely understandable, when your infant daughter finds you much less interesting than the trim around the ceiling.
— Merlin Mann on Twitter
When creating an RSS Feed (or Atom, if that’s your flavor), how do you decide the level of information you want to provide in your feed? Many sites decide to post only the headline in their feed, causing the reader to visit the site, thereby enhancing page-view counts. At the other extreme, others decide to put the entire article in their feed, allowing readers to use a feed reader (like Google Reader or NetNewsWire) without having to click out to the site. Some also truncate the article, giving readers a glimpse of the article–most likely designed to hook them into the draft and get them to click through to the main Web site. I’m torn on what makes sense here and what to recommend to clients. Surely, you want page views, which not only gives you better stats, but may provide income in the form of advertising page- or click-thru’s. Still, the experience of having to click out of your feed reader every time you want more and waiting for a site to load (especially those bogged down by slow ad-servers), can be terribly annoying. Some more innovative sites have interstitial ads in their feeds, but that’s not the same as complete page views.
As a reader, I find clicking out of feeds as annoying as watching live TV and enduring commercials. We in the TiVo generation want what we want, without interrupting our flow or appetite for devouring information. Clicking out of feeds, in my opinion, is like experiencing traditional media’s interruptive commercial breaks. It messes up my thought flow. There’s so much information I need to devour to keep up with the various subjects I write or consult about, taking the time is simply not worth it. With mostly regurgitative information on blogs these days (especially tech and automotive–my areas of expertise), there’s always another site displaying with the same info–the story will eventually come across my radar as a result.
So today I’ve ended my obsession with reading every bit of every headline that catches my attention. There’s not enough time to click through to other sites, so sites like German Car Blog will lose a reader (because I know if it’s interesting Winding Road will post it anyway). I also am recommending at least a 40% truncated story to be including in each feed post to anyone who asks–but will ultimately advise full articles. If your story is compelling enough, you will gain readership to your site, which ultimately will gain you more traffic, ad views and click-through’s. This is the new media way.
“My mother thinks her only chance at grandchildren will be if they’re from Second Life.”— Cali Lewis
Twittered to Adam Engst: You need to visit a Japanese stationery store. I probably prefer the pens I bought last week to the new edition of MS Word…- Andy Ihnatko
Tired of using 5 different blogging platforms, I’ve decided to centralize most of my stuff right here at paulsalzman.com/blog.What you’ll find here are my thoughts, observations, comments, photos and voice notes. Also, when I post things to other New Media sites I’m involved with HydraMedia and other sites, I’ll leave it right here. I will continue to use Tumblmac.com, my Tumblr site, to post things I find around the Web and of course the microblogging tool Twitter will keep seeing my contributions. Enjoy, have fun and please comment when you can.