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Death of the podcast [Content Made Simple]
Issue #306: Weather apps are bad, Twitter is deceiving, and more.
TOP OF THE WEEK
Death of the podcast
I keep returning to this one prediction Quah listed: “The decline of This American Life as a tastemaker.” Culturally speaking, This American Life isn’t a tastemaker. It may be so among podcast industry folks, but the show, more significantly, was representative of a certain type of listener in the mid-2010s. Say, a New Yorker tote-carrying, creatively inclined professional, who was once deemed a relevant “tastemaker” before personalized algorithms shattered our conception of monoculture. Podcast studios are worried because flagship shows are losing steam. No new high-production podcasts are breaking through or making it “big.” That window of opportunity is long gone; the zeitgeist is too fractured.
A helpful perspective on the state of podcasting.
THE TRIVIA QUESTION
Bob Ross’s The Joy of Painting was primarily filmed in what city and state?
Hint: it’s in the Midwest.
Answer at the bottom.
HITTING THE LINKS
In theory, there’s no better environment for democracy than an online forum; the space is already built for deliberation, with discourse as its very constitution. There is no forum, no social media platform, no wiki, without people talking. In practice, these spaces often lead to populist grandstanding and other histrionics. Alcuin of York’s fear of the crowd’s madness is an animating anxiety in every intellectual discussion about democracy, and whatever his ancient intent, it is an admonition worth heeding. As should be abundantly clear now, no technology alone can condition humans out of such crowd dynamics.
Interesting thoughts here, I think.
Fame is increasingly embedded in our economy and daily lives and thus garnering more research attention. One finding: it’s about our fear of death. Empirical studies confirm that our desire for fame increases with greater awareness of our mortality. Which makes sense: The only thing that can outlive your body is the memory of you.
One of the more fascinating articles I’ve read this year!
People love to complain about weather forecasts, dating back to when local-news meteorologists were the primary source for those planning their morning commutes. But the apps have produced a new level of frustration, at least judging by hundreds of cranky tweets over the past decade. Nearly two decades into the smartphone era—when anyone can theoretically harness the power of government weather data and dissect dozens of complex, real-time charts and models—we are still getting caught in the rain.
THE FUNNY PART
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Trivia Answer: Muncie, Indiana