Yesterday I was browsing my childhood album and spotted a radio in the background. Nostalgia hit me and I was yearning to turn the circular knob again, hear the static noise and feel the thrill of finally hearing crystal clear sound when the frequency was set. I haven’t experienced the same thrill in modern-day Bluetooth speakers, voice assistants, and soundbars. The old is gold and it has a way of circling back.
The way we consume content has seen an unprecedented shift, which became all the more apparent with the onset of COVID-19. Most of us relied on Over the Top (OTT) services, social media, ebooks, audiobooks and podcasts. Social media too witnessed a surge in videos, particularly short ones like those on TikTok and Reels on Instagram. With forever reducing attention spans, videos and sound bytes have indeed caught our fancy and paved new avenues for aspirational folks to earn or become popular. Influencers are the new demi-gods and this line of work has become a high-earning profession. Years ago, who would have thought being cool on the Internet could actually help you earn big bucks. Kudos and all my respect for new-age Internet stars.
Over the years, ebooks and audiobooks have also gained popularity. I was never a fan of ebooks and always preferred having a physical book in hand. Book lovers swear by the charm of feeling the pages and smelling them to have a satiating experience. Due to the lack of storage space and the desire to opt for sustainable, eco-friendly options I have softened my take on ebooks and have taken to reading on Kindle. It’s actually convenient, especially when you are traveling or lounging. Plus, there is an added advantage of a one-touch tap to dictionary and Wikipedia. Not so bad I say! I haven’t given up completely on paperbacks or hardbacks yet and I am sure they will not be vanishing from our shelves in this era (unless cyborgs take over and on-purpose destroy all physical books to torture humanity).
I have heard amazing things about audiobooks as well, and I think eventually my skepticism will melt for these too. You can play them in your car or listen on your headphones during your commute or just before dozing off. They have a cathartic effect and have helped several people deal with stress, ward off anxiety or sleep well. Audiobooks have also captured the attention of those who aren’t into reading or those who are looking for ways to minimize their screentime.
A similar trend has been seen for podcasts as well. Frankly, you wouldn’t be reading this article if you are not into reading. Had this been a podcast, maybe in the chocolatey voice of George Clooney, you would be listening fervently and craving for more. Especially during 2020, podcasts became one of my options to unwind and catch some break from the world of OTT and social media. Be it TED Talks Daily, news bytes, health bytes or pep talks, the variety is mindboggling.
Podcasts help me multitask and hear the perspectives of people from different walks of life. AM and FM have their own charm, but at times you just want to hear stories or opinions minus the songs and ads, and this when I tune in to podcasts. In fact, in a way, podcasts remind me of my childhood days with the radio. In a world full of chaos, all of us are seeking serenity and intimacy; podcasts offer these and so much more. And that’s why old is gold (almost always!). It looks like podcasts are here to stay and likely to boom in times to come.
PS - Social media pages of the Bulletin Box says podcasts will be launched soon. I am quits excited about this new offering! Watch this space and look out for the launch date on their social channels.