Order In the Plex Now

The person of the year is… the Queen! And Amanda Congdon! And some of you!

Saturday, December 23rd, 2006

There are several ways to view the news that Queen Elizabeth is now podcasting. Some people say that this is the end … if HRM is jacking into the podosphere to distribute her message (too bad Helen Mirren wasn’t in on that one) the phenomenon definitely frickin’ over, and it’s time to find something new.

To me, it’s just another brick in the wall. One of the amazing things about podcasting has been the rapidity with which it has been embraced both by the grassroots folk and traditional communications outlets, ranging from big media to mighty institutions. I have my doubts on how many people actually wind up listening to lots of these podcasts–the unforgiving boundary of hours in day is a forbidding limitation, for one thing–but they really have changed the landscape. Someone must be listening, and I hope that some of them have caught a few of sessions I’ve done with some fine podcasters, video and audio on places like beet.tv, Macworld, Boing Boing, Your Mac Life, etc. As well as lots of radio and tv shows–like Tech Nation–that are podcast in addition to regular broadcast.)

Back to the Queen, though. By becoming a podcaster, and therefore supplying user-generated content, she is smack dab in the middle of the movement that has led Time Magazine (disclaimer: I work for a competing magazine) to name “You” as person of the year. But of course, she would have been POY even had she not deigned to podcast. (Would have loved to sit in on the conversation where her subjects explained this to her, but for all we know, her iPod experience might have made her a total geek by now.)

The broadness of the award has unearthed some mixed feelings among some of the movers and shakers in the blog/podcast/webdom-of-crowds world. On one hand, they are gratified for this major recognition, which they feel has been long in coming. (This is in contrast to lots of people in mainstream media, not to mention the Daily Show, who think that the choice is a total copout in a year of war and political upheaval.) On the other hand, they rightfully wonder why, since the stories accompanying the choice made it clear that the magazine was was really talking about the empowerment of people to speak on equal terms with the media through Internet sites like YouTube, they gave the honor to everybody who sticks his or her face in front of a cover of Time. Amanda Congdon, who may lay claim to the title of queen of the video blogosphere, has an amusing take on this.

The ubiquitous, New York Times-annoited Ms. Congdon, of course, can in no way be seen as grassroots. Powered by her terrific flair–a pulled-it-together postgrad Ellen Fliess–she’s risen from the hustings, in a trajectory that may become well-trodden in the YouTube era. This particular podcast, part of her “Starring Amanda Congdon” series, is sponsored by Dove. (As explained in a very elaborate postroll.) She’s also video blogging for ABC News. And most of this production, before she gets around to making her salient point, is used up by the most lazy, overused and, uh, pedestrian technique in all of of video journalism… the “person in the street” interview. As Pogo might say, we have met the enemy and he is us… er, you.

UPDATE:  By the way, the Queen’s presentation is officially dubbed, “The Royal Podcast.”  You can download it beginning at 1500 GMT on Christmas Day.  More info here.  It’s also on iTunes.

1 Comment

  • Brian Lamb does Rock. He needs the Medal Of Freedom for CSPAN.

    I loved the interview….

    I LOVE my FIVE iPods…..

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