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by M.G. Siegler


Americans Feel Alone. Can YouTube and Podcasts Help?

Elizabeth Bruenig:

Then there’s the rise of the conversational podcast: shows that are less about particular topics (such as NPR’s finance-focused “Planet Money,” “This American Life’s” crime special spinoff “Serial” or Aaron Mahnke’s spooky deep-dive “Lore”) and more about listening to people you might like to spend time with chat about whatever comes to mind. “Chapo Trap House,” the left-wing comedy show about everything, falls into this category; so does “Doughboys,” a podcast that’s technically about chain restaurants but also about life in general. The experience of listening to the conversational podcast genre is much different from settling in for an important current events update or particularly interesting TED talk. It’s something more akin to laughing along with friends over whatever material happens to present itself — a horizontal experience more than a vertical one, to put it oddly.

I completely agree with this. My favorite podcasts aren't the purely informational variety, or the "Serial" type -- those are all great, but the ones that stick with me are the ones where I feel like I'm a part of the family, or dropping back in on old friends having a conversation. They're undoubtedly harder to get into at first, but they're stickier when you do.


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