New podcast: Carefully with Per Axbom
I started my first podcast in the spring of 2007, not long before the first iPhone was released to the world. Back then the origin of the word podcast was more obvious, as dedicated producers and consumers of course listened on Apple's groundbreaking mp3 player, the iPod.
After spending a small fortune on microphones over the past 16 years, interviewing wonderful people across the world, and receiving attention I often have a hard time reckoning with (the 11-year old UX Podcast has recently surpassed 2.5 million downloads), I'm now releasing my
fourth fifth* podcast.
As it happens, I also released a new Swedish podcast last week, that being the fourth one and this the fifth one.
My collab with James Royal-Lawson has been key to keeping UX Podcast alive for so many years. Being two contributes to sustainability and resilience. And James kept it going with friends of the show even as I paused to write a book. With this in mind I've been looking for a way to reach further with my thoughts on human rights in the tech space without overloading myself.
The answer has been back of mind for some time.
This new podcast finds its content in both old and new blog posts. I already produce a good deal of free content and it would be misconceived to produce even more novelties. The content exists, but does not perhaps get the reach I would wish. Even with a small resurrection, reading blogs is at a low level compared to its heyday of the early 2000s.
It's going to be an exciting experiment. My appraisal is that it makes sense to offer episodes of 6-7 minutes each that can be listened to on a whim. Where episodes are standalone observations about phenomena that influence wellbeing and human rights in a digital context. Perhaps for sparking conversations with colleagues, or as input for workshops in digital ethics or responsible innovation.
My motivations for releasing this podcast can be summarised in these points:
- Accessibility. Many people need or prefer sound over text. I now provide a greater number of opportunities for consuming my posts, for more people.
- Distribution. People in general know very little about subscribing to RSS feeds, and this has led to drops in blog readership. But RSS is still the brilliant way in which podcasts are distributed, even if invisibly. Maybe this can also help serve as a reminder to read the blog.
- Infrastructure. I do love the podcast format and it gives me a sense of control as a content creator to have a ready audio route when I want to comment on current events. And not necessarily related to design, or even new tech. Perhaps just related to the challenges of understanding yourself and your fellow humans.
- Platform agnostic. Even if there are so-called "podcasts" that lock themselves inside big platforms and demand that people listen behind a login, this completely misconstrues what a podcast truly is. The point of a podcast is its open and unwalled availability on the web. It lets you listen the way you want, on whatever app you want or streaming from a website. You can even download the episodes if you want too.
This characteristic gives the medium a huge amount of resilience and elasticity, meaning you don't serve under someone else's capriciousness. Something that tends to happen when you lock your content inside the walls of external actors, often big tech. In those cases someone else's rules – not your rules – control who can see your content. Making it reachable via my own domain name also builds trust.
- Quality. Interesting things happen when I read my posts aloud. I emphasise certain words and sentences with my voice, making it more interesting to hear. I also catch mistakes. When I am able to record sound before I publish, the posts will also improve. And I go back and mirror the reading within the text, when I notice what is important to me. I've already edited some old posts after voicing them.
Moving slowly, and with care, is core to how I strive to work in all aspects of my practice. Indeed, my life. The name also opens up for – in the future – talking more broadly about humans and society than, as I often do, making a connection to technology. My Swedish podcast has a bit of wordplay and there is a small hint of it here as well. For me, it's not only about working carefully, but also about paying attention to all aspects of wellbeing: caring fully.
What are you waiting for? Time to listen! I want to know what you think, and there are already 3 episodes in the feed. Don't forget to subscribe/follow if you find that the format works for you. 😊
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