The social network for technical communicators
I'm a new student in Tech Comm and am learning the basics about technology, as well as trends in communication. Specifically, I'm interested in podcasting. I have researched it enough to know the basics of what it is and how people use it, but am curious to know more about how it is used specifically in technical communication. Does anyone use it in their work? How important is it in the field? Do you think it is a trend that will last, or will it die out?
I'm interested to learn more.
Most of tech writing is about help -- people getting stuck and needing to find information to get them unstuck. Podcasting is a type of journalism, a regular series of recordings on a topic of interest. It isn't a help format. Few people subscribe to technical information on the products they buy, unless they are technincians working with highly complex or evolving tools every day. Videos and audio recordings may be useful ways of devlivering help in some cases, but the general nature of help is that you go looking for it when you need it; you don't subscribe to it.
Concerning the trend factor of podcasting: I think it has out-trended already. Podcasting was hyped some 7-8 years ago. Nowadays I would account it as an established part of media, especially of radio stations as a way of re-using content broadcasted during the day, publish radio dramas, etc. Of course there are still all those private podcasts out there, but there are other trendy things today than making podcasts, maybe building a reputation on social networks.
For technical documentation, I think that the possibilities of an audio podcast are limited. A video podcast should furnish more benefits to a user. However, providing a tutorial podcast of any kind might be primarily a kind of marketing instrument ('Look which great job our product does in handling your everyday business.') than just a means of user guidance.