I’ve been thinking about that turn of phrase you hear in podcasting everywhere these days:
- “New episodes every week. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.”
- “Follow us in your podcatcher of choice.”
- “Search for ____ wherever you listen and follow.”
It’s an expression that has entered the larger public consciousness and suggests (albeit an implicit) understanding of an open, distributed web. You don’t go to a singular, centralized, corporate gatekeeper to get your podcasts. Instead, you grab an app — any podcasting app — and all they seem to have access to the same stuff (unless they’re exclusive and you have to pay — cough Spotify cough).
What’s amazing about these phrases — like “Follow us wherever you get your podcasts” — is that they are are paid advertisements that point you to nowhere in particular! It’s not “Stream it now on _Netlix_” or “Follow us on _Facebook_” or even “Visit _ourwebsite.com_”. These are paid advertisements with no “call to action” to any one commercial, corporate platform.
It’s kind of amazing: it’s not just hippie nerds talking about an open, accessible, distributed content model. People and corporations are putting real money into supporting a model that gives users all the power to browse, follow, and access whatever they want, wherever and however they best see fit.
It’s a wonderful phenomenon, articulated well in this Mastodon post from @firstname.lastname@example.org:
“You can find us anywhere you get your podcasts.”
I adore this phrase, because…Podcasts are just out there, like air. You don’t go to one place to get them; you get them from everywhere and anywhere. You can choose how you want to engage with them and manage them
Wouldn’t it be amazing if a similar phrase could enter the larger public consciousness for blogs or even people who you follow online?
- “Follow me on Twitter.”
- “I’m @realChuckieCheese on Instagram.”
- “Subscribe to my videos on YouTube.”
You’d hear some popular influencer saying:
- “Follow me wherever you follow people online.”
- “Find me and subscribe wherever you get your content.”
Imagine a de-centralized model of syndication and supporting third-party apps such that non-techies would know what it means when somebody says, “Follow me online”. It wouldn’t entail being funneled through the digital tools of any one, centralized entity; rather, you’d just grab your favorite app for following people and subscribe!
In a world like this, perhaps apex domains could become the currency of online handles: follow me
@jim-nielsen.com. Then, through the magic of auto-discoverable feed URLs, all meta info necessary for any reader to subscribe to any feed of content would become automagically available. Feeds everywhere and feeds can be whatever.
Perhaps, one day, this will be our future.