Today, I had cause to drop down to the local computer shop to pick up an audio lead for the computer. I would not normally drop in there to buy this particular lead but it was five in the afternoon and needed it for the podcast and wanted to test it. (Yes I am impatient).
Anyways I got into a bit of a conversation with three of the guys at the shop regarding what I needed the lead for and I said: “You guys heard of podcasts right, what do you listen to?”. Would you believe the answer that I got back was “…err no sorry, nope..ahhh no never heard of that” (cue: blank looks). What the heck, can you believe that! I was totally and utterly dumbfounded beyond belief.
So the upshot of the conversation was the following points:
- None of them had heard of podcasting.
- What they thought was a podcast was in fact a webcast.
- None of them had heard of RSS (or atom or XML or OPML!)
- None of them had listened to a podcast.
- None of them had a C L U E !!!
I told them that to be honest I was totally and utterly surprised and speechless. (even my mates have listened to podcasts and subscribe to feeds and they are not geeks). I then went on to tell them briefly what the whole business is about but generally sent them in the direction of links to Wiki and some open source applications to get them started.
But the main thing I learned regarding the whole experience was that if this is the state of knowledge of people within the consumer electronics and computer industry then no wonder this technology remains in the geekosphere! No wonder I confuse my friends and family when I talk about this stuff, how can I expect them to know what I am talking about when supposed “geeks” don’t have a clue?
This then gets onto how I can “share” this technology with the people around me, as this is the only place I can really influence. What I have been doing is just telling people in very simple terms what it is all about. If they show and interest about the podcast and how to get it, I don’t even mention downloading it from the site. First, I tell them about the free applications like Juice that they can use to do it. It isn’t much but it is my little bit that might help others to get as much out of the internet as I do. And if they don’t investigate it right away; that’s cool but it might twig their interest later and that’s enough.
As for the computer shop boys… I really was dumbfounded… all three! Bloody hell. I can only shake my head, in realization that we have a long; long way to go before any of this is in any way “main-stream”.