Why Podcasts Are Taking Over The (Virtual) World

Whats in this story

Over the last decade, the “me, me, me generation” has consistently debunked millennial generational stereotypes. We’ve been labeled as unsatisfied, lazy, bored and stuck with a bad work ethic. Despite our lackadaisical mentality, we’ve become the most studied generation of all time. One of the latest trends that society has blamed millennials for is the rise of podcasts and the fall of blogs – as if wreaking havoc across the blogosphere is something that we millennials diabolically dream about every night. Although podcasts are nothing new, research shows that our generation has influenced the growth of this medium. Millennial values and desires combined with the flexibility and accessibility of podcasts will continue to propel this digital content style.

According to a 2016 study by Edison Research, millennials (ages 18-34) make up the largest podcast consumer group at 38%. Because of this, naturally we are the sole cause of this shift to episodic content per the rules of society’s great Blame Game. However, when you think about it, it makes sense millennials have led the charge away from blogs. I’ll be the first to admit that millennials have a short attention span. We’re always on the go, from job to job to our adult kickball league practice and wrapping it all up by grabbing a bite to eat with friends. With this alway- on-the-go mindset, on busy days I’m going to pick the 45-minute podcast I can listen to while simultaneously cleaning my house and drinking a glass of wine over the 800-word blog that requires more attention. (Commitment issues.)  It may sound like I’m portraying our generation as riddled with ADD, but I’m not. We like to stay busy and on the move.

Our dependence on and loyalty to our phones is part of the reason why we’re more likely to listen to a podcast than read a blog. The Edison Research study also found that in 2016, 71% of millennials listened to podcasts on their smartphones, tablets and other portable devices, up from 42% in 2013. Again, I’m not always going to scroll through a lengthy blog on my phone to further contribute to the thumb arthritis I’m already developing at age 23. I’m going to press play on a podcast from the web and walk away from my phone while I make a DIY succulent garden or whatever weird stuff millennials are doing these days.

Convenience aside, podcasts are easy to set-up. With a microphone, some basic editing software and a Soundcloud account, you can start a podcast in one day. You can of course do this for a blog, but podcasts present a unique content challenge. When it comes to blogs, it’s typical you might have five travel or cooking blogs you cycle through each week – but don’t forget you’re setting that time aside to sit down and focus. Because podcasts often act as background noise, the content and the host have to really stand out and keep your attention.

Aside from keeping listeners intrigued, the diverse hosts and themes currently taking up shop in the podcast world are another reason millennials are incorporating podcasts into their daily lives. Interested in modern romance and commiserating in online dating horror stories? There’s a podcast for that called Why Oh Why. Feeling a little moody or down? Check out The Friend Zone, a podcast on mental health and hygiene. Or are you one of the millions of millennials that has no freaking clue what they want to do with their life? You’re not alone, so check out my personal favorite – Purpose in The Youth.

The host, of Purpose in The Youth, Robert Hobert or “Bobbbaaay”, graduated from Bentley University in 2016. Like many recent grads, he didn’t know what he wanted to do next. Uninterested in pretending he had a plan for his life mapped out, he started a podcast to serve as a platform to tell the stories of similar youths; the ones who didn’t always have a clear path, but ultimately figured everything out with hard work, persistence, passion and a little bit of luck.

So millennials, put your succulent gardens away and stop perfecting your organic granola recipe. There’s a lot to say and some really exciting ways to say it. If you’re not to the put pen to paper type (or fingers to keyboard type?), take advantage of the growing podcast platform and get those Soundcloud accounts started. You could be Bobbbaaay’s next guest!