Had coffee this morning with Brett Burney before heading into the office. It was an interesting, and far-ranging, discussion! (In fact I may have more than one blog post about things we discussed, which is always cool.)
The first thing that stood out to me was Brett telling me about some ideas he had for creating online content, but ending with the lament that he doesn’t even have enough time to blog as much as he wants, let alone start new endeavors. Given recent news like Chuck and Kreg ending weekly Technorama podcasts to spend more time with family, a handful of bloggers stepping away from blogging, and even less recent history like the end of the In the Trenches podcast, it’s a topic that has been on my mind quite a bit recently.
The thing is, as easy as it now is to self-publish online, whether it be writing, audio or video, doing it well takes time. Doing it really well, takes a lot of time. For those of us with regular day jobs, families, and a multitude of other responsibilities or interests, spending that time means there’s less time for something else. Sometimes you can find a happy medium and manage to do some halfway decent work online, and other times you just can’t. It happens to all of us.
On the flip side of that, given the demands on time outside of the online world, and then the demands of time to do what we do online, the amount of content we’re willing to wade through gets less and less. Let’s face it, those of us who aren’t working as journalists, or pundits already work at least 40 hours a week at a job that doesn’t include blogging or podcasting. (Most of us in IT work more than that.) Through in a few hours per day for family time, catching a favorite TV show or two, going to a ball game, working on some blog entries, catching up with Twitter, etc. and there’s not a lot left. If you expect me to spend some of those few extra hours in my week listening or watching your podcast it had better be really good. It had better bring something to the table that makes me want to know what you’re talking about.
And, of course, creating that kind of content for a large audience takes a whole lot of time. Round and round we go….
Does that mean there’s no hope for those of us who do this part time? It depends. If you’re looking to get rich and draw an audience and fame like Leo Laporte, there probably isn’t much chance of that happening. But if you’re looking to connect with a small audience of like-minding people and share information and knowledge that is of value to that community, there’s most definitely hope of that.
In fact, that is really the promise of new media. Not that many of us are going to hit it big, but that many of us will be able to find our own niche communities and learn to be more effective through that involvement.