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Pushing Podcasting The Responsible Way [S3E132]
Episode 13225th May 2021 • Podcast Pontifications • Evo Terra
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Evo Terra:

The drive to squeeze more out of podcasting can

Evo Terra:

lead to some bad decisions.

Evo Terra:

With podcasts growing at breakneck speed, the rush to do, say, or promote something

Evo Terra:

can lead to reputation-damaging results.

Evo Terra:

Hello, welcome to another Podcast Pontifications with me, Evo Terra.

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The internet has a bit of a reputation problem, in case

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that's not abundantly clear.

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Look, because if anyone can publish anything, then anyone

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will at some point also do that and then assume that it is true.

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Podcasting is a part of the internet and so not immune to the same challenge.

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My friend Andrew asked a question on Twitter and tagged me and a few others.

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Here, let me read the question for you.

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"I wonder, should apps/services that promote podcasts, such as Apple Podcasts,

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actually check what they're pushing in front of people for facts and accuracy?"

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He went on to ask:

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"[...] What about the 'We think you'll like,' or the, "The best listens" type

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promotion and even paid, for that matter?

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Or is it down to listeners to spot the frauds/lies/misinformation?

Evo Terra:

Good question, Andrew.

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And as a dyed-in-the-wool skeptic, I love getting into this

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question about facts and accuracy.

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Really boils down to this - do the podcast listening apps bear a responsibility for

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the podcasts that they suggest to us?

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And my answer to Andrew was a qualified "yes."

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If it's an algorithmic decision where listens or other sorts of data-based

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information is used to determine whether or not something should be

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there or not, then probably not.

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I mean, if a whole bunch of people listen to the garbage and you have

Evo Terra:

a top episode section, well, okay, a lot of people listen to garbage.

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Taking that garbage show out is manipulating data and that's

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probably not a great idea.

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If there's, you know, no nefariousness, and it's just an accurate reflection

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of what sort of activity's happening in that app, then okay.

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Because really your only course of action, if you're an app maker is to

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remove the show, which, of course, comes with its own consequences if

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you decide to de-platform someone.

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However, if it's an editorial decision, if a human being decided to add a podcast

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to that, "We think you'll like" section or "This Is What's Currently the Best Things

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About This Topic - Baking," then, yeah.

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Then the human that made that decision, again, not algorithmic, but the

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human that makes that decision bears responsibility that pushes up to the app.

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But I've been thinking a little more broadly about that.

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What about the rest of us?

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Everybody else in podcasting?

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I think podcasters, we all bear the same responsibility.

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We must bear this responsibility for the, either the guests we have on our

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show, or, in my case, I don't have guests, the topics that we choose.

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Like I can promise you I'm going to get heat for this topic like I do when I bring

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it up from time to time and that's okay.

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We also have a responsibility before we say yes to the

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shows we're going to guest on.

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I haven't really been good about doing some vetting of the

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shows that I'm asked to be on.

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My default answer when someone asks me to be on their show is

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always yes, and I don't do a huge amount of research on there.

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Partly because my topic keeps me pretty safe.

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I mean, you're not going to have me on to talk about world politics.

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I talk about podcasting.

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I think we also bear responsibility to the other podcasts we suggest to others.

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I mean, I have my list of IHNIs - "I had no idea podcasts

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could sound that good" podcasts.

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But I also have in my back pocket a repertoire of shows that

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are - need a little qualifying before I recommend them to someone.

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And I think that's the central idea - qualifying.

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We don't have to play it safe every single time we just have

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to qualify what it is we're about to promote and to whom that is.

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By the way, I don't think we should be hiding behind the things I've

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seen on Twitter, which is like "Retweets don't imply endorsement."

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Yes, they do.

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Or this phrase, "Look, I'm just asking questions."

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Those do not absolve us of responsibility.

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We just have to qualify what it is that we're doing.

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Like, for example, I think it's okay for you to take that controversial

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guest and bring them onto your show.

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I also think you can accept to be a guest on a controversial show.

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And just like me, I oftentimes recommend or share controversial

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shows that I happen to like and I think you can do the same thing.

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That's our agency.

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We can do that.

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But I think we have to express our full agency.

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If you bring on that controversial guest and they say something really

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insane don't just nod your head.

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Push back.

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Same if you are a guest on a show and the host asks an inane

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question, or tries to take it in a different way, hold your ground.

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Don't let them run rough shot on the facts.

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Prepare to defend your recommendations you make to people.

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If you make them publicly on Twitter and someone decries your decision

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because that show is X or Y and I don't like it, I am offended by it,

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prepare to defend your decision.

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Push back.

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That's your responsibility.

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If you're going to make these comments, these promotional efforts, if you're

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going to go on things, you own that responsibility and that's okay.

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We need to take it.

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We need to let that responsibility that started with us spread through all

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the things that we do in podcasting.

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That's the responsible way, I think, we can promote it.

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Let's do it, but let's just be responsible in what we do.

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Now, as a reminder, Podcast Pontifications Season Three will

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come to an end this coming Thursday.

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If you haven't already, please sign up for PPIYI, that's Podcast Pontifications

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In Your Inbox, as I plan on sending out a few sample missives, some ideas, text-base

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that the show will have for next season, and possibly even in-between seasons.

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And if you have been meaning to buy me a coffee, but have been putting

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That's it for today.

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I shall be back tomorrow with yet another Podcast Pontifications.