While the idea of podcasts have been around for decades it was only in the early and mid 2000’s that podcasts reached the masses on an impactful level. At that time most podcasts were essentially online radio shows but people enjoyed the longform content that they could access at any time. In the late 2000’s YouTube was gaining popularity and content started getting shorter and faster paced. Youtube started a new form of content called a vlog, which was a massive shift in the creative world. Certain Youtube algorithms at the time made it so shorter videos were promoted more and received higher monetization. This trend was not specific to YouTube and was seen across the internet through journalism and social media.
When Social media platforms really took off in the early 2010’s and had millions of users, the online environment started to change. Competition for views and clicks drove the creators to produce shorter content more frequently, the content was often click-bait focused and lacked depth and meaning. This trend is still quite prevalent in journalism today but is starting to shift in the amateur content creation realm.
During all these shifts, long form content never went away it just wasn’t the logical way to post content due to the algorithm bias towards short form content and the consumer mindset for instant gratification. Both of these things started to change around 2017 when Youtube altered their algorithms in part as a reaction to public perception. Flashy thumbnails, caps locked titles, and 5 minute videos of a high energy youtuber yelling at a camera started to get stale, the people wanted more fulfilling content that offered valuable information or entertainment. Around the same time Youtube shifted their algorithm and rewarded watch time more, with less of a focus on views. This allowed creators to have more freedom with the format of their videos and start producing longer videos.
A long form type of content that is both straightforward to create as well as easy to listen to or watch is podcasts. Youtube resurged the podcast scene from the RSS feed days to a video podcast service with the ability to live stream as well as upload highlights, it was the perfect platform and people responded. Podcasts are the ideal content for commuting, working out, or for background noise during the work day. The increase of podcast popularity is fun to watch and it will be interesting to see where it goes in the future.