Sunday, March 18, 2007

Podcast Evangelism

I download lots of podcasts to listen to during my four hours of daily commuting. I used to put them all on a Secure Digital card and play them on my Palm handheld device through the car stereo via a wireless FM transmitter. Yeah, I love gadgets. But playing mp3 files for four hours a day can really chew through a Lithium-Ion battery in no time. So I started burning them all to compact disc.

That leaves me with a new dilemma -- what to do with all those compact discs after I've listened to all of the podcasts on them. Sure, I could contribute to the local landfill by dumping a new CD in the trash every three or four days, but that just seems wasteful. Especially when there's lots of entertainment and information contained on those little round discs. Just check the sidebar for some of my favorite podcasts.

My wife thinks I'm kind of silly, but not too long ago I came up with a great way to dispose of the many podcast CDs I burn: I give them away. Not just to anyone, mind you. Well, actually, I do give them away to just anyone -- anyone that happens to come along and pick them up. Here's what I do -- and I did this today with about fifteen CDs that have been collecting in my car.

We went to a nearby outlet mall to do a little browsing. I loaded up all these old CDs with me, and in almost every store we went in, I left behind a CD. One placed inside a book in a Borders Outlet store. One placed inside the box of a small kitchen appliance at a Kitchen Collection outlet store (the new owner of the appliance will probably think it contains some important operating information about their new purchase). I placed one in an oven mit, one in a folded sweatshirt, and one behind a book about how gullible Hillary Clinton is to remain married to Slick Willie after all his shenanigans as President.

See, my thinking goes like this: most humans share a common trait with the ordinary domestic house cat -- we're curious. If you were doing some shopping and found a CD lying on a shelf that was obviously not a piece of merchandise, wouldn't you pick it up and want to give it a listen? Or if you worked at the store and found it during your nightly clean up. Or, if you bought something and the CD was actually in the product you purchased. Would you be curious enough to listen to it? Of course you would! At least long enough to see what it's about.

So I leave these things lying around for others to find in the hopes that they'll discover something great and get turned on to podcasts. It's my little way of supporting the podcast movement by spreading the word to unsuspecting people wherever I go. I call it podcast evangelism.

So the next time you're out and you find a CD with no markings other than a three or four digit number (which just happens to be the month and date that I burned the disc), it's probably a safe bet that Joe has been there.


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