Updated: Nov 7
Socrates argued that writing would have a negative effect on our minds and memories and that verbal communication was the best means of sharing knowledge and ideas.
Passing down information from one generation to the next was largely done through the spoken word. Stories carrying wisdom and history were shared orally, ensuring that aspects of culture were maintained and not lost to time.
Oral history, but make it digital
Podcasts are no different. While we may rely on the written word for script writing and research, the entire point of a podcast is to listen to someone tell a story. Whether personal anecdotes are shared or lessons are taught, we put in the time and absorb the words of someone else while extracting what we can.
Initially called ‘audioblogs’, podcasts came from humble beginnings and are now extremely popular. One can download or stream a podcast onto their device and listen to it pretty much anywhere. You might listen to kill time during transit, to lighten the mood with something humorous, improve a skill or increase knowledge on a certain topic. Regardless, one thing is for certain: listening to the voice of another person breaks the wall of isolation and creates a sense of community.
Sharing your story
This is the magic of podcasts. We’ve managed to take the tradition of oral storytelling and blend it with technological advances to create entire audio worlds that further engage the listener and provide them with a connection to others.
This is why sharing your story is so important. What you have to say might help a listener feel less alone in what they’re going through or help them feel supported at a tough time in their lives. Maybe they just need a laugh. Your story matters, so put it out there.
We have come a long way since the oral history days, but the central concept remains unchanged. People share ideas and knowledge with other people. The only aspect that has changed is the medium.
Some of my favourite podcasts
Stuff You Should Know
My all-time favourite, the Stuff You Should Know hosts teach you about various topics while making you laugh with their banter. I feel like I know these guys personally at this point.
Put onto Radiolab recently, I'm blown about by their innovative use of sound to tell stories.
The Ron Burgundy Podcast
Hilarious, comforting, and surprisingly innovative.
One of the best and most engaging historical podcasts I've ever listened to.
What are your favourites?