Thursday, August 9

cryptocurrency, female empowerment, + podcasts as technical communication

I am loving this podcast:

especially this recent episode of listener stories and general reflection.

and especially Ms. Manoush Zamarodi's response in that episode (around the 19:01 mark) to a listener who wrote in to criticize the hosts' allegedly "acting like silly dumb girls." as she read his letter aloud, I waited, eagerly and impatiently hoping to hear a rebuttal pointing out just how sexist and short-sighted it is to code female laughter as automatically juvenile, thoughtless, idiotic, or stupid, or as some sort of coy, superficial act. Zamarodi is subtler than I think I would have been in her response, but she makes much the same point: there's not one single societally-approved way of sounding or acting intelligent.

she says, "we laugh because we know it's okay not to know everything, that this is a real-time exploration, an investigation into changes that are happening in tech and our culture. And you know what, we don't care if it's not a good look, because it's who we are, and I'm sorry if you find that tiresome. But I really do hope you will keep listening and get used to what strong, intelligent women sometimes sound like. We're being real. And maybe you just haven't heard women in such an up-close and transparent, authentic way before."

thank you for that, Manoush.

the whole podcast so far is wonderful stuff to listen to. people, real experiences, uncertainty, trying new things. plus you get to learn a little bit about blockchain technology and journalism and the future.

I got thinking the other day that this podcast, personal and documentary-ish though it may be, is a great example of technical communication.

podcasts-as-technical-communication is a preoccupation of mine generally, given my scholarly immersion in the later and my personal enjoyment of the former. I want to write more about ZigZag and tech comm someday, but I think that post needs more thinking time.

for now... what other podcasts could be counted (at least in some way) as technical communication? let us explore my subscription list of 30+ podcasts and see what else we find.

most obvious examples:

10-Minute Tech Comm
interviews with scholars and practitioners of technical communication. this makes it more meta, perhaps, but it still counts as sharing information about technical topics. (also--I was in an episode, did I mention that?)

presenting science-y information and stories in creative narrative forms. definitely a form of public tech comm.

What Trump Can Teach us about Con Law
legal communication is arguably a more narrow sub-discipline than most, but law is very technical. Roman and Elizabeth break it down and make it relevant. that counts.

The Infinite Monkey Cageinformal, comedy-infused, very science-y discussion panels, with episodes based on a theme like space travel or the immune system. the show mixes informative with entertaining very well.

and then a few slightly less-obvious examples:

there's a lot of technical, science-y stuff related to how we use language (mouths and tongues and air and frequencies, not to mention unicode and twitter). and though it's sort of hard to think of it as such, language is a technology in its own right. Gretchen and Lauren make all that technical stuff very fun. (sidenote, I kind of can't wait to read the book Gretchen is working on.)

Ways of Hearing
music and sound and how our bodies and technologies mediate those things. so much about this is inherently technical: see above.

The Sporkful
food and cooking = technologies. most of the time this little show is human-interest stories and entertainment, but Mr. Pashman gets pretty technical about all kinds of food things every so often. they even settle debates from listeners about the practical ethics of grocery store lines and free ice cream samples.

Succulent FAQ podcast
horticulture and plant science, even if discussed mainly in hobby-ist terms, count as technical topics, I say. this one is more how-to than any of my other examples, so that makes it especially similar to traditional tech comm.

others I can think of but don't subscribe to myself-- Planet Money, TED Radio Hour (and most TED talks in general), Song Exploder, StartUp, and Car Talk (even if it is all re-runs now).

I'm sure there are dozens more out there, ranging from specifically how-to-ish all the way up to generally educational in some way. can you help me think of more? feel free to add to the list.

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