It’s 2am, I’m awake – so with it comes a random rant (my apologies in advance).
I’m a faithful listener to the Buzz Out Loud podcast: a daily, informative and entertaining technology show. Back on Monday, July 31st, they were talking about the scaling-back of the E3 Gaming Convention (basically it’s cancelled in it’s current form and will be watered down to a modest media/developers conference). In talking about the bells and whistles that consisted of E3, the BOL hosts spoke about the need for an over-hyped glitter convention and jokingly coined it as "Spectacle Fest". This was a very funny, satirical insight on how the gaming (and tech) industry needs some kind of dog and pony show. Everyone had a good laugh and the hosts joked about accepting pledges for Spectacle Fest. In the following days audio comments and emails rolled in with fictional pledges. Some funny items were pledged and we all had a good laugh.
Fast forward to two weeks later and BOL is still receiving emails/audio comments with Spectacle Fest pledges. Listening to all of these, all I can think is "enough with this already!". This was funny the first or second time, but what seems like 100 times later, this joke isn’t going to be funny any time soon. What’s worse is that the "pledges" have leaked out of the podcast and are seeping into their discussion forums. What began as a small satirical commentary has mutated into a large inside-joke that stopped being funny after the first 10 times. Still, it seems that everyone needs to hop on this bandwagon.
The spectacle of Spectacle Fest isn’t the fault of the BOL hosts, they can’t help if they say something funny – this spectacle is on the show’s fans and the asynchronous media format of podcasting. We all know that one guy who has no concept of aging humor – the guy who thinks the 20th rendition of a joke is just as funny as the first time it was told. Unfortunately it seems like many of the comment contributors of Buzz Out Loud fall under this demographic.
With Podcasting, this becomes exacerbated. If Buzz Out Loud was a traditional radio show, the comment would have been made, followed by 20 minutes of "pledge calls" before it was not funny anymore. Since podcasting is asynchronous (meaning that the creation/recording and listening are done at different times) and live interaction with listeners is not possible, we’re prolonged the agony of having the 20 minutes of calls spread out over 2 weeks.
Listeners: let’s move on from this joke! I can guarantee that Tom, Molly and Veronica will say something witty and insightful for your future gravy-training. I’m a big proponent of podcasting and asynchronous media, but this seems like huge liability for this format. We need to monitor "it’s not funny anymore" guy more closely with this media. Bartender, cut him off!