Like most of my friends under age 30, the first place I see most of my news is Facebook or Twitter. As a person who enjoys both reading about politics and watching corgi videos, I generally have no trouble with using mainly social media to find updates and entertainment – except when the endless scrolling makes me feel overwhelmed and disoriented, with little substantial knowledge to show for hours spent online. Ideally, my solution would be to switch to reading more books. But who am I kidding – I don’t have the attention span or time to whip out a copy of Gone Girl on the subway.
However, one day I found the exact balance I needed between more in-depth storytelling and the Internet’s convenience when a friend from home posted a picture of her latest tattoo – a knife with the letters “SSDGM”. I googled the mysterious acronym to find that it was from the podcast My Favorite Murder with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, a show where the two hosts discussed their favorite crime stories. The show’s mantra – which my friend loved so much that she got it tattooed – was “Stay Sexy, Don’t Get Murdered”. Clearly the podcast had to be good if the fans were this committed. I’d ignored my phone’s podcast app for years, but opened it up to check out the show. I fell into the podcast rabbit hole of scintillating storytelling and random facts I never would have stumbled upon had it not been for this modern form of radio.
According to LinkedIn, 42% of those under 35 listen to podcasts. This means two things: “millennials” are the greatest consumers of podcasts by far, and this was a trend I was way behind on. Part of what makes podcasts so interesting is that audio storytelling draws you to the host, causing you to engage more fully with the speaker and process the content at a higher level than you would in an article on your Facebook news feed. For me, this makes it so I think about what I’ve learned from the podcast throughout the day, just like I might think back on a story that a friend told me.
Learning more about history or science, or listening to a story about a date gone wrong, is a great way to both be entertained and feel more on top of your life than if you were just scrolling through Facebook. Podcasts can even be a helpful tool for developing your professional life, with countless podcasts focused exclusively on becoming a more effective leader. Learning about and ruminating over niche topics that you might hear about in a podcast could help you generate ideas and see opportunities that you wouldn’t otherwise, as well as giving you interesting conversation topics for friends and new connections.
If you’re a podcast newbie like me, a great place to start your ~podcast journey~ are the Top Charts and the Featured pages of the podcast app. I found that the app’s design makes it easy to see what everyone else is listening to and find podcasts according to your interests. Here are a few podcasts that I think are worth checking out:
Stuff You Should Know
Stuff You Should Know is the ultimate podcast for learning about things you’ve never thought about but will most likely interest you lots, like how champagne works, stoicism, or why there’s a battle over net neutrality. SYSK hosts Josh and Chuck’s conversations flow naturally and weave in all sorts of different directions. Think of this as the Buzzfeed of podcasts for your intellectual side.
NPR Politics Podcast
— NPR Politics (@nprpolitics) July 19, 2017
For anyone who wants to get more informed about what’s going on in Washington and why, NPR Politics Podcast is a weekly roundup where experts connect the dots of Congress and Trump. The reporters’ format is continuous and easy to understand, talking to listeners like they talk to each other, and it’s a lot easier to listen here rather than digging through Twitter to find what you need to know.
The Artsy Podcast
Artsy is an online database that features art topics like the world’s leading galleries, artist estates, and collections, and in The Artsy Podcast, you can learn about anything from art history to the latest market news from the insider perspective of Artsy’s editors. In a recent episode, “Art and Censorship in the Age of Social Media”, the editors discuss art censorship, a hot topic addressed by The Untitled Space’s latest exhibit, Secret Garden: The Female Gaze on Erotica. The hosts explore social media’s new gatekeeper role where algorithms decide what images are appropriate and what’s too offensive for public consumption.
TED Radio Hour
The paint in this piece is made out of Ohio’s industrial acid runoff. Artist and professor John Sabraw wanted to turn an environmental tragedy (many of the local streams are biologically dead due to runoff) into something beautiful. To make the paint, he extracts iron oxide out of the polluted water and mixes it with sodium hydroxide to create a sludgy pigment. Then, by heating the sludge up to a toasty 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, he gets these eye-popping, vibrant colors. To see more work from @john_sabraw visit go.ted.com/prettypoison
You’ve probably seen a TED Talk before–this is the version that you can listen to on the way to work. TED Radio Hour weaves together the stories of various thought leaders and industry experts to center on common themes, like how things spread, forming identities, and how we create ideas of beauty. A podcast to listen to when you want to walk away feeling refreshed and inspired.
An empowering space for conversation with women doing amazing things, LadyCast‘s mission is inspiring women to “take control of your life and #dothething”. Host Alex Laughlin publishes interviews every other week with female entrepreneurs, leaders, philanthropists, and artists, including a January 2017 podcast where The Untitled Magazine Editor-in-Chief Indira Cesarine discusses the Women’s March.