Working with other podcasters can be energizing, but it can also feed your inner troll. Here's how you can build friendships instead of enemies in podcasting.
One of the first times I met Dan Miller, author of 48 Days to the Work You Love, he told me of his then-upcoming 48th wedding anniversary. So I asked him what he considered the secret to his long and happy marriage. He said, “One word: respect.”
Oh, how much better our world would be if we had respect—and even love—for one another! Insulting someone's intelligence or attacking their preferences won't help anyone. We must have a heart of respect for each other, and that can go very far.
Treat each person individually
If you hang out in online communities for long, you'll see the same questions asked several times. While you probably don't mean to, it's easy to pile up your feelings about the repetition of those questions. So when you see the thirtieth person ask the same question, it's may be easy to lash out either overtly or passively.
But look at things from that person's perspective. They need help and they went to that community hoping they could get the help they needed. True, they probably could have found the solution by searching, but being in anxious need often seems to distract us from the obvious.
Consider a community for podcasters. If someone comes in and asks, “How do I upload my podcast to iTunes?” and they get a flurry of harsh responses, that person may see them as saying, “You're stupid.” And then be hurt from their experience.
I must honestly call myself out on this one, too. I don't think we do this kind of thing intentionally. But treat each person individually—again, with respect.
Accept different methodologies
Blubrry, Libsyn, SoundCloud, Anchor, Podcast Websites, SquareSpace, FeedBurner, WordPress, and much more are merely tools to accomplish certain goals within podcasting. While some tools are certainly better for certain tasks than others, that doesn't mean we must try to convert everyone to that tool.
I once met a fresh new podcaster at an event. They had just started their podcast and website, and they met a vendor with a competing product to what they used. Instead of helping that podcaster understand the benefits of the competing product, that vendor came across as belittling to that podcaster, and a poor opinion was formed. Sadly, I've actually seen that happen many times, and I might have even done it myself a couple times.
We don't need to act so exclusive about how to podcast. It's not a moral issue; there's no single right way to podcast—and that's what makes podcasting wonderful!
So whether you're discussing PlayStation vs. Xbox, Windows vs. Linux vs. macOS, Android vs. iOS, Democrat vs. Republican, or anything else, respect others' decisions and don't try to change them (at least not right away).
Even when there is only a single right way to do something (like an RSS feed with enclosures in order to get your podcast in Apple Podcasts), we don't have to be jerks about it.
Foster community, not competition
What do you do when you see someone else start a new podcast about your same topic? What if they get attention when you don't?
How you treat your competitors is a reflection of your maturity. Sometimes, we adults can be quite childish.
Instead of trying to conquer your competitors, find ways to collaborate as colleagues in a larger community (listen to episode 108 for more about that).
Who are you going to be among other podcasters? Will you be the self-promoter? The giver? The passive-aggressive troll? The encourager?
We can choose and control the attitudes we communicate. It can be a real challenge, sometimes, but that's what makes us stronger.
In a thriving community or marketplace, there's an active exchange of value. Some people deliver products, some offer services, some offer payments. Look at podcasting the same way.
This doesn't mean we should all be each others' financial patrons. (If we're each giving each other $5, the service providers get to keep a little off the top, and we lose that little bit of money with each exchange.) Instead, exchange value. That could mean offering some help, being an evangelist, or participating in the community. These and more have actual value—tangible or intangible.
There may be times you buy something from a podcaster and they buy something from you. But in that process, you're still exchanging value outside of the money. For example, I pay to be a member of Mike Morrison and Callie Willow's Member Site Academy, and Mike pays to be a customer of My Podcast Reviews. This isn't any kind of unfair or ungrateful exchange, it's a respectful acknowledgment and exchange of value.
Looking for a place to grow with other podcasters?
If you're ready to improve and grow your podcast, connect with other passionate and encouraging podcasters, and get the training you need to overcome the challenges of podcasting, then Podcasters' Society is the best place for you! We offer expert support, encouraging community, and in-depth training.
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