Minding the Borderlands

Mark Koester (@markwkoester) on the art of travel and technology

Track Your Podcast Listening With Screenshots

Looking for a simple “hack” to track your podcast listening? Take a screenshot every time you listen to an episode.

If you are a hardcore podcast listener, like me, it is difficult to remember what you’ve listened to and when. It’s similar challenging when you want to share a great podcast episode with a friend.

For the last year, I’ve been building and using a collection of tools to better quantify and track my podcast listening. But one simple habit or “hack” has been the basis for most of my podcast tracking: screenshots.

A recent chat exchange made me realize that this simple, habitual step is a great starting point for anyone who wants to keep track of their podcasts listening behavior.

For example, the other day I was chatting with a friend about what she had been up to all summer. When a random topic of mutual interest came up, I mentioned that I had just listened to a podcast on the very same time topic. She, of course, asked me to share it. I immediately went into my screenshot photos on my phone and browsed through my recent history. Eventually I pulled up the episode’s screenshot and shared it.

In an ideal world, my podcast listening app would automatically log and visualize all of this, and it would provide me with a better tool for tracking, showing my listening history and sharing.

As I shared in the “Dev Update: Building a Podcast Tracker App”, the current version of my podcast tracker is a simple website I’ve already built that let’s users log their podcast episodes manually. We are working on the next version that will be cross-platform for listening, tracking and managing your listening history.

For now, I recommend that anyone trying to better track and quantify their podcast listening to take a screenshot of the episodes they listen to. It only take a second and it’s an easy first step to denote the media you consume.

By initially logging my podcast listens with screenshots, I have entire folder of photos on my phone that I can look back on. I can see what I listened and with the meta-data, when and where. The fact that I had been “logging” my podcast with screenshots also makes it easy to share with friends later too.

If you want to go beyond this initially logging, I’ve built a simple tool to log them into a podcast aggregator. You can then check your listen time as a total, by week and by podcast channel. Moreover if you want to do your own data analysis, we provide an export. Contact me directly if you want to become a beta tester.

Tracking can come in a lot of forms. The majority of quantified self tools focuses on body, fitness and health tracking, like step counters, heart rate, and fitness. But I personally think there is a lot to be gained through comprehensive media tracking. For media tracking, you can log the books you read with GoodReads, you can record the shows and movies you watch with Trakt, and you can note the articles you read with Pocket, InstaPaper or use a DIY Article Reading Solution with Evernote.

Unfortunately there isn’t a great solution yet for tracking your podcast listening. So for now, I highly recommend the simple “hack” of taking a screenshot for every podcast episode you listen to. If nothing else, it’s easy to look back at your podcast listening history, and, if you want to go one step farther, you can log it manually elsewhere.

Best of luck and happy tracking!

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