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Author Stefan, posted September 15, 2016

Hi! This is Stefan speaking, a freelance web developer from Vienna, Austria, and I am the creator and lead developer of Panoptikum.social. Panoptikum, the project this very site has been created for, aims to be a site for easy and pleasant discovery for new podcasts, as well as a site for communication with other podcast listeners and podcasters. You could classify Panoptikum as a social media network focussed around podcasts.

What is a podcast?

A podcast is an audio file, i.e. audio encoded in a digital format, that can be downloaded or streamed from the internet and - in contrast to broadcast radio - listened to, whenever you feel in the mood of doing so. Usually podcasts come in series of episodes and you can subscribe to them using a podcast feed.

These feeds are also the very heart of this site, that subscrbes to all podcast feeds, that users of the site recommend and presents information about the podcast and the individual episodes in an easy readable form.

Why another podcasting platform?

There are other platforms out there, Apple’s Itunes being probably the most prominent of these, there are even search engines dedicated to podcasts out there, e.g. Fyyd, but all of them never felt inviting to me, neither as a podcast listener nor as a podcaster (a podcast producer).

We personally want to have a site, that makes it easy to find new podcast or single episodes, that could be interesting or entertaining for me. We want to read other user’s opinions and recommendations and see, which podcasts users with similar interests have subscribed to. We think it would also be interesting to see new podcasts coming into the scene, how they gain attraction, as it was interesting for me to track the charts when I was young. :-) It would be also nice to have a quick chat to other users, that are currently on the site.

Why should a podcast be listed on the site?

  • For you as a podcaster: it’s another way of publishing your podcast. And Panoptikum is an additional possibility for you to get in touch with the community of podcast listeners, especially your current listeners. Hopefully, it helps lets you attract more attention than before.
  • For you as a podcast listener: it’s a chance to share your opinions and recommendations and get other listener’s opinions, thoughts and recommendations.

Will Panoptikum.social always be free?

Yes and no.

All the software, that has been written and will be written for Panoptikum.social is free and open source software and is licensed under the AGPL license.

For podcast listeners, access to the full functionality of the site will be free forever.

For podcasters, a basic listing and introduction of you and your podcast will always be free.

But unfortunately, writing and maintaining software and operating a site costs time and money. So there is the plan to create paid plans for podcasters providing extra value, this could be:

  • detailled statistics
  • different forms of engaging with the listeners like polls or feedback forms
  • episode or podcast features
  • interviews with podcasters
  • and many more

It’s definetely not the plan to make huge amounts of money with this site. Some of as are a dedicated podcasters and all of us are podcast listeners and our main focus is to create a site where the podcasting community feels at home.

When will it be ready?

We don’t really know. Panoptikum is currently under heavy development. I am investing almost all of my time that is not spent on maintaining legacy projects, on Panoptikum. It will be published, when it’s ready, but the podcasting community should definitely see something usefull and interesting in late 2016.

Cannot stand waiting any longer?

Ok, are you ready?   Give it a try!

Can I contribute?


… as a podcast listener

Parsing podcast feeds and building the network of podcast listeners are the first major development efforts. So we need lists of podcasts, podcast listeners have subscribed to. Most podcatchers (= podcast listening apps) can export this list in opml format. We would be very happy, if you could send your list to sonja@panoptikum.social. If your Podcatcher can’t export opml or if you don’t use one, a text file with a simple list of the URLs of your podcast feeds or even just the podcast sites would be fine, too. You will get early bird access to the site in October 2016 in compensation for your efforts.

… as a podcaster

You could send me a list of your podcast feeds at sonja@panoptikum.social and you will get early bird access to the site in October 2016 in compensation for your efforts. We are also interested in your opinions in the ideas presented above, especially which features you miss at other podcasting platforms and you would like to see here. Feel free to send this comments via email or post them in the comment section below.

… as a developer

If you are a web developer, interested in this project, and also interesting in coding in Elixir and Phoenix, get in touch via Twitter @panoptikumIO, Email: stefan@panoptikum.social or visit our Github page. There you will find the source code for this marketing page (that is written using Jekyll and jekyll-Octopod), but more important the panoptikum web application itself in the Pan repository.

Panoptikum is free and open source software.

If, by coincidence, you are located close to Vienna, Austria, there IS NOW an Elixir & Phoenix study group. See Vienna BEAMers for details.

… as anybody else

We are interested in your feedback! Also if you want to contribute to Panoptikum in any other way not described above, comment below or send your message to sonja@panoptikum.social.

The Team