How I use Alertcaster

Tracking conversations around podcasts on Farcaster

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Emma Kwan

One of the key prerequisites to writing web3 podcast recommendations is being on top of the web3 podcast space. It's actually fairly challenging to do because web3 podcasting is a niche yet widely distributed community of creators and listeners. By this I mean that there are relatively few "podcast people" in web3, and their output (episodes by creators or reactions by listeners) is scattered across Twitter, Spotify, YouTube, and other platforms.

Curating good recommendations has been one of my biggest challenges as a writer because I rely heavily on word-of-mouth and an opaque Twitter algorithm to surface interesting podcast conversations. This works, but it's not as comprehensive as I'd like.

I have been looking for a better approach, so I was excited to come across Alertcaster in a cast by creator Andy Jagoe through my Farcaster feed. The app sends an email alert any time a keyword or phrase you have specified is casted.

Alerts are grouped together with replies, with an email chain consisting of casts from around the same day.

I use Alertcaster to track two keywords: "podcast" and "podcasts." The results have been pretty interesting — over the past two weeks of alerts, the main types of podcast-related casts that I've seen are:

  • asking for podcast recommendations

  • recommending podcasts or episodes

  • discussing the almost 8 hour Balaji Srinivasan conversation on Lex Fridman's podcast

The first two are pretty expected, although I would guess that Farcasters are disproportionately interested in podcasts compared to other communities based on the casts I've seen. The third, however, is fascinating because it's not something I would have noticed within my regular Farcaster feed without Alertcaster aggregating those conversations for me. It's both a reflection of Farcaster's users and the respect they have for the kind of in-depth conversation that Balaji and Lex engage in. These insights are really useful for my writing since I largely write about what I observe, and the amount of interest in the Balaji and Lex episode has given me some ideas for future pieces.

The nature of Farcaster is also key to making Alertcaster work with its current implementation — there are relatively few casts and most of them are high quality. For example, I received 10 emails today for casts that contained "podcast" or "podcasts." I'm curious about how Alertcaster will continue to handle scaling since receiving individual notifications for tens or hundreds of casts a day would be really overwhelming, but it's cool to see steps being taken to solve for this issue such as the recently released daily digest feature.

Going forward, I would love to see more customization options for alert frequency (there are some topics where I'd want to get every cast versus others where I'd be happy with a weekly digest) and the ability to track casts that contain multiple keywords. For the daily digests, I think exploring other ways of prioritizing casts besides comments/recasts/likes could be interesting. For example, I'm especially interested in podcast-related casts that have engagement by web3 media and podcast builders, since it's typically good signal for novel projects or approaches. If I was able to specify certain users and receive a digest that surfaced these types of casts, that would be very useful.

I'm very excited about Alertcaster and appreciate how Andy is constantly looking for feedback from users. If you're interested in checking out Alertcaster, you can direct cast @andyjagoe on Farcaster to get access and visit alertcaster.xyz.

#farcaster
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