According to Pooja Ramakrishnan Reply All is firmly perched on the highest rung of the podcast world. For those of you blissfully unaware of this gem, let there be light!
Remember the horrible emotion that comes from accidentally hitting the ‘reply all’ option to an email? No? Then, you haven‘t been around the internet that much. Named after the button of nightmares, the internet’s most famous podcast is about the random, fluid and inescapable technology infiltrating all our lives: the internet. Launched in 2014, it went on to be (and still is) one of the most successful audio programmes. With over one million downloads per episode, Reply All is firmly perched on the highest rung of the podcast world. For those of you blissfully unaware of this gem, let there be light!
Hosted by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman, it satisfies every adjective used to describe an ear-worthy podcast: entertaining, informative, and filled with infectious laughter. PJ and Alex take us on a journey whose storyline, crafted with masterful attention, develops organically. It tackles mysteries from the far-reaching corners of the internet to your average internet slang breakdown. For a podcast that is about a world inhabited largely by unidentified personas, Reply All does a tremendous job in endearing us to it.
Some of my favourite episodes are the one featuring the man who invented the infuriating pop-up ad; a hacker who, after being caught, was barred access to the internet forever; and the explanation of the workings of a Turkish version of Dropbox that ISIS uses to communicate secretly. This is just the tip of the iceberg, though. The show also contains two segments called Yes Yes No and Super Tech Support. The former explains internet trivia to the uninitiated while the latter solves curious problems that listeners call in with. If you want to know what Hilary Clinton meant when she tweeted ‘delete your account' to Donald Trump, why owning a unique Snapchat username can lead you to be hacked or how the first search result when you google helpline numbers can be a scam, it’s time to tune in.
Many of the episodes last around 30 minutes, making it a well-edited and fast-paced production. Additionally, Reply All’s fantastic theme song is created by Breakmaster Cylinder - a mysterious artist who also shot to fame along with the podcast. In later episodes, dedicated listeners get treated to a minute-long skit at the end of each episode with the artist, his dog and a talking piano in what seems like a multi-dimensional, magical journey through space as they try to get back home. All in all, I emphatically agree with The Guardian which calls it ‘an unfailingly original exploration of modern life and how to survive it’. If all else fails to impress, PJ Vogt's peals of laughter will, at the very least, bring about a smile on a bad day