Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Podcasting Fast Forward...

iRiver 1 Gig Flash Recorder Posted by Hello

I've got my new iRiver MP3 player/recorder--the bare bones minimum for taking part in podcasting. I've read any number (read: a LOT) of articles and posts on podcasting. And I think I understand the genesis and the conflicts around Podcasting -- the concept, the nuances, and the technologies that support the medium -- better than most, not as well as some.

That's a pretty cool place to be, and gives me a vantage point for discussing what I believe is happening with this space. And so...

Podcasting by any other name is "making MP3 digital audio files easily -- even automatically -- accessible. In fact, podcasting could have been called mp3casting, but that would have sounded weird at best. Certainly not as "catchy" as Adam Curry's hip term.

Some myths about podcasting: Podcasting doesn't require an iPod per-se (any mp3 player will do). Podcasting does NOT require RSS. (Subscribing to podcasts does.) In other words, ANY mp3 file that in some form mimics broadcast is, to most users who are downloading them today, a podcast.

It's the name we like. The idea of being in on "the next something big." It's so, well, "blogging."

But podcasting is not rocket science. If you, for example, have an mp3 file you want to make available, or broadcast, you can do this in several ways. (1) You can have a weblog setup with an RSS 2.0 feed (Blogger makes this easy), make your feed available to bloglines or other aggregators/subscription services, where people who wish to can subscribe to your blog and get convenient/automatic downloads of your podcasts. You can sleep while "podcatcher" technology makes sure you get the latest podcasts of your liking loaded onto your MP3 player for morning drivetime.

(2) While RSS makes podcast RECEIVING easy and seamless, it's not the only way to listen to your favorite Pod Personalities. A burgeoning base of corporate fans are listening to podcasts on their PCs by, well, CLICKING ON THE AUDIO LINK within the weblog. (3) And for those podcast surfers, who might find one or two podcasts worth downloading, you can usually save the file down and copy it onto your MP3 player via a USB connection.

So what's really new here?

The answer? Not much and everything at the same time.

What is new is the perception, first and foremost. The perception of many companies and consumers that podcasting is the next weblogging. It's a must-do. It's a don't miss the wave.

And with any new medium for voice online, you'd do well to jump in rather than miss the boat completely. Especially when cost to entry is so minimal. The only tangible device you need for podcasting -- beyond the recorder -- is content: something new or interesting to say, something of value, something informative or funny, something your audience needs or wants to know.

And so, it is.

Thanks to a catchy name, some quirky, talented, new-era pioneer broadcasters who've been living online for a while, to Adam Curry, Dave Winer, and the whole technology debating team, as well as the ability of the masses to subscribe to podcasts for easy downloading, podcasting really is the new big thing.

My prediction? It's about channels--it's about getting what you want from the net in the way that's most convenient/relevant for you at the time. If that means clicking a link and listening on your PC at work, then you're listening to a podcast. If it means you download podcasts from 16 blogs you subscribe to every night, then you're downloading podcasts. It's not an either or--it's a both and.

In six months, the podcasting "brand" will likely refer to the program format (i.e., anything that resembles a radio broadcast and is available online will be called a podcast) NOT how the program is delivered (i.e., currently any mp3 file made available through an RSS 2.0 feed in a weblog can be delivered to subscribers).

In six months, an interview on Microsoft's site between Bill Gates and Scoble (it could happen!) will be called a podcast, even if it's simply an mp3 file sitting on a server and linked off Microsoft's homepage for anyone wanting to click the link.

And that's okay.

It evokes the same debate we've been having for years in blogland: "What is blogging." Some say its community. Some say its journalism. Some say it's just writing.

So what will podcasting be? Some will say its personal radio. Some will say its broadcast journalism. Some will say it's just mp3 files.

And, just like with blogging, we'll all be pretty much right at the same time.

Your blog is great, and I have added it to my bookmarks. If you want to find some information about making money with podcasts, check out my website at podcast site myspace.com. Thanks!
Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a podcasting site. It pretty much covers podcasting related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)
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I want to add that when you post your RSS feed on libsyn or wherever please put your contact information there. I am trying to make a "channel" which really just a web site with a directory of similar podcasts. (the one I'm doing is www.naturepodcasts.com ). You would be amazed at how many nature podcasts I have found with no way to contact the author.
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