A Little About Podcasting
We have written a couple of times in passing about podcasting here and here is a little How To on the technology.
Dave Winer, one of the inventors of podcasting, has a link today on his blog to the University of Calgary What is Podcasting page that is helpful.
I can attempt an explanation here as well, for people who aren't familiar with it.
So downloading audio files from a Web site has been around for a while. Podcasting takes that a few steps further, which is why it has excited the imagination of many people.
Podcasting marries audio files with Really Simple Syndication or RSS.
Let's start with RSS. Walt Mossberg wrote about it on May 5 in his Personal Technology column. But I will also explain it. RSS is simply a way to deliver data, whether it's a news article, a photo, or a blog post, automatically over the Net to the computer or device of someone. At it's most basic, RSS takes the work out of checking on a Web site to see if there is something new there. You sign up for an RSS update, called a feed, using either RSS software, such as FeedDemon or an RSS service such as Bloglines or MyYahoo. You download the software onto your computer. You sign up for the free services online.
Podcasting simply allows you to get RSS feeds for your MP3 player, including iPods. (That's where the name comes from). When the software to do this appeared online last summer, many bloggers just glommed onto it, for a couple of reasons. It enables anyone to create their own show and to find an audience for that show. It truly is grassroots media at work.
There are thousands of podcasts shows online now. And established media companies are starting to adopt podcasting because it's destabilizing as well as full of new opportunities.
The example that I find the most compelling in explaining how the appeal of podcasting in terms of convenience and freedom trumps
audio downloads is one we had in our story about blogging.
"Before podcasting, only about 150 people a month bothered to download the audio files of Morning Stories, a show on Boston's public station WGBH. After the station switched to podcasting in October? Eighty thousand."
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