I’ve been following the “podcasting” trend pretty closely of late. It’s an intriguing area, one of those things that is at that spot in time where you can get in and be successful before it gets coopted and corporate-ized to death. It’s still at the point where it is accessible to the ‘little guy.’
But, I think the term “Podcasting” is wrong. Ultimately, it will be bad for it, unless it becomes so generic that it loses it’s association with Apple and I-pods the way Kleenex is accepted as a term for any old tissue. That’s probably what will happen.
So, to help it on it’s way, let me correct a few common misconceptions…
1. You don’t need an I-pod.
You can listen to a podcast on your computer. You can burn it to a CD and listen in your car or on your stereo system. You can listen to it on your mp3 player of ANY brand because it’s an MP3 file that any player can play.
2. You don’t need a Mac.
Podcasting is as platform-independant as an MP3. You can use whatever computer you use to access the internet to download and play a podcast. Mac do it well. Windows, no sweat, it’s easy. Linux? If you can handle Linux, it’s a piece of cake. You probably don’t need to read this!
3. You don’t need I-Tunes. (Or any other special program.)
While a big deal has been made about I-Tunes downloading podcasts, it was actually a late joner to the trend. You don’t need a special program to get podcasts. A RSS Feed Aggregator will make it easy to subscribe to them and find out when new ones come out, but they aren’t necessary if you just want to hear a podcast to see what it’s all about. Any web-browser is all you need to do it. Just go to the web page for a podcast and click the link to download the MP3. Internet Explorer, Netscape, Firefox, Opera, Safari, all will work.
In fact, you may have an RSS Aggregator and not know it. Firefox, Opera and even the Thunderbird email client will do RSS subscriptions and let you know when your favorite podcast has a new show out.
4. Podcast isn’t even a good name for them.
I’m not a Microsoft-lover. It’s almost impossible to not dislike the monopolistic giant runn by Bill Gates. But I’m not, therefore, an Apple fan. In fact, the smug, superior attitude of some Apple/Mac fans really irritates me too. I’d love to love Linux, but just haven’t been able to get comfortable with that OS. So, I have no axe to grind with any operating system as far as podcasting goes.
Microsoft has embraced podcasting, but in a typical MS way refuses anything remotely associated with Apple and insists on calling it blogcasting. I thought it was funny until I Googled it and saw how many links came up.
A better term might be Audio-Blogging. Or multi-media blog. Or almost anything, but like Kleenex, it probably will always be Podcasting.
That’s four points right off the top of my head. I’m sure more will come to me. Maybe I’ll add more later, but you probably see my point by now. So, I think I’ll go listen to an audio-blog. Maybe I’ll blow my nose on some facial tissue, too.