Arriving on the Internet scene August 2004, it has become one of the hottest phenomena to hit the Internet since blogging. Podcasting gets its hip name from the Apple iPod, although it isn’t directly related to the computer manufacturer. The number of podcasts available climbed from 1 single show, Trade Secrets, to over 72 in just under a month. In one week the audience for Trade Secrets jumped from 1,000 to 6,000. What’s all this hype about?
Podcasting is used in web-based environments to broadcast content to audiences around the globe. Think of podcasting as home-grown talk radio shows. A podcast generally consists of audio files (generally MP3, but other formats work also) available for download from the Internet through software that detects and downloads these files automatically. It is due to the ability of listeners to listen to the broadcast at their convenience rather than at specific broadcast times. This allows for a time-shift of the broadcasts in ways similar to DVRs and TiVo. This is a personal technology that, when combined with the Internet, empowers everyone with a voice. After all, podcasting is really about communication. Hollywood and the music industry will need to look out for this new paradigm that has just emerged from beyond the horizon.
Podcasts are relatively easy to acquire, relieve the user of searching for and downloading individual files, and provide opportunities for global communication. Using an aggregator that carries audio files as enclosures such as iPodder or PodderX users can subscribe to podcast feeds. These feeds will automatically deliver content to a desktop computer and/or iPod/MP3. This new technology is a variation of syndicated content feeds like RSS and Atom. However, instead of pushing text from a news site, podcasting delivers the files directly to an iPod or MP3 player.
In its simplest form, a podcast is:
- An audio file in .mp3 format that is posted on the Web as an attachment to an RSS feed.
- similar to a blog except in audio form rather than text form
- an RSS file that you complete and upload to a server (your own for instance)
- downloaded by listeners using an aggregator that accepts enclosures
- listened to at the convenience of the listener on either a computer or an mp3 player
- updated automatically for all listeners who subscribe to the podcast feed