Monday, 30 May 2005

Finishing my thoughts about podcasting/audioblogging

My thoughts regarding ''podcasting'' or audioblogging aren't finished.

Lately, I've been exploring above mentioned subject . It was sometime in October / September last year when I heard about podcasting during Web 2.0 conference . The meme spread like a wildfire since than , mainly good-old-techno -hype and mainstream press furiously got on the board ( latest news are that ABC and NBC introduced podcasts ). And all that even we had mp3 files available for downloading for years.

But hey, more people got MP3 players that it was ever before. RSS is here, broadband is ready, little laziness about automatic downloading via podcastcher. Perfect ingrediends for another exciting thing.

I was skeptical. We heard sentences like ''move on blogging, podcasting is here''. Crap. There was even revolution on some minds. Crap. One doesn't exlude other in this case. They say ''it's TIVO for radio''.
Oh, very lean technology indeed, just not much people need to use it.

The biggest crap, IMHO, is when I hear people saying ''podcasting is synonim for audioblogging''. Far from true ! Audioblogging is posting audio files on your web/log/site ( can you make distinction; posting your simple voice-talk recording within template driven page with simple commands and interface for doing so ).

Podcasting is producing audio files/shows/broadcasts ( in MB sizes ) enveloped with RSS 2.0 distribution mechanism including music mixes, effects, screenplay, concept etc ( can you see distinction how is this richer, harder to make, just not simple and for average user) .

Here's why.

I remember very well how it was when I opened my first ( text ) blog over at It was fast, instant and published in a second. I could do edits very fast and they were simple. It was all that simple. Nice user interface helped a lot. Write, bold, add a picture and publish onto your free blog space under choosen subdomain.

The process of creating audio file and publishing on the web requires some resources. Knowledge comes at first.
Here how it goes creating and publishing podcast:

- create audio file with audio editor (desktop app), learn how to do it if you do not know
- don't make fool out of yourself and record crappy file :))
- convert that file to MP3 format
- assume you have a storage place on the server to host these files ( yes, I know about Our Media, Lybsin, Internet archive )
- open your FTP program and transfere mp3 files on the server
- assume you have blog/web site with RSS 2.0
- post it on your blog with short notice, and relevant links on the mp3 file
- optional- have enough storage space and available bandwith, and be prepared for slashdotting effects to pay all your hosting bills.

Too many processes, too many handlings and too many knowledge and resources ( bandwith, storage ).

Where are web based audio editors for creating mp3 files ? Where's simple user interface ? Where's javascript generation of ''badge'' as a choice to link podcast list on your domain of choice ( remember how Flickr has badge option so I can paste as a list of my pictures on my blog of choice for quick showing- granulation and transfere is important here) ?

Conclusion: Podcasting isn't convenient yet. It is not synonim for audioblogging as some implied. It's not popular among average internet user ( it's elitists, broadband is still lagging for most people ) and everyone doesn't have need or purpose to do so few times a week. But it's fun. It saves time for listeners sometime .

It's good for learning, music discovering, creativity triving, info junkies, presentations and relevant content will show up .

Audioblogging should be simple, web based, modular, and transferable. Podcasting should be just as it is, but needs to invent simple interface and accept open standards.
Podcasting won't create craze about mp3 players and have in mind that mp3 players compete with mobile phones sometime in the future. That's where I see opportunities .

Only then, eventually, audioblogging and podcasting will come closer . But who cares !

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