The Podcast Network

Post ImageIt has been a while since I last looked at The Podcast Network, but I was quite impressed when I did wander over to the site today. They recently relaunched the site, and gave it a much needed makeover. Seriously, the old site was just terrible. I like the new layout, colors, and logo.

The site has some interesting new features too! There are tags on the front page, a news section, and a list of the latest shows. I really like the number of shows they have – shows great progress. I don’t think the network has evolved enough to meet a fate similar to Weblogs.com (which was recently purchased by AOL), but I do think they are on the right track. I’m going to have to check out some of the new shows – The Guy Parenting Show looks interesting for instance (and it’s such a specific market, they must do well on the advertising).

With the recent podcast directory craze going on, it’s interesting to see a project like The Podcast Network take a different route.

Read: The Podcast Network

Average Joe Podcasting Revisited

Post ImageYou might remember that way back on August 18th, 2005 I wrote a post entitled Average Joe Podcasting. Let me highlight the main point of that post for you:

Not everyone who starts a podcast is going to want to make money from it, just like not everyone who blogs does so with the intention of making a living. I read a lot about podcasting – news articles, blog posts, etc., and I can’t help but feel that far too many individuals and organizations focus on the “making money from podcasting” idea.

As soon as starting and maintaining a podcast is as simple as starting and maintaining a blog, I think we’ll see the same breakdown in podcasting [as in blogging].

You should read the entire post to get the full argument in context, but that’s the main idea – that individuals will likely start to podcast for themselves, and that they’ll become a major segment of the podcasting world.

Almost exactly two months after I wrote that comes a post from Odeo’s Evan Williams, entitled Podcasting for Regular People. Here’s the main idea in his post:

While blogging can be about playing on a world stage to influence, gain audience, and, potentially, monetize (the same goals as most other media), there are millions of people who are happily pubishing daily without those motivations. For them, it’s more about expression, self-reflection, and communication.

I call these people “casual content creators.” It’s not just that they’re amateur or part of the great, unwashed, Long Tail. It’s that they’re playing a different game.

The idea of casual content creation in the realm of audio is a powerful one. And I think it’s a yet-to-be-duly-recognized segment of the (potential) podcasting world.

Sound familiar? I thought so.

Read: Odeo Blog

Podcasting: The Next Big Thing

Post ImageI have been reading John C. Dvorak for a long time, and while I don’t always agree, I do today. Here’s what John had to say in his latest opinion piece:

There is no doubt in my mind that podcasting is not only here to stay but will also shortly threaten established media broadcast systems. It’s not so much that they will all be destroyed by homebrew networks, but podcasts will be taking away just enough listeners to be a major concern.

There’s something particularly interesting about the piece. John wasn’t always banging the podcasting drum, as he points out:

Before I go on I should mention that initially I was skeptical about podcasting because it’s in an arena filled with flotsam. It’s not like TV, with 500 stations and nothing on; it’s like radio, with 50,000 stations and nothing on. Or at least nothing you can find.

Once he became involved with podcasting himself via TWIT, once he tried it out, he came around. That’s pretty representative of podcasting in my mind. Sometimes hard to explain, but once you try it, you just get it.

Read: PC Magazine

Average Joe Podcasting

Post ImageIt seems that big media has decided they want to get into the podcasting game, with everyone from MSNBC to Fox to BusinessWeek announcing podcasts in the last few weeks. I think that’s great! You know what they say, the more the merrier! And let’s be honest, no matter how much you like listening to an American couple talk about their sex life, you probably wouldn’t mind adding some news or commentary to your daily playlist.

Unfortunately, now that big media (or mainstreamedia) is on board, there’s a good crop of pundits and critics who seem to think that podcasting is over, because the average joe won’t be able to make any money podcasting. The big media players get all the coverage, and thus the advertising dollars.

Except that average joe probably doesn’t want to make any money from his (or her) podcast! Not everyone who starts a podcast is going to want to make money from it, just like not everyone who blogs does so with the intention of making a living. I read a lot about podcasting – news articles, blog posts, etc., and I can’t help but feel that far too many individuals and organizations focus on the “making money from podcasting” idea. Sure, there will be some podcasts that generate revenue, but I don’t see any reason that podcasting should be different from blogging: there are a lot of business blogs, but there are far more personal, average joe, I do it for myself/my family/my friends kind of blogs.

As soon as starting and maintaining a podcast is as simple as starting and maintaining a blog, I think we’ll see the same breakdown in podcasting. Lots of average joe podcasts, and far less big media or big business podcasts. Podcasting is not radio! You can decide what you want to listen to, whether that’s corporate marketing podcasts, flashy radio sounding podcasts, or something more real.

And one last clarification: just because I call them “average joe” podcasts, doesn’t mean they have to suck or sound bad! There will probably be some professional sounding average joe podcasts produced. All I mean by the term is podcasts not created for the sole purpose of making a monetary profit, but more as a labor of love. Or maybe even just ’cause it’s the thing to do 😉

Podcast enters the dictionary

Post ImageHow can you tell if a technology has made it? Sales figures, media buzz, pop culture references (like mentions in a movie or song or something), lots of different ways. Another way is when a word enters the regular lexicon, and eventually, the dictionary:

The Oxford English Dictionary added new words including “podcast” and “phishing,” saying they are now part of the English language, as it published its second edition today.

The words, which refer to music downloading and Internet fraud respectively, are part of a list of new additions that reflect the growing influence of technology on daily life. Oxford Dictionaries uses databases of words compiled from books, television programs and Internet chat rooms. There are 355,000 words in the new dictionary.

I’m still waiting for all the evidence that podcasting is just a fad. Might sound good in an article or two or three, but it doesn’t add up in real life! Not when the number of new podcasters continues to grow exponentially and the word itself makes it into the dictionary.

Read: Bloomberg