Podcasting Pushback


I got some negative comments about my post last week on Podcasting. Some intelligent, but others just moronic: Calling me a "knee-jerk off type who tries to impose their self-serving ego-maniacal agenda" and making fun of how I pronounce my last name, as if by choosing to pronounce it like the rest of my extended family, I am somehow pretentious. Amazing. These people probably pronounce Greenwich like "green witch." Morons.

Anyways, I was wondering why I haven't been super-jazzed about Podcasting. It's not that I don't think it's neat - I do. It's just that we were talking about doing all this over two years ago:

The reason I wanted to do this was because it would have been another excuse to buy an iPod. Imagine an audio news aggregator, which would dump the audioblogs you'd subscribed to onto your iPod whenever you synched it. You could then peruse them using the nice iPod interface. A build-your-own radio station. And yes, it would be even better if real radio stations incorporated RSS-type subscription mechanisms. They should be less concerned about syndication than other online publications, because they would still be able to embed advertisments and jingles in the audio.

That's actually not my quote. That's from Quentin Stafford-Fraser's weblog which I included in that post. We were all brainstorming about this stuff *years ago*. So yes, it's wonderful that podcasting is reaching critical mass, but excuse me if I don't get overly excited about it. I mean, I published my first AudioBlog back in July 2002, put my first VideoBlog out there as well soon after. This is before someone like Dave Slusher even *had* a blog, let alone a world famous podcast.

Why did I stop audioblogging? Because I couldn't concentrate on audioblogs while I was sitting at the computer, and I didn't think that others would be able to listen to my audioblogs either. And the audioblogs didn't have any way of "permalinking" inside them. I remember Adam Curry *reading* his weblog for a while as a sort of middle solution, remember that? This stuff didn't pop out of thin air. Just so my feelings are not misinterpreted again, I feel that Podcasting is the perfect solution to this "listening at your computer" problem - automagically putting the audio posts on your iPod for those moments you're away and bam, suddenly that missing ingredient we never got around to adding in 2002 makes the whole thing magic. I'm down with that.

In some ways, the amazing thing isn't podcasting itself, it's the question of what took us so long in the first place?

What I *was* saying in my last post is two things: Don't navel gaze too much. That's pretty much the first part and was mostly a side comment and a joke. And the second part is my belief that iPods are a stop-gap device to a much bigger world ahead of us. Right now there are 4 million iPods, and yet there are going to be 650 million phones shipped this year alone. How big will podcasting be when all those phones can be "podcast players?" Think you're at the beginning of a trend now? Just wait.

The iPod is getting shifted aside already - even Apple knows this. Do you remember that Motorola and Apple agreed to have iTunes on Moto Next Gen Phones? Think about that. Now you won't have to remember to load up your iPod and grab your phone before leaving the house. You'll be able to have your files on one device instead. The phone may not hold the thousands of hours of audio that a normal iPod holds, but it'll be perfect for the day's podcasts, no? And soon thereafter, streaming media over 3G networks and some "MobCasting" service that pops-up will be the Bloglines of podcast feeds, and you won't have to even remember to sync. Then after you've got all that grokked, just wait until you're watching Personal Videos from around the world on your phone instead. This is not far out stuff. This is all like 9 to 12 months away.

This all goes back to my Personal Broadcast ideas I've been spouting for months now. Modern mobile phones are amazing Media Generation and Consumption devices. Convergence, ubiquity and connectivity are going to change society as we know it. Podcasting is only at the very tip of this.

I hope I'm clear now.


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