Lightbulb about Podcasting (“Some stuff I just figured out”)

I attended a Podcasting meeting at Berkman a couple of days ago (see "The Berkman Choir" for some silliness) and came back, as often happens, with a new insight. Here it is, and if it seems obvious to you, that would be my failing. (And if you have no idea what I am talking about, well, just move on!) You will see some themes that I've mentioned before, but elaborated in some new ways.

The technology for blogging and Podcasting isn't that complicated or new. It's really stuff that's been around put together in new ways, but really, to an engineer, you'd get a " is that all there is to it?."

But focusing on that misses something important - the accessibility or simplicity to the user (both creator and consumer.) This key characteristic has been crucial to the success of blogging and the eventual success of Podcasting and video blogging, in this sense.

By making 'publishing' (in the most general sense of the word) available to anyone, this technology is exactly what has lowered the barriers and allowed all kinds of people with something to say actually be able to say it and publish it.

Let me elaborate. Publishing in the most general sense includes publishing of written content (newspapers, journals, magazines and books become blogs), but also audio content (radio shows become podcasts) and video content (tv programming become video blogs.)

The technology is key in that development, on three fronts:

  1. ease of use (allowing a anyone to write and article or produce a radio show)

  2. distribution (allowing this stuff to be consumed by anyone, instantly, around the globe)

  3. And ease of discovery (allowing someone who is interested to locate this content.)

With that ease, the theory goes, and the practice shows , an amazing multiitude of people suddenly decide that they have something to say to the other multitude of people who decide they want to follow what is being said. Synergy!