Podcasting: a word many of you have probably heard but may know little to nothing about. Well, if you’re sitting at home wondering what is a “podcast“? Stay tuned, because I will explain throughout this post. Also, if you’re sitting at home hoping to hear me in my own podcast, stay tuned. This is about to get interesting…
A podcast is a series of digital media files presented in an episodic way, that allow users to automatically download new episodes through web syndication, on their computer or on other portable media player.
The term “podcast” was invented by BBC journalist Ben Hammersley in 2004. Within this term, Hammersley combined the words “pod”, stemming from the word iPod, with the word cast, stemming from the word “broadcast“. Although Hammersley initially utilized this definition to refer to a broadcast that is emitted from an Apple product, the term podcast actually refers to syndicated content that can be accessed through any computer or device capable of playing media files. Various other roots of the word podcast, such as “POD”, or “portable on demand” have been used to define this word, but there is still no universally accepted root of for the word.
Podcasting is often thought of to be a converged medium, as it combines the web with audio, portable media players, and forms of disruptive technology. Podcasting has caused many professionals working in the radio business to reconsider the way in which they view media consumption, distribution, and production. Unlike many of its predecessors, podcasts are often free to listen to, and cost little to nothing to produce.
Andy Zaltzman discusses the benefits of podcasting
As you may expect, there are various benefits associated with podcasting. One main benefit is the personal nature of podcasts. Since content is able to be communicated directly to users, podcasts allow information to be intimately shared, especially when considering other popular ways of sharing information, such as e-mail blasts or online articles.
Another benefit associated with podcasting is their time-efficient nature. While listening to podcasts, users can also accomplish a multitude of other tasks, such as commuting to work or preparing meals. This differentiates podcasts greatly from other popular forms of attaining information such as reading e-news, since users are free to do as they please while listening to podcasts.
The last benefit of podcasting that I’d like to share with you is the engaging nature of podcasts. Currently, the internet is chockfull of written content. Audio content, on the other hand, engages people in a way that written content is often unable to, and offers users a break from the monotony of common written content. Additionally, through speaking their mind instead of just writing it, users are able to convey their ideas and messages in a way that captures the attention of online listeners. Recently, a survey conducted on 300,000 listeners of podcasts found that 63% of respondents had purchased products promoted by podcasters. Clearly, podcasts are able to engage the audience in a way that written online content cannot.
So, now that you have some background information on podcasts, and have heard a bit about their benefits, I invite you to listen to my podcast on my dinner last night at Cerveceria Catalana, below!
My podcast on Cerveceria Catalana. Apologies for the quality – my computer is from 2010!