Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Podcasting: a revolution?

I’m not going to bore you with a definition of podcasting or a lengthy technical explanation on how to get started [DON’T is my advice]: Google returns several million results on “podcast”, so you’re spoiled for choice.

Whenever something new hits the servers, one word invariably pops up: revolutionize. Predictably, things are no different with podcasting. But typically these revolutions are shortlived. Let’s look at a few of these so-called milestones.

Email has certainly changed the world but as a vehicle for commercial messages it’s defitely in decline, perhaps not so much in terms of volume as in terms of actual impact. Impact email advertising is now more than ever the realm of hardened spammers, rather than legitimate marketers.

Blogging itself is suffering a similar fate. The blogoshere explosion has led to over 4 million [I read somewhere] blog sites being created. The majority are poorly written, uninteresting and often unread cyber documents, which will sooner or later undoubtedly be abandoned by their authors once the novelty has worn off. The sheer number of bloggers means the majority of individual blogs have a hard time getting noticed. Most blogs end up being Google’s index filler, more than anything else.

But while a blogger really only needs to be able to write and access a computer, the next generation of video blogs or vlogs, will require the author to generate worthwhile streams of video. And that’s a lot harder that it appears at first glance. Most vlogs will never live up to anyone’s expectations.

Podcasting is unlikely to be much different. Mastering the technology and know-how will not stop even the biggest luddite but that doesn’t make anyone a broadcaster [Internet or not]. Again, the low technological threshold, will mean masses of wannabe podcasters can generate large numbers of amateurish, poorly executed podcasts, most of which will never get heard by anyone.

A revolution? I don't think so...But I’m sure there will be a few real podcasting gems as well.


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