Definition of Podcasting

Let’s get in front of this before it gets out of hand. As I’ve said 100 times, I love Doc Searls but he’s not only trying to ascribe new acronyms to the term “podcasting”, he is using it to describe things that aren’t quite it, thereby confusing new people as they learn about it. Here’s what I see as necessary for something to be a podcast:

  1. Must be a discrete and downloadable media file
  2. Published in an RSS 2.0 enclosure feed
  3. Handled automatically on the receiver end, downloaded and moved to where it needs to be and put in the playlists for your playback device

That’s it. It’s a really freaking simple concept. A downloadable MP3 is not a podcast – it is a necessary but not sufficient component. He was referring to The Linux Show as a podcast, which unless I’m missing something, is not. [Update: It is now] It does have MP3s archives (which I had to dig like a MF to even find on their site) but I can’t find an RSS feed to save my life. You can’t subscribe to this and just have it show up. Folks, that’s the important part here. Being able to download things is cool, but having them show up automatically and be ready for you to play without your attention being required is the thing. That is what podcasting is.

In summation: podcasting is based on “asynchronous bundles of passion, automatically delivered to your device of choice while you sleep.”

Update: For the record, here is the ipodder-dev message in which Dannie Gregoire coined the term “podcaster.”

5 Replies to “Definition of Podcasting”

  1. Thanks for the corrections.

    As for The Linux Show, I don’t know if they had RSS feeds for the audio in the past. As Jeff Gerhardt said at the close of yesterday’s show, they’ve had major issues with their colo, and lots of stuff isn’t being done right now, much less done right. I can say, however, that they certainly *want* to do podscasting as you define it. In fact, Jeff did say that this is exactly the kind of stuff they want to do. They want to participate in this conversation.

    Also, it’s a quibble, but I wasn’t trying to do a new “definition” of podcasting, just felicitously trying to make “pod” spell something. Like taking the “war” in “wardriving” and saying it means “wireless access reconnaissance.” I also think it’s important for the standards and practices of podcasting not to be limited to what one can do with an iPod alone. Apple has done the world an excellent service by creating a new category wth the iPod. But the category needs to be bigger than what one product and one vendor define, and more open, too.

  2. Doc, even though the word “pod” is in there, this has always been bigger than any given device. The guys working on the Windows version are making it sync to iTunes and WMP. The script I wrote, get_enclosures, wrote out .m3u playlists for ease of using it with WinAmp and XMMS and for people that burn the files to CD. The word podcasting is one I absolutely loved the first time because it has lots of resonances, is easy on the ears and communicates concisely what it is all about.

  3. Right on, Dave.

    I’m a new listener to the Gilmor Gang — since June 2004 — but the amount of errors it had last weekend leaves me debating whether to ever listen again.

    Doc’s article is disappointing and I’ll take a break from his blog for awhile because I prefer writers who do research. Google, HighBeam, iPodder, Yahoo! Groups, etc? It’s all out there, and most of it is free.

    Looking forward to your next podcast, Dave. Don’t worry about how many you create each week. Hope you have more time for other things.

    Take care,

  4. Dannie may have used the word Podcaster in his post, but as far as I know it was Ben Hemmersley that first used the term Podcasting in Feb 2004 (here).

    I’d love to know if that’s incorrect, and it was used before that.

    Rich

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