Monday, December 7, 2009

Thing #19 - Podcasts

One of the greatest buzzwords in the Web 2.0 world is podcast. But what is a podcast, really?

A podcast is downloadable audio programming that you can listen to on a variety of topics. They are created by your neighbor, your coworker or large media companies like ESPN, CBS and the New York Times. Best of all, the majority of podcasts are free.

When we said that anyone can create a podcast, we mean anyone. All you need is a microphone, a computer and some simple recording software to create a podcast. The number of podcasts grows daily and there are podcasts on virtually every subject. From sports to cooking to gardening to video games, you can probably find a podcast about anything you can imagine.

So how do you listen to a podcast?

The old way to get podcasts was to check the website of your favorite podcast frequently for updates. Once there was an announcement that a new podcast was available, you could then listen from the website or download it to your computer.

Web 2.0 makes listening to podcasts easier. Remember way back to the beginning of the challenge when we talked about RSS feeds? Podcasters now use RSS feeds to distribute their podcasts. People use programs called podcatchers to subscribe to their favorite podcasts. Once they subscribe to a podcast, the podcatcher will automatically download new podcasts for you.

There are a variety of podcatcher programs available. The most popular is Apple’s iTunes. Below is a video that shows how simple it is to maintain your podcast subscriptions with iTunes. Most other podcatchers work similarly.

Doesn’t that look easy?

Once you have downloaded a podcast, you can listen to it on your computer or transfer it to your portable media device, like your iPod, Zune or other mp3 player.

With newer portable media devices like the iPod and Zune having video features and home digital video editing equipment becoming easier and more affordable, some podcasters have stepped up their game and gotten into video podcasting. It works just like regular podcasting, but instead of producing audio they are making video programming, or vodcasting.

To Complete Thing #19, here's what you have to do:
1. Explore a podcasting site like or Odeo. (or iTunes if you have it at home)
2. Search for a podcast on a topic of your choice and listen to it.

3. Write a blog post about your experience. Did you like the podcast you found? Was listening to a podcast easier or harder than you expected?

1 comment:

  1. i bet my kids will love Odeo. Can't wait to go home and tell them about it.