A Human Movement
Thursday, May 05, 2005
I just posted this over at Blogdial, but I am going to repost it here since it really is more of AHM post. I am very interested in discussions and comparisons of podcasting to other radio technologies, and I posted it over at Blogdial to promote discussion. But I am plopping it here because it will keep 'A Human Movement' progressing properly and up to date with some of my current thoughts.
PS. Not a day goes by that I do not wish that I lived in the time of newsgroups and message boards rather then blogging and bloggers. I find that after about 1-2 hours of reading blogs in a row, I get sick of all the ugly colors, self-expression, repeated links, and the similar and yet slightly different layouts. I long for strate text, imposed hierarchical organization amongst the many and those beautiful headers to messages such as:

Subject: BPL and failure to respond to public requests for local documents
From: Don Saklad
Date: 1997/02/22
Newsgroups: soc.libraries.talk


Anyway, Here is the post, re-posted:

I had one of the original ipods in 2002 with the rotating front, I sold it in 2003 to a friend when the screen on my G3 Powerbook cracked and broke. I am seeing more mentioning of podcasts on internet surfs lately. At first, I ignored the word entirely because of its annoying nature, (I did not trust the aspect of the word which relied on 'one "brand" only' of portable music devices, but now come to think of it, I call all portable tape players Walkmans, so...) Perhaps I was wrong about these podcasts?

I just listened to my first podcast; it was about libraries, produced by a librarian at a librarian blog. It amounted to nothing more then an mp3 file of a guy talking as though he was on the radio. I am curious to find out if any blogdialians are listening to podcasts? Perhaps there are some gem feeds out there with interesting sounds? (or is it all radio wannabe bore, or worse just rehashed radio dribble?) What can a podcast do that a regular mp3 cannot?

It's also odd, because I began my day reading about the earliest uses of telephone technology including the work of Tivadar Puskas, a bloke who got conceptual with Thomas Edison and traveled to Europe to experiment with "central telephone exchange" leading to the development of telephone newspapers, such as Telephon Hirmondo in Budapest (which lasted from 1880-1930,) and also telephone concerts in 1880's Paris, where telephones were used to broadcast performances of the Parisian Opera on a system called the Theatrephon.

...I will spare you from my assertions of the non-advancement of man in the area of sound dissemination in the last 100 years, and also from a criticism of the capitalist marketplace which breeds in, and promotes a certain stagnation of ideas, but I still question: are podcasts, as the aggregation of time-shifted audio content through networked computers a good or bad thing?
I sent an email to someone I believed to be the author of this post, but since I'm not sure and you've chosen to also post it on this blog, I'll post my comments here as well.

Since I am the "radio wannabe bore" that you seem to be referring to in your post on BLOGDIAL, I thought I'd offer a few comments.

"What can a podcast do that a regular mp3 cannot?"
Podcasting is simply a form of distribution, not a description of format. I "produce" an Internet radio show that I make available via a podcast feed. Many people confuse this and/or blur the distinction. A so-called podcast IS a regular mp3, so expecting something more than an mp3 makes no sense. The podcast element is simply syndication via an RSS feed that's capable of handling enclosures. Nothing more, nothing less. That the possibility and relative ease of this syndication (particularly in conjunction with podcatching software such as iPodder) has lead to an increase in individuals creating content is really no different than a bunch of people starting blogs when it became apparent how easy it was to publish and distribute textual content. So there's a bunch of crappy blogs and there will be a bunch of crappy audio that's syndicated. No big deal there.

"the aggregation of time-shifted audio content" - This phrasing seems to suggest that you already grok the concept. Is it a good thing? For me, goodness yes. I would much prefer listening to all of the so-called "radio wannabe bores" that I've chosen myself, rather than hear Kelly Clarkson, Usher and Hooters ads for the umpteenth time. I have completely removed myself from the Clear Channel conglomerate, greatly preferring to listen to more grass-roots productions. But if
mainstream media catches the wave and syndicates their content (this has already started to happen), so much the better, as I like the idea that people could listen to the AT40 countdown whenever the hell they
felt like it.

There are many, many professionally-produced programs that are available via podcast. They are not "podcasts" in the pejorative sense that many people seem to associate with the "radio wannabe bores" such as myself. So it is one thing to criticize crappy shows such as mine (for which I completely understand your distaste). It is another to critique the notion of "time-shifted audio content." Your post on BLOGDIAL seems to blend the two into a single condemnation, which is deceptive.

From my own perspective, I am filling a niche. I don't think of myself as a podcaster. There are people who want to hear someone with audio content related to libraries. I provide it (in my limited spare time and at my own expense). I have no delusions of grandeur about my skills or the worthiness of my content. In fact, I have suggested a number of times that there are people better suited to the job. But your comments notwithstanding, the response has been generally positive and there are hundreds of downloads of each show.

Anyway, thanks for listening to the show.

Take care,
BTW, the use of an old Don Saklad post in your paean to newsgroups made me smile.
Greg, you have found the right person. "Radio wannabe bore" is NOT a judgement, it does not imply a negative... By 'radio wannabe bore' I meant to suggest a sort of archetype of man, broadcasting his ideas on select topics in a period of time to select interested parties through the use of recording & technology.

Now, there is no denying, I love being bored! I like NPR as much as the next guy, heck I like sports radio! (that is the ultimate in boredom, but I like it, especially in the late night hours) and I especially like it when talk radio achieves the level of drone/blur in the background, promoting a certain sense of ethereal boredom.

Further, I think a lot of radio is boring. It is one way communiation with little chance for user feedback and that is what I define as 'boring.'

When I wrote the terms in question "radio wannabe bore" I had just listened to some of the streams here:http://audio.weblogs.com/
and I am sorry, but I found some of them boring, not in a bad way, just in a "I'm not going to go back to that" sort of way.

Onto your podcast: (And for the record, I will return to your podcasts.!) I love the subject of libraries, and that is why I was drawn to your podcats. My choice to link to your streams (on Blogdial) is a vote of confidence in you! I think your podcasts are akin to hot electric guitar solos. You bring the information and you lay it out, god bless that. I think you are really digging into an area where there is much hope for saving our libraries and that is through the promotion of discussion about libraries.

I don't know what you want to know, but I will be here. TG
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