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Saturday, August 05, 2006

On Podcasting: Freedom

The folks over at Sweet Mother (http://www.sweetmother.org/) posted a Call for Submissions on the Podcasters Yahoo Group list the other day and it got me to thinking more about what podcasting is and is not. Here is a copy of my response.

To reinforce my initial answer, Sweet Mother looks like a very nice site with some great ideas. My email was meant to illuminate the differences between the concepts. Sweet Mother is a real-time, online video production system and broadcast where podcasting relies on time-shifted, pre-recorded material.

Original Email:

This is in no way a put-down of Sweet Mother or their system, but I think that a system like this is the antithesis of what podcasting is all about. In their Call for Submissions email, they had a variety of questions which triggered my thoughts.

> To host your own SMT-Cast(tm) on SMT TV(tm) you must:
> 1) Have a webcam and high-speed internet access

Ok, no problem there.

> 2) Submit an application to fam@sweetmother.org which answers the
> following questions:

One of the most wonderful things about podcasting is that you don't have to ask for anyone's permission to do your thing. Your show can be crass and crude, pious and proud or slow and surly, but no one had to approve anything you do. The only people you have to please is your audience and yourself.

> b) What has been your experience to date in presenting content
> online?

In podcasting anyone, with any level of experience, even if they have to get someone else to help them record the show, can still do it. Some of your first shows may be really, really bad, but there is also a chance that you will hit upon a gem of a thought, even at the very beginning.

> c) When would you like to start presenting? (Date and time)

Another great thing about podcasting is the time shift. I always describe podcasting as "WHAT you want, WHERE you want, WHEN you want it"

Today's world is a time-shifted world and I think requiring the audience to be anywhere at a particular time is limiting. Give yourself the freedom to do the show whenever and where you please and give the same freedom to your audience.

> e) How long will your intended program be?

Again, when you remove the real-time element, it doesn't matter how long a show may be. The audience can consume it in any way it wishes.

I have been doing a lot of thinking about podcasting recently in preparation for my first Intro to Podcasting class that I am teaching here in Los Angeles. Perhaps this is the reason this message caught my eye.

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