Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Are podcasts conversations or not?

In this recent post [Link] Garywiz asked the question, "Are Podcasts About Conversations?" (He also cited a disagreement I had with the university over one of my podcasts, but that is a different story.) My answer to the question is, mostly I think so, but it really is too soon to tell. From a cluetrain perspective, I think they generally are. If I podcast a conversation I am having in the present time, or if I do a monologue to the blogopodosphere, I think it is a conversation. If I blog/podcast to the world and others blog/podcast back, especially then yes, I think that is a conversation. But, being the old train buff that I am, what if I do an RSS 2.0 feed of old steam engine sound recordings. Is that a podcast? Yes... Is that a conversation? I think no.

I have started a podcast of old recordings of people talking in my family [Link], remixed from old video and audio tapes from years gone by, way before there was an Internet audience. This is speech, put on an RSS feed, but does that make it a conversation, or is this Podcast just an audio family snapshot?

It reminds me of a blog posting I read about somebody's "ten rules of podcasting." This person liked to do high production values, so this person's rules emphasized recording, editing and mixing. Maybe that was his ten rules, but not mine. The point of all this is that this is nascent emerging technology. Trying to define what it is now, based on our current frame of perception, could have the unintended effect of limiting what it could be. I say relax, podcast, play and let the medium define itself.

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