Podcastia: Imagining Communities of Pod-People

Podcastia: Imagining Communities of Pod-People

Jonathan Cohn (UCLA, USA)
Copyright: © 2008 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-863-5.ch048
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Abstract

While podcasting has become a valuable advertising tool for many companies, it has also become a major way in which geographically spread out communities have been able to stay connected. Podcasts, like many other new Internet genres, are thought to be listened to mainly by an affluent audience who create podcast themselves. By looking at the various institutional and production issues and audiences of the podcast medium, this chapter will show how this genre works to create and sustain mass communities of “prosumers” and mobile audiences. Also, this chapter will historically contextualize the podcast by showing ways in which it is not simply a reiteration of earlier technologies, but also a distinct new medium with a unique, prosumer-friendly mode of transmission and reception.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Internet Radio: Audio that is streamed and listened to via the Internet. Unlike Podcasting, Internet radio is not saved to a user’s computer and can therefore not be listened to on an mp3 player or away from the computer itself.

Podcatcher: Software on a user’s computer that manages podcasts. One can search for and download podcasts using a podcatcher. This program will then continually check online to see if any new files have been added to a subscribed podcast. If they have, then the Podcatcher will download them. The most common Podcatcher software is Apple’s iTunes Music Store.

Podcast: A digital recording of audio, video, text or other media that is distributed by subscription over the Internet.

Podcast: A digital recording of audio, video, text or other media that is distributed by subscription over the Internet.

Digital Audio Player: Also commonly known as an MP3 player. These are often small hand-held devices, which minimally contain memory storage, a battery, and audio output. Most, if not all, are able to play compressed MP3 music files, though MP3 is just one of many types of digitally encoded audio files. The most popular of these are iPods. While iPods have lent their name to “podcasts,” any type of digital audio player can play podcasts. Many cars and home entertainment systems now also play digital audio files.

Digital Audio Player: Also commonly known as an MP3 player. These are often small hand-held devices, which minimally contain memory storage, a battery, and audio output. Most, if not all, are able to play compressed MP3 music files, though MP3 is just one of many types of digitally encoded audio files. The most popular of these are iPods. While iPods have lent their name to “podcasts,” any type of digital audio player can play podcasts. Many cars and home entertainment systems now also play digital audio files.

Prosumer: Usually thought of as an amateur producer, or someone who normally consumes media, but occasionally also produces it. This segment of the population has paradoxically been thought of as a lucrative market segment that in many ways has a great amount of independence from the mainstream economy.

RSS: Stands for Really Simple Syndication. This is a simple piece of XML code that allows online media to be easily and frequently updated and added to. A Podcast is a type of RSS feed.

Internet Radio: Audio that is streamed and listened to via the Internet. Unlike Podcasting, Internet radio is not saved to a user’s computer and can therefore not be listened to on an mp3 player or away from the computer itself.

Autocasting: The use of software to automatically create audio podcasts out of text on a blog or other Web site.

Autocasting: The use of software to automatically create audio podcasts out of text on a blog or other Web site.

MP3: Also known as MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3. This is a popular compressed digital audio format. Most podcasts are compressed as MP3s. While the sound quality of MP3s is not as good as an uncompressed audio file, most people find it to be adequate for their needs.

Prosumer: Usually thought of as an amateur producer, or someone who normally consumes media, but occasionally also produces it. This segment of the population has paradoxically been thought of as a lucrative market segment that in many ways has a great amount of independence from the mainstream economy.

Podcatcher: Software on a user’s computer that manages podcasts. One can search for and download podcasts using a podcatcher. This program will then continually check online to see if any new files have been added to a subscribed podcast. If they have, then the Podcatcher will download them. The most common Podcatcher software is Apple’s iTunes Music Store.

Blog: A shortening of Web Log. It is a diary, or log-like Web site. New entries are displayed at the top of the Web site and older ones get pushed down. Podcasts are often formally attached to blogs.

Gatekeeping: The process of filtering and editing information for a consumer. This is done through the editing of information within a piece of media, or through the decision of which media will be advertised and made more easily available to the public.

Blog: A shortening of Web Log. It is a diary, or log-like Web site. New entries are displayed at the top of the Web site and older ones get pushed down. Podcasts are often formally attached to blogs.

RSS: Stands for Really Simple Syndication. This is a simple piece of XML code that allows online media to be easily and frequently updated and added to. A Podcast is a type of RSS feed.

Gatekeeping: The process of filtering and editing information for a consumer. This is done through the editing of information within a piece of media, or through the decision of which media will be advertised and made more easily available to the public.

MP3: Also known as MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3. This is a popular compressed digital audio format. Most podcasts are compressed as MP3s. While the sound quality of MP3s is not as good as an uncompressed audio file, most people find it to be adequate for their needs.

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