Friday, June 09, 2006

Podcast By Any Other Name

Is still a "Podcast" to 30% of the world right now. Kinda hard and too late to right that boat now.

Mark Ramsey, Hear 2.0 blogger and broadcast radio consultant posted this:

"Podcast is, when you think about it, an absolutely horrible name for the technology," writes Ramsey. "We don't watch a TVcast, we watch a TV show. We don't listen to a Radiocast, it's a radio show or a radio station. And much of podcast listening isn't even done on an mp3 player, let alone an iPod."

I do agree with some of Mark's thoughts on this, but I am not sure why we are trying to come up with a new name again when we already have good names to use: Webcast to describe audio being listened to from a website as a stream or progressive download stream. Today over 50% of podcasts are heard from a webpage and not through a portable media player.

Unless we are using the term podcast to define content and not a distribution process or platform then an mp3 listened to from a webpage is not a Podcast, but a Webcast.

It is true that many people confuse a Webcast as always a live stream, but it is a more generic term that describes any audio or video that is viewed or heard from a webpage or over the Internet.

You can hear Mark and I talking about Podcasting at ITConversations

In response to Mark's post, the folks at PodcastingNews.com recently made this post:

To which we say, "Audiomag?"

Ramsey may not be aware that plenty of smart people have tried to come up with better names than "podcasting":

Narrowcasting, which is like podcasting, except with a more targeted message;
iPodcasting, which is like podcasting for iPod elitists;
Nanocasting, which is like podcasting to a tiny audience for money;
Bodcasting, which is like podcasting, except with pictures of Playboy Bunnies instead of audio;
Zencasting, which is like podcasting, except that you're Creative and can't say "pod";
Tivocasting, which is like podcasting for TVs;
Audcasting, which rhymes with podcasting and means about the same thing;
Pudcasting, codcasting, sodcasting, scrodcasting and (we're starting to make these up now) spudcasting.


These are all silly attempts to rename Podcasting, but it is correct that many smart people wanted to change the podcast name very early in the development of it, but saw the wave and just got out of the way.

It is just too late to rebrand the word podcasting. I think Mobilcast has come the closest as it describes a unique off shoot of podcasting to the mobile phone.

Even Seth Godin jumped in on the discussion to post this comment to Mark's post:

Mark Ramsey is usually right. This time he's wrong, twice. "Podcasting" has a bad name.

Mark says "podcasting" is a bad name, and that something understandable, like "audiomag" would be better, because more people would know what it is.
I guess TV should have been called "pictureradio".


Not only is podcasting one of the great names of our generation, but it could have been even braver, not less brave. If you've going to invent a new product that is more than just an incremental improvement, then that new product requires a new slot in the mind, a new way of thinking. Giving it a name that permanently links it to old thinking doesn't help. "Sneakers" is better than "athletic shoe".


I agree with Seth in his thought that the name "Podcasting" is one of the great names of our generation as it has created a revolution around user level media creation. No other word besides "Blogging" can be held in the same regard. We all talk about leveling the media playing field. This is what Podcasting impact is really about.

Rob Greenlee
Get Melodeo Mobilcast Today and start getting your podcasts on your mobile phone.

1 comment:

  1. You're right, Rob -- we call facial tissues Kleenex, and (those of us over 40) call photocopies Xeroxes.

    Upper midwesterners call caffeinated colas Cokes.

    The terms aren't the prettiest or most accurate descriptors... but they're what we've all grown to call those items.

    Maybe it's time to stop whining that one doesn't like the name podcast (I really do prefer scrodcast, but that's just me), accept that this is what we call subscribe-able feeds with video or audio enclosures, and move on to more weighty, important matters.

    Like whether hemp is the new linen, whether hydrogen is better than electric for hybrid cars, and whether Nouvel Jolie-Pitt looks more like her mother or her father. (smile)

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