Is Podcasting New or Ancient History?

In Podcasting: Mechanist View vs Humanist View, Dave Slusher makes an excellent point. He talks about the people who have been saying, for some time now, that Podcasting is hardly new or different, that people have been putting audio on the web for ages. But I agree with Dave that they are entirely missing the point. Sure the technology has existed for some time. What has not existed is the ease of use brought about by recent tools and the accompanying zeitgeist which has made this popular and interesting. Without either of those, you have audio files on the web that few people can access, hear, and even fewer can produce. You have, in short, nothing interesting or of value. Since last summer, you have tools which make it much easier to find and get the audio and you have the popularity for people to want to not only find and hear it but to also take the time to create their own. Say what you want about the underlying technology, we know it’s been around for years. What hasn’t is podcasting as a concept which makes this interesting.

I put audio on the web back in 2000 when my son was born. They are audio recordings of answering machine messages I left all day with my friend James giving him updates. Is that podcasting? Hardly. It was a pain to get them online (I had to manually build all the links after uploading the files) and few people knew to look for them or listen to them. That’s not podcasting. That’s uploading audio on the web. What we’re doing now is completely different. And far more interesting. Well, I think the answering machine messages are interesting, but for different reasons.

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