January 26, 2005

Podcasting and Mobcasting

At last week’s Blogging, Credibility and Journalism conference (attend by Lee and Amanda), one of the conference sessions was devoted to podcasting.

Podcasting is when an audio file is enclosed in an RSS feed and broadcast to users who have signed up to receive the feed. The recipients can then open up the audio file and either listen to it immediately or download it to their iPod or other mp3 player (thus the word pod-casting as a blend of “iPod” and “broadcasting”) for portable play at any time.

Most basic RSS feeds don’t support audio file enclosures. However, third parties like feedburner.com allow you to modify your feed so that audio files may be included.

Andy Carvin of the Digital Divide Network has recently posted a lengthy how-to document that describes how to “mobcast” or podcast using a mobile phone. Andy and others are particularly enthusiastic about this new technique. They see it as creating ways to help unwired people who lack internet access but have a cell phone participate in a national conversation. Through the RSS broadcast of podcasts via individual blogs or on group “mobcast” blogs (where news stories and first person testimonials are posted by a group of citizen journalists calling in stories on their mobile phones and where the stories can then also be podcast to the mobile phones of others), unwired people can hear and be heard using a device they often already own.