Thursday, July 14

Is video blogging podcasting?

Wow, Robert Scoble wrote an excellent, if not extremely abbreviated article on Web Pro News that brings to head a topic which I have strong feelings about. It's about wether or not video blogging can be considered podcasting. With the launch of the latest iTunes which supports video blogs (albeit in a VERY clumsy way) it is a very hot topic.

For the sake of expediency I'm going to quote heavily from Scoble here and make my point, but if you've got the time I do suggest reading the
original article and from there following the conversation thread between Mike Hall and Rob.

From: Scobleizer: Microsoft Geek Blogger

"Mike Hall and I are having an argument in the halls here. I believe that podcasting is a term that should only refer to technologies that deliver MP3 files via RSS feeds.

He, on the other hand, believes that podcasting can refer to any file delivered via an RSS feed.

I suggested that we use these terms:

podcasting=MP3 delivered via RSS.

screencasting=screen videos delivered via RSS (format could be Camtasia, WMV, Flash)

videocasting or videoblogging or or vlogging or vblogging=videos delivered via RSS (format could be Quicktime, Windows Media Format, Real, MP4, Flash video, etc).

Do we need other terms?

Oh, and what happens when Steve Jobs releases a video iPod?

What do you think?"

It would seem that Robert Scoble has for the time being come around to Mile Hall's thinking.

Web Pro News

"....if you followed the argument with Mike Hall and me you'll see that I lost the argument and so now I'm calling any kind of audio or video file delivered over RSS a 'podcast.'

Why? Cause podcasting in my mind is 'Personal On Demand Casting' "

So, I'm not known for being without opinion and I have very strong opinions on this debate which has been raging at least since January on the Yahoo Video Blogging Group.

  1. Podcasting is a GREAT term, people GET IT!

    It perfectly sums up the PORTABLE, on demand, anytime, anywhere ideologies that are unique to this new medium. There's no better term I've ever heard or seen to define the "portability" of this new medium.

    It's portable. You put it on a "pod" and you can take it with you whereveryou go and listen to it whenever. Portable pods. Pods are portable. This medium is portable. The term works.

    Despite any aesthetic considerations people get the "pod" concept. It's the same concept as the that of the "portable music player" of the last generation, but now we have a snazzier name than "portable player" and now some pods are starting to do more than just play music, they're playing videos and showing photos. What could be more awesome than portable broadcast media. It perfectly illustrates the difference between new media and the old media cartel which is trying like hell to make portable media "un-portable" with their DRM and their broadcast flags. We now have terms like "pod safe" music that illustrate, "heh, this is free to put on your podcast" or "This is free to broadcast", and that my friends rocks. Podcasting is doing what Creative Commons alone can not.

    Podcasting is (through expressions such as "pod safe") putting the intentions of law and the language of law back in the peoples hands. Maybe now the media cartel will finally start to get the idea behind open access media and the creative commons. It's about accessibility to the media. The people are taking the media back and in doing so we're going to need a whole lot of new language to define things that were previously off limits to us. Personal freedom, freedom of language, freedom of speech, and freedom of media all go hand in hand.

  2. Podcasting is NOT iPod specific

    Despite apple's genius marketing they did not invent the idea of the "pod"! It has been used to describe everything from architecture to personal transportation, to personal space for a very long time.

    Just because Apple put an lowercase "i" on the front does not mean they own the damn term. I'm sick of this "media darling" mentality in which people and the press credit Apple with re-inventing the wheel every time they come out with a new product. If Steve Jobs weren't so damn charming and didn't have his own uncanny reality distortion field we'd all see his claims for what they are. Instead we see this time and again every time they come out with a "new" product even though the products are often just an improvement on others technology. (Albeit sometimes substantial improvements.) Apple has invented only a handful of things. I keep waiting for Apple to introduce a multi-button mouse. The headlines will read "Apple re-invents the mouse!". And they will, just wait and see.

    If people don't get the difference between "podcasting" and the "iPod" then they soon will. And screw Steve Jobs or any press for perpetuating the idea that he invented podcasting. Steve Jobs hasn't invented anything in his life including the personal computer. He took a business computer and made it a personal computer and in so doing revolutionized computing, and I love the man and what he's done through Apple. I'm an avid fan, but that is not invention and neither did he invent the "pod". I hate to break it to you but it's fancy hocus pocus marketing people!

    People tend to make the same mistake when talking about revolution and evolution. There is a difference between owning and inventing an idea and building on ideas from the past. Re-mixing ideas is the very cornerstone of our culture. A premise that's at the very core of the copy fight. Though Disney owns and viciously protects the copyrights and trademarks for Mickey Mouse, he is a DIRECT descendent of characters that came before him, right down to the red button pants. If you don't believe me there was a "History Detectives" show on PBS with a segment pertaining just to this fact. (Update: ref 1, transcript (302_mousetoy.pdf), referring page)

    Anyway, this is all to say that the world is to small to start granting ownership to companies over three letter words. Apple does not own the three letter word POD, they merely borrowed and built upon it to create a brand. With a single damn lower case "i" no less! Back in the 80's they came out with "iWorld". If it would have been successful would the World Wide Web be considered an Apple thing! I think not! Then why are we still all living in Apple's iWorld!? Stop it! Just Stop!

  3. Podcasting is NOT a media specific term.

    I completely agree with Mike Hall. Any media type can be podcast. Podcasting contains nothing to indicate its specific to audio only. It's simply broadcasting with the intended playback mechanism being a POD-like device or a PORTABLE device. As such podcasting can be considered audio, video, images or any broadcast-able media.

    As for video there really aren't many pod-like devices that handle video, hence I think the real reason why people hesitate to call video blogs "video podcasts".

    I do expect that in the near future portable devices that play video will become as ubiquitous as portable audio devices. As we near that future I think we'll start referring to podcasts as "audio podcasts" or 'video podcasts". That's just my speculation on how it will evolve, but I'd bet money on it.

    As for text and images and what not. I see no point in specifying that they are "podcastable" because in fact they've always been portable, except for the lame attempt to make them "un-portable" with ebooks. (Once again large companies have come in with an "un-solution".)

    Portability and accessibility are not bugs, they are great and fundamental features of the internet. It's not that they SHOULD be embraced. It's that in embracing them we have so much to gain. Podcasting and other open access media are proving this and it's all thanks to open source computing which lead the way.

  4. Podcast is NOT an acronym!

    Perhaps it's the abusive use of acronyms in our culture, but "pod" already has a definition. I very much respect Robert Scoble, but why must people always try to reverse engineer real words into acronyms.

    Pod wasn't an acronym when the term podcasting was coined and telling people it's an acronym will not help the general public "get it". Tell people podcasts are "portable on-demand media". Tell people podcasts are "anytime / anywhere media". Just don't tell people that podcast is an acronym that stands for "Personal On Demand Casting" because not only is it complete whoey made up after the fact but it in no way helps people "get it". I love Robert Scoble but I'd love to see the look on people's faces that have never heard of podcasting when he tells them its an acronym meaning "Portable On Demand Casting".

    Come to think of it as I search my mind for what exactly that means I realize I already have one of those things. I like to use it when I go fishing. I call it a fishing rod. Forgive me Rob, I couldn't resist. ;)

Well, those are my points. I agree with Rob and Mike about most everything else.

Call videos podcasts, "video casting" if you like since most people don't watch them on portable devices.

I like the term "screen cast". It's a great term for defining a very specific thing. Don't ask me to explain it to anyone though, I don't know how.

In the future I think "audio podcasting", "video podcasting", and even "image podcasting" will become more and more common in the english language as people seek to both define that these types of media are similar in that they're "portable and on-demand", and that they're still uniquely different experiences. In fact I expect to see odd references to "PDF podcasts" and "document podcasts", and I don't see any problem with it. I personally think "Flash Podcasts" will one day be a hot thing. After all Flash artists are making some of the most creative media I know of.

Perhaps in the future we'll have "video moblogging podcasts." :)

And thanks to Scoble and Mike Hall for really talking about a tough issue. I talk harsh but it's a tough issue.

Your flames, trolls and especially positive comments, if you have any, are welcome.


Chris Ritke said...

Right on!

Anonymous said...

Just as Sony invented the Walkman Apple has
reinvented the iPod. The 'pod' in ipod could be a description of a case, capsule or sheath although
it could be from the root of "podia" meaning feet
as in podiatrist, therefore ipod means iwalk.

Michael Meiser said...

Heh, that's a pretty cool detail. I never thought of Pod as being a derivative of "podia". I like that. So the Walkman and the iPod have more in common than we thought.

BTW, thanks for the encouragment Chris.

Markus Sandy said...

What's this "on demand" marketing BS?

Just about EVERY OTHER time I "demand" a podcast or video, I get a message (usually from saying that the media is not available.

More hype from the people who try to convince us that cel phones work reliably in the US.

Ha! It's almost funny.

Personal media publishing is still at the equivalent point that web sites were around 1997.

By the time the media blogging equavlent of 2005 comes around, most of these terms (and debates) will be forgotten.

And hopefully the technologies will have improved at least as little as web pages have over the past eight years. :p