You should be warned that this entry will probably be more incoherent and wandering than the stuff usually posted here.
We’ve been discussing various pieces of the read/write web over the past couple of weeks and it’s triggered a lot of thinking about the way people understand (or misunderstand) those pieces.
One thing I’ve discovered is that, despite (or maybe because of) a huge amount of hype, many people, even tech savvy ones, don’t understand podcasts.
Beyond the obvious misconception that an iPod is required, many seem to assume that any old audio file found on the web qualifies for the term.
In trying to make the explanation as simple as possible, I boiled the traits down to a few bullet points (people seem to like bullet points).
Podcasts are audio files that:
- are portable
- are posted on a regular schedule (or an irregularly regular schedule according one podcaster I listened to this weekend)
- comes with an RSS feed
Feel free to quibble with that if you like.
Actually, after showing Ask A Ninja’s explanation of What is Podcasting? three or four times over the past couple of weeks, I’ve decided they have a pretty good analogy.
The Ninja says an audio file is like an apple pie that a whale swimming around the net comes across and enjoys. A podcast is like an apple pie factory that puts out pies over and over (yee-ah, yee-ah).
That last paragraph makes a whole lot more sense after you watch it.
Another discovery was that librarians are looking for new ways to find information.
Now that’s probably not news, but the realization slapped me in the head about halfway through an introduction to blogs I did for our high school librarians.
Since I was only given an hour, I didn’t plan to do much more than mention RSS. However, it didn’t take much more than that for the questions to get us wandering off topic into RSS badges, Bloglines, aggregators and more.
I certainly didn’t mind. I think almost everyone left with something they could use. However, an hour wasn’t enough to do it all, so I hope I’ll be able to do a follow up.
It’s also interesting doing a sessions like this in different schools. This particular one has blocked all blogspot sites and iTunes, ironically enough, killing some of my best examples by teachers.
Finally, from various random conversations, I suspect a lot of people running things for our overly-large school district see blogs, wikis and podcasts as one thing. Or at least minor variations on the same concept.
Since Will’s book is on quite a few desks around here, maybe I could blame him. :-) But it’s not his fault that most of the recipients haven’t read more than the cover.
No, the problem is larger than that. We just need to do a better job of helping people distinguish between all of this stuff. Not a small challenge to say the least.
That’s enough rambling thoughts for tonight.