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Podcasting PSA

This is an important message for comics bloggers who think they’re doing podcasting. You know who you are.

Read “Podcasting” from Wikipedia. Pay especial attention to the first two paragraphs:

Podcasting is a method of publishing sound files to the Internet, allowing users to subscribe to a feed and receive new audio files automatically. Podcasting is distinct from other types of audio content delivery because it uses the RSS 2.0 file format. This technique has enabled many producers to create self-published, syndicated radio shows.

Users subscribe to podcasts using “podcatching” software (also called “aggregator” software) which periodically checks for and downloads new content

Here’s how it works: You, the podcaster, have a web site with some audio files (like MP3s) and an RSS 2.0 feed that attaches those audio files to it using an RSS feature called “enclosures.” If this is too advanced for you, just think of the RSS feed as a list of audio files that a computer program can read, because that’s pretty much what it is. Somebody who wants to listen to your podcasts subscribes to your podcast feed with “podcatching” software, like iPodder. iPodder checks the feed occasionally and downloads new files it finds on the list. You might wonder this publishing method is called podcasting: it’s named after the iPod, which you can use to listen to the files. You can also, of course, use another kind of digital-audio player or even listen to the files on your computer.

Here’s the important part: If you upload MP3s to your web site and link directly to them on your blog, you are not podcasting. (Unless you use WordPress, which is so clever that it automatically turns your RSS 2.0 feed into a podcast when you link to an audio file in a post.)

Inform yourself! Learn what podcasting is before you hop on the bandwagon—unless you want people to think you’re ignorant and misinformed.


  1. Steve Pheley says:

    Heh. Thanks for posting this — I’ve noticed this tendency too (not just in the comics blogosphere), and it’s one of my pet peeves.

    — 6 June 2005 at 2:51 pm (Permalink)

  2. Rose says:

    Can we perhaps infer from this that comics bloggers named Steve are sort of dorky? Or am I stretching that definition too far?

    — 6 June 2005 at 3:25 pm (Permalink)

  3. Steven says:

    Bah! We can infer that bloggers named Steve are intelligent and well-informed.

    And you brought the comics bloggers in question to my attention in the first place, so who’s dorky now, eh?

    — 6 June 2005 at 3:29 pm (Permalink)

  4. Ed Cunard says:

    I think the only rational answer is “both of you.”

    And me too, if only because I got mad at myself for not knowing the actual definition of podcasting as you’ve put forth.

    — 6 June 2005 at 9:28 pm (Permalink)

  5. Sean says:

    Was it really necessary to get that nasty about it, though?

    — 7 June 2005 at 2:38 pm (Permalink)

  6. Steven says:

    No, and I don’t think my post was terribly nasty. Strongly worded, even harsh, yes. But nasty? I didn’t say people who claim to do podcasting without educating themselves about it are stupid; I said they’re ignorant and misinformed, which they clearly are. Why beat around the bush?

    — 7 June 2005 at 2:42 pm (Permalink)

  7. Steven says:

    And not even all that harsh, really.

    — 7 June 2005 at 2:46 pm (Permalink)

  8. jamesmith3 says:

    By having people think I’m ignorant and misinformed, I lower their defenses, thereby enabling me to sneak up and eliminate them before completion of my mission.

    Everything I need to know I learned from playing SOCOM 2.

    — 8 June 2005 at 2:14 pm (Permalink)

  9. Jim Henley says:

    Why beat around the bush?

    Because it’s not that big a deal?

    — 17 June 2005 at 7:29 pm (Permalink)

  10. Steven says:

    OK, so I did come across as sort of angry. I think it is sort of, if not a big deal, important for people to know know what they’re talking about. Then again, I’m just a crank who likes to vent at ignorant people who think they’re tech-savvy. In retrospect, I don’t truthfully care if I offended anybody.

    — 17 June 2005 at 8:58 pm (Permalink)