What is Podcasting: An Intro for Dummies

As trends in technology advance, more and more types of media have become available. Traditional newspapers and magazines have opted to create online editions of their content in order to compete with online media, such as blogs and podcasts. Podcasts are a particularly popular type of online media, partially because just about anyone can make one. Free audio and video podcasts are available in every subject imaginable. Podcasting is relatively easy to do and does not require extensive computer knowledge.

Overview

In simple terms, podcasts are audio video files available for free download from the Internet. Podcasts can be compared to TV or radio programs, in the sense that they usually feature “episodes” on a regular basis revolving around a specific topic or theme. Most podcasts are in MP3, MP4, MPEG, AVI, MOV or MV4 file format. You can listen to or watch podcasts on an MP3 player or computer. Podcasts can range from two to three minutes to an hour or more in length.

Types of Podcasts

Podcasts exist for just about every topic imaginable ranging from talk programs and news to entertainment and how-to tutorials. Many popular website produce some form of podcast offering different content than what is available online. Podcasting has become so popular that many celebrities and government officials have their own podcasts, including the White House.

Subscribing to Podcasts

Due to the fact that the word “podcast” refers to Apple’s iPod MP3 player, the majority of podcasts can be found on Apple’s iTunes Store. However, a variety of podcast directories also list available video and audio podcasts in a range of subjects. To subscribe to a podcast in iTunes, copy the link for the RSS feed of the podcast and paste it into, “Subscribe to podcast,” which can be found under “Advanced” in the top menu bar. Other podcasting tools are available for subscribing to podcasts, but the majority of podcasts will redirect you to iTunes when you click, “Subscribe.”

Creating Podcasts

The easiest way to create a podcast is by using podcasting software with a webcam or microphone. Podcasting software generally lets you record and edit episodes. Both free and paid podcasting software applications are available for Mac and Windows. Optimizing podcasts to be found on the web is a little more complicated, but anyone can submit their podcast to podcast directories or Apple’s iTunes Store.