Dave Winer launches into The debate about the worth of podcasting with a wonderful observation:
My phone doesn't have a business model. Neither does my porch. I still like having a phone and a porch because they help me meet new people and communicate with people I know. Same with my blog and podcast.
He reminds me of a speech I heard Lawrence Lessig give at AEJMC (very similar to this one)... Lessig was quoting none other than John Philip Sousa about hearing people sing songs on the porch in the evening. He expressed some apprehension that newfangled media technology, an "infernal machine" called the phonograph, would end that traditional melodic community conversation.
Podcasting, which literally started with Winer's Web wizardry, lets people sing to each other again... even when they can't afford a house with a porch in a musical neighborhood. (Podcasting also lets NPR and PRI radio fans do the time-shifting that video recorders have made possible for years... Old-time-radio fans have made that time-shifting a real time machine to the mid-20th-century days of professional radio entertainment.)
Even better, YouTube's shared videos are letting people show off some guitar licks, sing and dance for each other! It's all Web-as-a-porch!
Right now, I just wish the sun would come out so that I could sit on my porch and play with the sunshine-reflective screen of my little green laptop,
even though it's not set up for podcasts or YouTube. While the OLPC does play music, the
singing-to-each-other about it is going on in wikis and bulletin boards
and blogs. (Oh my.)
Back to Dave at Scripting News, here's another nice definition to discuss in my journalism classes, which resume Tuesday (so much for sitting in the sun):
"A blogger is person who has an idea, expertise or opinion who wants to convey that to other people. The unedited voice of a person. What makes a blogger interesting is that they do something other than writing a blog....
"Professional writers and broadcasters probably have a place... But let's be clear blogging and podcasting exist independent of a professional's ability to eek out a living using the tools of blogging and podcasting."
Oops. Bloggers also don't have the luxury of someone else copyediting their spelling. But I'd say eek myself at the thought of making a living with a blog or podcast. And I've often been a candidate for a pullet surprise, even with an editor or two trying to save me.