Casual content creation

posted by Jason Kottke Oct 19, 2005

Over on the Odeo blog, Ev talks about a potentially different type of podcasting, casual content creation:

But, personally, I'm much more of a casual content creator, especially in this realm. The other night, I sent a two-minute podcast to my girlfriend, who was out of town, and got a seven-second "podcast" back that I now keep on my iPod just because it makes me smile. I sent an "audio memo" to my team a while back for something that was much easier to say than type, and I think they actually listened.

A blogging analogue would be Instapundit or Boing Boing (published, broadcast) versus a private LiveJournal[1] (shared, narrowcast). It's like making a phone call without the expectation of synchronous communication...it's all voicemail. I thought about doing this the other day when I needed to respond to an email with a lengthy reply. In that particular instance, I ended up sending an email instead because it was the type of thing that might have been forwarded to someone else for comment and returned, etc. But I can see myself using audio like this in the future.

[1] Integrated podcasting tools within LiveJournal would be huge, methinks.

Reader comments

Ara PehlivanianOct 19, 2005 at 11:12PM

It sounds to me like he sent his girlfriend an MP3 of himself and received much the same. Doesn't sound like a "podcast" at all.

(can you tell I'm not a fan of buzz words?)

Evan WilliamsOct 19, 2005 at 11:25PM

Good point, Ara. Yes, I did send my girlfriend and MP3 and vice-versa.

Is is "podcasting" if it's linked in RSS (it was)? Is it podcasting if it's on my iPod? Is it podcasting in the other case when it went to more than one person? Hard to say. Just like blogging, there will be debates as to what podcasting is as soon as the form starts morphing and meaning more than one thing.

Don't call it podcasting if you don't want to, but "podcasting" seems to be how spoken-word audio files transferred through the Internet is now understood.

jorgeOct 19, 2005 at 11:45PM

Agree with Ev. I can see this type of communication become more and more common... wheather it's voice over IP (recorded or not) and stored in some type of medium like an ipod or web page. the buzz word is a moot point.

GregOct 19, 2005 at 11:56PM

Ryan came to a similar conclusion yesterday and believes this type of podcast will be very popular with the 15-20, Livejournal/MySpace crowd.

MattOct 20, 2005 at 12:01AM

You can do audio posts to LJ. Remember that one LJ that had a couple people in SF getting mugged during their phone-in recording to their journal? It was like a year ago, and probably on boingboing.

msippeyOct 20, 2005 at 12:02AM

LiveJournal supports voice posting for paid members; call a phone number, post your audio to your LJ, mark it public, private, etc. Your friends or readers can transcribe it, and it automatically creates an RSS 2.0 "podcast" feed.


Here endeth the promo.

ThanOct 20, 2005 at 12:02AM

I was going to ask where this might replace the standard cell phone voicemail... But maybe in a land where cell phone/pda devices merge more seemlessly... T(alk)-mail perhaps?

msippeyOct 20, 2005 at 12:03AM

Damn! Beat by The Haughey(tm).

Ara PehlivanianOct 20, 2005 at 12:08AM

Ev. I suppose you're right, which is all the more reason I dislike buzz words. They impose limited meaning on something that has the potential of being so much more. Podcasting for example is a compound word of pod (iPod) and casting (broadcasting) which implies the broadcasting of audio for download to an ipod for later listening. Which is not at all the case in most podcasting scenarios. Hence my dislike for buzz words. Why can't we just call it "downloading mp3s?"

jim winsteadOct 20, 2005 at 12:50AM

why not just downloading audio files?

why not just downloading files?

why not just transferring files?

why not just transferring data?

why not just transferring bits?

i think ev's usage of podcasting may be better than just "downloading mp3s" because it communicates more about the flow that the audio took -- presumably something rss-enclosure-based -- and the tools used to manage that.

buzzwords may be imperfect, but sometimes they really do convey information.

DrewOct 20, 2005 at 1:31AM

-= ignoring off-topic grumpy word nerd tangent =-

Casual microcontent is just the thing we need. Podcasting is still at the big portals and clunky personal home pages stage right now. There are some fantastic shows, but it's all about time-shifting and niche content, not a media revolution like blogging. There's no lazy way yet to share, tag and aggregate the best bits. That probably won't happen until someone like Ev creates a way to make podcasts that's as easy and casual as blogger with features like flickr. I'm looking forward to it, please wake me when it's ready.

RachelOct 20, 2005 at 1:48AM

Not to be nitpicky here, but do you mean "causal" or "casual" in the first sentence of this entry? (The quote says "casual," but "causal" could make sense too, I think.)

DrewOct 20, 2005 at 3:19AM

Funny blunder on my part. It's supposed to be "casual". The vast majority of blog content is certainly casual and not causal. Would the web be better the other way around?

AnilOct 20, 2005 at 3:19AM

Why not just record everything by default and then choose where/whom you want to route it to? Seems easier than having to know ahead of time when you might want to be using time-shifted audio to communicate.

Also, I can't wait to share the magic of voice mail with my loved ones.

RachelOct 20, 2005 at 3:32AM

Drew - I wasn't referring to you, don't worry. (You've been spared the wrath of my professional red pen - though I'd probably put a semicolon in your last sentence, sted a comma.) The typo is in the original entry, in the link to the Odeo blog.

RolandOct 20, 2005 at 5:10AM

I hate the word "podcasting" too, but then I hated the word "blog" just as much 4 years ago when I started *cough* blogging, and I use that word all the time now :(

DanielOct 20, 2005 at 8:17AM

I'm so glad that you wrote an email instead of "podcasting" a voicemail. I for one prefer to read important information. I, and I'm not the only one, find it much easier to assimilate information from the written word.

There's nothing I hate more than getting a four minute long rambling voicemail from one of our resident bloviators (sp?).

jkottkeOct 20, 2005 at 9:14AM

Not to be nitpicky here, but do you mean "causal" or "casual" in the first sentence of this entry?

I meant "casual"...thanks for catching that.

Why not just record everything by default and then choose where/whom you want to route it to?

Because I'm not generally in the habit of speaking aloud to people who are not in the room with me? Just like my daily writing output wouldn't be effective in capturing what I needed to respond to a particular email with. Also, self-link.

ssflandersOct 20, 2005 at 9:20AM

Until audio files are seamlessly convertible to text, I'll be biased toward a medium that allows me to easily archive, search, apply styles to, edit/reuse (I was going to say remix, but poor choice of metaphor) and metatag the content I create. Also, I believe most people communicate more clearly, and in a more considered manner, when they write vs. when they speak.

But on the other hand I do like consuming content while driving (I'm on the road three hrs./day) so there's that.

Gus AbramsOct 20, 2005 at 10:25AM

Anil says 'Why not just record everything by default and then choose where/whom you want to route it to?' because this would be dreadfully banal, unless you some kind of genius and have the verbal dexterity of a after dinner speaker most of what we say is not of interest to be sent on whether its by podcast, mp3, voice message.

The content of this debate is a great example of why this is a teriible idea. Sorry.

Ara PehlivanianOct 20, 2005 at 10:52AM

jim winstead: I'm just not a huge fan of buzz words that are extremely limited in their scope yet are used to describe vastly broad things. Like saying "podcasting" when talking about mp3 sharing, or AJAX when talking about JavaScript with server side calls, etc, etc, etc.

val ann cOct 20, 2005 at 11:54AM

Yes, the "casual podcast" is like a voicemail. But it's a voicemail that I can easily keep a copy of. This is great for CYA purposes on the job. My employer doesn't provide a way for me to archive the important voicemails I leave to co-workers, clients, etc. Now I can do that.

AkaXakAOct 20, 2005 at 12:32PM

Breaking news: People use their voice to communicate with each other!

Is this the end of Web 1.9 as we know it?

doovieOct 20, 2005 at 3:14PM

Not to fuel the "grumpy word nerd" fire, but I believe that an Mp3 or other audio/video file becomes a "podcast" when it is available for subscription. If I merely send an Mp3 to a friend, its just an Mp3, not a podcast. As Ev says, I think that as podcasting evolves, there will be different genres; from personal, casual podcasts, to more serious, broadcast-type podcasts.

Scott JohnsonOct 20, 2005 at 5:06PM

I like Anil's idea. Here's my take on it: Record everything. Then, cut it up into chunks, and tag everything. Attach feeds to the tags. Make certain feeds private. That would be really cool.

danaOct 20, 2005 at 5:30PM

podcasting is so 'first half of 2005'. the kids have moved on.

ArtemOct 20, 2005 at 6:09PM

I agree with doovie an mp3 is not a podcast. Sending an mp3 file is very diffrent from a podcast. A podcast is made a podcast by the fact that it is tied to an RSS feed. If you want podcast-style blog entries, then check out www.bloggger.com. Blogger has a call in service where you can post audio files straight to your blog with them hosting it for free.

ChaunceyOct 20, 2005 at 7:13PM

Too bad some people will simply not even leave a proper message or voice mail. Sure they may want or expect something more conversationally interactive, but give them something to chew on, in case they can only get back to you later. Does any one really mind getting a message that states the PURPOSE of the call?

MarkOct 21, 2005 at 1:06AM

Gus Abrams: unless you some kind of genius and have the verbal dexterity of a after dinner speaker most of what we say is not of interest to be sent on whether its by podcast, mp3, voice message.

... Or in written form, so this would be different from most of the Web how exactly? Instead of the rampant typos, lower-case everything and other godawful use of the written word we have now, we'd substitute bloggers with voices made for print, lousy sound quality and an "um" every five seconds. The assault on the language would continue, but at the very least, more audio files = less apostrophe abuse. That'd be progress.

We have photoblogs and written blogs. Why not spoken ones too?

John Maxwell HobbsOct 21, 2005 at 7:02AM

Ev said - "Don't call it podcasting if you don't want to, but "podcasting" seems to be how spoken-word audio files transferred through the Internet is now understood."

I deliver music only audio files via RSS from a Movable Type installation. There's a new one every day. It was one of the first feeds listed in iTunes. Because it's not spoken-word does that mean it's not a podcast?

Pete ProdoehlOct 21, 2005 at 3:52PM

Woah, I swear for a minute I had to check the calendar, as I thought I traveled back in time to October of 2004...

Don't worry folks, in a year's time we can have this same discussion about videoblogs, just like we had it about RSS and weblogs 5 years ago. ;)

Jim StepanekOct 21, 2005 at 5:06PM

Doesn't it come down to delivery and receipt? And hence vice versa? As written its locked as the word, spoken is broken and finally video...well video becomes "Hollywood". That's not to say that any carry over couldn't be over done anyway.

Jarrod PriestOct 23, 2005 at 11:02AM

Why is it that most of the commentary in the blogosphere is in fact, about commentary in the blogosphere. Doesn't this self replicating behavior kind of bog the whole machine down?

Much like sports, Kottke, you are part of the machine. Advance it. Let someone else write about it.

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.