History Lesson: Podcasting 101
Let's do a quick history lesson. This is an old iPod, this is a shoe. The reason I bring up the shoe is because this is a history lesson, probably for half the audience and those watching are going to know a lot of what I'm saying, so there's about 900 people in here so that means we have approximately 1800 shoes, so if I get in the trenches and you want me to move along, just toss a shoe, not up here, just down here, but we can do that. So the pod in podcast, a lot of people debate this, but if you go back to the origin of like why's the podcast called the podcast, not getting into the trenches let's look at it realistically but what was the first mainstream device that allowed you to take a podcast in your pocket with you? It was an iPod, so let's understand the ecosystem that really drives podcasting today. It's a one of a kind medium and that is because of how podcasting is delivered. It's an open system, it allows an RSS feed, but that open nature does not allow it to necessarily ...
be easy to flow. I mean you just don't take a video and upload it to YouTube and then people go to YouTube and watch, there's a little bit more in the trenches technical work, which is something that we as a company are trying to solve. But it's a good thing and I'll show you why. So RSS, RSS everybody that's made a podcast in here, working on it, knows exactly what RSS is, or what it's called. RSS actually stood in the early 2000's or late nineties even rich site summary, for me when I got to use it in the early 2000 we called it really simple syndication. That was an easier want to think about it. An RSS which powers podcasting is a type of web feed, which allows devices, computers, phones, now smart speakers to access updates to online content in a computer readable format. So an example for me, the RSS standard added the ability for a media in closure tag, meaning RSS earlier on. Let's go back to 2003 and I was running a blog, and you were running a blog, and you were running a blog. There was no easy way to just how do I pull together all the things that I want to read without going to individual websites and reading. So that is where RSS began to grow very popular, you could subscribe to a blog's RSS feed and you would have a feed reader or a news aggregator on your computer, there was no smart phones at this time so it had to be on your computer. You could actually use that to get a notification that hey Jane over here has published a new blog post or Brad has published a new blog post. But there was no medium enclosure, meaning it was more of just a distribution of text content, there was no photos, no audio, nothing of that sort. Skip ahead to 2003, and that started to take hold, that medium enclosure allowed the birth of the very first RSS feed and it was called Radio Open Source one of the first podcasts still active today. And then at BloggerCon in 2003 there was a script to pass RSS into Apple iTunes and that is really the kindling that got the fire started, that inspired the launch of an app or script I should say called iPodder, which would immediately check RSS feeds and sync them to iTunes and then once they were synced to iTunes, you would manually subscribe to them and you would listen to them on your Mac or plug in a cable, sync from iTunes, over to this guy, throw it in your pocket and you've got podcasts on the go. So that really takes us up to 2005 when iTunes finally said you can add RSS feeds into iTunes, there was no directory, there was no way to discover them, you had to discover them in some other fashion across the internet and be like oh that's interesting I'm going to subscribe to that feed. And that happened and so on and 2008 came, 2010 came, small changes to RSS, but for the most part, here we go. 2018 and to this day, the open ecosystem of RSS, powers podcasting just like it did 15 years ago. No major changes, there's upsides to this and there's downsides to this. So the number one question and I'm going to use YouTube like this, but why can't we just YouTube this? Why can't we just have a platform that we just upload podcasts to and consume from? Think about it in the world of YouTube, meaning if you post a video on YouTube, how are people going to consume it on their phone, on their home television, on any other devices? They are going to have to have a YouTube app, podcasting is the exact opposite of that, so can't we YouTube podcasting? We can but we lose everything that is open and free about it meaning you can create an audio clip, you can create a podcast, put it into your RSS feed and that mp3 is available to anybody in the world with access to any device with an app that can read RSS feeds and I think there's something very beautiful about that and we're an industry that really is still relying on that while other forms of media have long since moved on. So the nature of RSS allows this medium to remain open, it allows freedom of publishing and ease of getting shows across the internet to billions of devices. But the downside is manually developing and maintaining an RSS feed is anything but simple. A lot of people still maintain their RSS feeds, most don't. And that's just a quick beat, nobody wants to deal with that.