A logical outgrowth of Blogging is the Podcast. Podcasting is quickly becoming an important part of the Blogosphere, as more and more people get connected to MP3 players. With podcast, vodcast and Skypecast people are posting their conversations, interviews, and collaborative exchanges to their blogs. Multimedia is an important part of blogging and learning.
In a blog entry dated September 28, 2004, Doc Searls, a co-author of the book The Cluetrain Manifesto discussed podcasting in some detail and noted that a Google search on “podcasts” brought up twenty-four hits. Searls went on to predict that in another year, the same search would “pull up hundreds of thousands, or perhaps even millions” of hits. That estimate probably seemed liberal to Searls, but in reality it was far too conservative. On May 25, just eight months later, a commenter on Searls’s blog entry clicked on the search link and found 4,460,000 Google hits for “podcasts.” On June 23, that same Google search link returned well over 6,000,000 hits. On August 28, it returned over 21,000,000 hits. On September 18, the number had exceeded 60,000,000. Clearly, this medium has caught the imagination of a large and growing audience. (Cambell, 2005) On August 4, 2006 the same search produced 390,000,000 hits in .05 seconds. These numbers are evidence of the fact that podcasting’s popularity continues to grow exponentially.
In simple terms, a podcast is an audio blog with one exception. This difference is that a podcast is presented in audio form instead of text. The audio files are created in mp3 format to make them small enough to be stored on a server and allow for quick download to the listener. The audio content can be anything including: a person’s feelings about an issue, a lecture from a prominent educator, an interview, or music; content is at the producer's discretion. If it’s audio it can be produced into a podcast. The recording can be created on a handheld digital recorder or from a microphone attached to a computer sound card. Once the recording is created, the audio file is uploaded to a website or blog where it can be downloaded by listeners.