The Blogosphere, it sounded expansive and even a little intimidating. Now everyone could be a ‘blogger’ on whatever topic you decided to write about. No more editorial assignments with your name on the calendar. Now you’re the editor, you make up the editorial calendar decide, plan, research, write, produce and approve everything before you push the publish button. Easy right? And if you’re going about it the way ‘they’ the Digerati say, your blog is a content monster that needs to be fed every week, or even once a day!
So now you’re in the publishing business. That was easy? Now you start recording voice not video (just your voice?) even easier right?
Here’s how Wikipedia describes blogs and podcasts: A blog (a truncation of the expression web log) is a discussion or informational site published on the World Wide Web and consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first). Until 2009 blogs were usually the work of a single individual, occasionally of a small group, and often covered a single subject.
More recently “multi-author blogs” (MABs) have developed, with posts written by large numbers of authors and professionally edited. MABs from newspapers, other media outlets, universities,think tanks, advocacy groups and similar institutions account for an increasing quantity of blog traffic. The rise of Twitter and other “microblogging” systems helps integrate MABs and single-author blogs into societal newstreams. Blog can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.
The emergence and growth of blogs in the late 1990s coincided with the advent of web publishing tools that facilitated the posting of content by non-technical users. (Previously, a knowledge of such technologies as HTML and FTP had been required to publish content on the Web.)
A majority are interactive, allowing visitors to leave comments and even message each other via GUI widgets on the blogs, and it is this interactivity that distinguishes them from other static websites. In that sense, blogging can be seen as a form of social networking service. Indeed, bloggers do not only produce content to post on their blogs, but also build social relations with their readers and other bloggers. There are high-readership blogs which do not allow comments, such as Daring Fireball.
Many blogs provide commentary on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries; others function more as online brand advertising of a particular individual or company. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability of readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important contribution to the popularity of many blogs. Most blogs are primarily textual, although some focus on art (art blogs), photographs (photoblogs), videos (video blogs or “vlogs”), music (MP3 blogs), and audio (podcasts). Microblogging is another type of blogging, featuring very short posts. In education, blogs can be used as instructional resources. These blogs are referred to as edublogs.
On 16 February 2011, there were over 156 million public blogs in existence. On 13 October 2012, there were around 77 million Tumblr and 56.6 million WordPress blogs in existence worldwide.
A podcast or netcast is a digital medium consisting of an episodic series of audio, video, PDF, or ePub files subscribed to and downloaded through web syndication or streamed online to a computer or mobile device. The word is a neologism and portmanteau derived from “broadcast” and “pod” from the success of the iPod, as audio podcasts are often listened to on portable media players.
A list of all the audio or video files associated with a given series is maintained centrally on the distributor’s server as a web feed, and the listener or viewer employs special clientapplication software, known as a podcatcher, that can access this web feed, check it for updates, and download any new files in the series. This process can be automated so that new files are downloaded automatically, which may seem to the user as if the content is being broadcast or “pushed” to them. Files are stored locally on the user’s computer or other device ready for offline use, giving simple and convenient access to the content. Podcasting contrasts with webcasting (Internet streaming), which generally isn’t designed for offline listening to user-selected content.
As discussed by Richard Berry, podcasting is both a converged medium bringing together audio, the web and portable media player, and a disruptive technology that has caused some in the radio business to reconsider some of the established practices and preconceptions about audiences, consumption, production and distribution. This idea of disruptiveness is largely because no one person owns the technology; it is free to listen and create content, which departs from the traditional model of ‘gate-kept’ media and production tools. It is very much a horizontal media form: producers are consumers and consumers become producers and engage in conversations with each other.
The business opportunities are still out there. If you are an expert in any field or endeavour then you should probably have a blog, podcast and or both to reach a larger audience if that is of interest to you. Even though there’s a lot of work that must go into doing a good job of blogging and podcasting it is worthwhile investment if you feel confident to do it. If not then hire someone. This is one of the lower cost ways to provide your expert information to people that might never know about you or find you if searching online. These tools are becoming ‘must haves’ for many businesses, mainly because most consumers now want this information before they purchase.
In some cases they say that consumers are more knowledgeable than sales people today. Many consumers are 60-70% down the path to purchase on their buying journey before they even talk to a sales person today. Like they say, “Information is Power,” so the blogs and podcasts are now part of the toolkit that both retailers and the consumers are using more and more.