Changing Majors? Give Podcasting a Try

    November 10, 2006

Social media is rapidly climbing the ladder as a primary method in which news and information is communicated to the masses. Podcasting, in particular, is becoming increasingly popular among technology enthusiasts, industry insiders, and big-name companies.

IBM recently announced a partnership with the University of Arizona’s business school aimed at offering a New Media curriculum to students. One of the major components of this curriculum will likely focus on the concept of podcasting as a communication resource.

In an effort to probe deeper into the importance of podcasting and new media technologies, I had the opportunity to converse with Dr. Kathleen P. King, Director of the Fordham RETC Center for Professional Development and professor of Adult Education and Human Resource Development at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Education.

Dr. King comments on the podcasting phenomenon, “If students are studying communications in the specific efforts to understand newest digital media, this would be an interesting area of concentration to explore.”

“However, it would be important to include trends in digital media and communications. Podcasting is one of the current forms that New Media is taking at the given time.”

Acknowledging the importance of podcasting on the social media landscape, however, is only the beginning of the process. One must also understand that successful, informative, and meaningful podcasts are intricately woven together with the right mixture of technique and content.

Dr. King elaborates, “While technical aspects of “how-to” of course are important in such a program because they have the potential to really provide us with some leading edge developers, the technology will constantly change with time, even week by week.”

“However, the myriad of options for developing content even within this one medium needs to be explored tremendously. For example, if you carefully comb through podcasts and listen to them, you can pull apart the ideas and see strands of ways that people address content in creative ways.”

When the understanding of podcasting significance and the exploration of content come together in a harmonious way, the end result is significant content. That statement may seem a bit melodramatic, but the medium of podcasting offers an unparalleled platform for expression in today’s digital landscape.

Dr. King considers the possibilities, “On an even more conceptual level though I believe the depths of sociological, multicultural and global relational dynamics and impact are real questions and issues that can be discussed and explored.”

“We are spanning the globe in milliseconds with our podcasts. We are bringing people around the globe into partnerships and relationships in podcasting and broadcasting and Web 2.0 New Media development that would otherwise be so much further separated by time and space.”

The ultimate significance of podcasting lies in its ability to give voice to the “average” person. Traditional media models are losing ground to social networking communities, and the commentary of popular podcasters is becoming more persuasive to public opinion than expensive marketing campaigns.

Dr. King summarizes these concepts nicely, “Podcasting and New Media is a nexus of innovation, technology and empowerment: these are generative elements.”

So if you’re college undergraduate with a nose for journalism and a penchant for new media, you might check out what IBM and the University of Arizona are doing with this new project.

Maybe your show will be the next big hit on the Internet.

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Joe is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest ebusiness news.