Is Podcasting Evolutionary or Revolutionary?

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Let me preface this post by saying I do love podcasting. I listen to and watch a lot of them.

But I am getting a sense that podcasting has big pros and cons and that the latter may prevent it from leaving a mark the way blogs and communities and even gaming may.

For starters, let’s look at the benefits of podcasting. Eric Schwartzman does a good job of listing these attributes. Podcasting’s truly democratized, it reaches a global audience, it’s time-shifted, portable, cost-effective and vertical. From a marketing point of view, you can achieve some word of mouth buzz because you’re using a medium that consumers made popular.

On the other hand podcasting is a pain, as Andrew Kantor in USA Today illustrates. Worse, you need to make a certain investment in time to determine if a podcast is for you. You really can’t scan them. There’s very little dialogue. It’s a fairly controlled medium. And they don’t easily spread because they’re not searchable.

So, where does that leave us? Podcasting is an important medium, no doubt. It changed how people listen to audio and where that content comes from. On the other hand, podcasting is not very social. It’s largely unidirectional. It’s about democratized distribution. In five years time podcasting will be seen as evolutionary while Wikipedia, social networking and blogging will be viewed as revolutionary because they are dialogue driven, scannable and searchable in mainstream Web search engines.

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Steve Rubel is a PR strategist with nearly 16 years of public relations, marketing, journalism and communications experience. He currently serves as a Senior Vice President with Edelman, the largest independent global PR firm.

He authors the Micro Persuasion weblog, which tracks how blogs and participatory journalism are changing the public relations practice.

Is Podcasting Evolutionary or Revolutionary?
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