Blogging and Podcasting

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Jill, Steve and Mark discuss blogging and podcasting.

Steve: Once again, here we are at the EnglishLingQ Podcast.

This time Jill is going to talk to Mark about some of the basic terms and concepts on the Internet.

Jill, you have the floor.

Jill: Thanks, Steve.

I think that probably a lot of people are like me out there who really don’t know very much about this whole Web 2.0 you were speaking about and blogging and twittering and all of these other…podcasting even, so maybe I’ll just ask you some very basic general questions so that we can find out a little bit more about these…what are they called even?

Applications?

Mark: Yes.

Jill: Okay.

Maybe we should start with blogging.

For me, I know when we started blogging on The Linguist maybe a year ago or half a year ago, to me, it just seemed like a website.

I really didn’t understand what the difference is between having a blog and having a website, so maybe you could tell us the difference, if there is one.

Mark: I mean a blog is a website; however, it’s a specific type of website.

It’s a website usually run by an individual but not always.

A group can have a blog too, but on a blog an individual puts up blog posts on a regular basis.

Often it’s a bit of an online journal whereas a website typically, you know, a company has a website.

Jill: It doesn’t change.

Steve: It doesn’t change regularly.

Like a blog, the content changes regularly.

It’s updated regularly.

It’s, hopefully, up to date.

You know, the last update wasn’t a year ago.

There’s interaction because there’s commenting available on the post usually.

I mean, I don’t know the exact definition of a blog but, essentially, it’s an online journal where an individual just talks about whatever he wants to talk about or whatever the theme of his blog is and then his readers can interact with him.

Steve: We should say his or hers because there are a lot of female bloggers, so it’s certainly not a male domain.

Mark: We should also say that…you said we started blogging a year and a half ago.

That’s when we had the Vox community when you started blogging but, in fact, we’ve been blogging at The Linguist for quite a while.

I don’t know how long The Linguist on language has been going, but probably four years.

I know that when I first heard about blogging I was just like you.

What’s a blog?

I don’t get it.

Why?

The more you use them and read other people’s blogs you just understand what that word means and what type of website it refers to.

I know that you understand that now, but yeah, it was a question I had at the beginning as well.

Jill: What we’re doing right now is a podcast and I know I also didn’t, maybe a year ago, understand what a podcast was.

I might still not understand everything about it, I’m not sure but, essentially, it’s what?

Just people speaking and putting up their conversation or their information onto their blog or website?

Mark: Essentially, of course, the pod comes from iPod.

Broadcast, whatever, iPod broadcast, podcast, I guess that’s how they came up with the name.

It’s essentially…it doesn’t have to be a conversation.

It can be one person talking as well, but it is a, I guess, non-professionally produced audio program, in a way, that you’re putting up on the Web for people to download and listen to.

The way it’s delivered is through a blog, basically, by putting links to MP3 files in a blog format and it’s updated regularly and then people can subscribe to your podcast feed, either in iTunes or with a feed reader.

They don’t have to, they can, of course, download episodes individually from your podcast website but, essentially, they are audio programs produced by individuals.

Jill: It seems to me that most of them are free of charge; most that I have found on the Internet and I’m just wondering why that is.

Why people are putting in all this time and effort into doing something that they’re not receiving any money for.

Mark: Yeah, I mean, that’s a good question.

I mean I think there are a lot of podcasters that use it as an outlet for them to talk and have people listen to them.

Just like a lot of bloggers, it’s an outlet for people to listen to them and comment back.

I mean it’s social interaction.

It’s not a lot different than when we talked about Web 2.0 and the social interaction, I mean, blogging and podcasting are part of that.

You know, the blog post and the podcast are one way, in a way, but then because they’re on blogs there’s commenting and responding and so on that goes along with it so that, for many people, I think, number one: they find it fun to podcast.

Number two: another topic that we’ve touched on in the past is this whole culture on the Web or feeling that things should be free so that people are maybe not willing to pay for podcasts.

Although, I think if the content is good why wouldn’t people pay?

Although, I guess the radio is free too, but you can pay for satellite radio, I believe.

I mean, theoretically, if the content was good enough people would pay, but for whatever reason I too have never seen a podcast that you pay for.

Yeah and for that reason I think a lot of podcasters now who’ve been making podcasts for years are starting to say God, I put a lot of time into this.

You know, I don’t think it’s that easy to find advertisers.

What a lot of podcasters do is have advertising on their podcast, but it’s not that easy.

They may be making a little money but maybe not covering their costs and certainly not getting rich from it.

I think a lot of podcasters start to say, I think, after a while, why am I doing this?

In our case, I should say also that at least in terms of our podcast, we’re doing it because we’re hoping to draw people to LingQ.

We’re not doing it because we want to necessarily communicate with the world; although, certainly, I think our members enjoy listening to our conversations, but a big reason why we put out our podcast is we want to attract new members.

Steve: Can I ask you… I know that you listen to podcasts that are relevant to your work too, relevant to the Web and developments on the Web, new technology and so forth, what motivates these people because these are very busy, well-established people who have podcasts and they are just disseminating lots of useful information free of charge, which is very nice.

I think what we do is very useful for some people too, so that we’re giving back, but maybe describe some of those podcasts that you listen to and what do you think their motivation is?

Mark: Yeah, I must say, I do listen to quite a few podcasts, not for language learning, but just because they’re interesting — in English.

There are a lot of interesting podcasts out there.

One great thing about podcasts is you can listen to them while you’re doing other things.

You know, if you’re out for a run or cleaning up the kitchen or whatever.

That’s why this sort of rise in video podcasting, I’m not as keen on personally, because you have got to sit there and watch it whereas the big attraction for me to the podcast is that you can be listening while you’re doing other things.

Regarding the podcasts that I listen to…I’m trying to think now…one is put out by a marketing guy so, obviously, he’s doing it in hopes that people will come visit his website.

He’s a marketing consultant, I think.

He’s written a book and so maybe he wants to promote his book; promote his business.

There definitely is that, similar to what we’re doing to promote your own activities.

There’s another podcast from CNET and they are some kind of news-tech website, so they are paid, I think, to come on this.

There is advertising on it.

It’s part of their Web presence and it’s what they do.

I assume that it makes money for them or draws traffic to their website or somehow they benefit by it.

I’m trying to think of some others.

I’ve been listening lately to some podcasts from the Stanford Business School or some kind of entrepreneur’s program that they have where it’s basically recordings of visitors to their school that they put up.

People come and give a talk and they record it and put it up.

I don’t know if they are promoting that program or they’re just doing it for the general good.

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