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Using Podcasts To Broadcast Your Message

May 25, 2008
What exactly do you use the Internet for? It is as a means of retrieving information? Do you have to visit several different websites to gather together the facts you are looking for? If the answer to these questions is yes, how would you feel if the data required came to you without the necessity of you spending hours on end surfing the net?

You will be pleased to know that with podcasting this is now possible!

So, what exactly is a podcast? If you think of the word "broadcast", what springs to mind? Could it be a picture of some description? Do you envisage someone listening to the news bulletin on the radio? You may see spectators watching the game on TV or a PC on a network putting out packets for all other networks to receive? We can work out from this that broadcasting is a means of sending out information to a specific audience. Such audiences will be able to accept and decipher the signals being sent out as long as they have the right equipment to do so.

Podcasting works in a similar way by sending out digital and machine readable files to subscribers from a server. Although this is a type of file-sharing over the Internet just like streaming or direct downloading, podcasting is unique because it is being subscribed to, it is syndicated and new data is automatically downloaded as it is added. To enable this to happen a feed reader or aggregator such as Atom or RSS is used. Subscribers have software known as a podcatching client, which makes full use of the features of the syndication of the podcast. Apple's iTunes, Microsoft's Zune Marketplace, Juice, and Podget are all examples of such podcatching clients.

Episodes or programs received from podcasters can be played on a computer or transferred to an iPod or some other form of portable media player. If you think about it the word "podcast" is a mix of two other words, namely "iPod" and "broadcast". As you may already be aware, the iPod is the first portable piece of equipment in which the podcasting applications were developed.

At the beginning podcasting was used to send radio-style shows but it has now progressed to podcasters becoming DJs and stars of their own radio and TV shows. People now have the opportunity to showcase just what they can do by reaching their audiences in this inexpensive way. Podcasting is the method that well known companies, like NPR and CNN, give out their contents to end users by and it is also used to distribute school lessons, conference meeting alerts and updates and even the police employ this method to keep the public up to date on safety issues.

Although podcasting does involve the sharing of media files, it also proves to have so many other uses such as providing software updates and product assessment programs and it is sure to drastically change the way in which the Internet is used over the years to come.
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