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How's the iPod Thing Working Out?
Rob Greenlee postulates that "Most people still equate podcast listening with the iPod" and that "podcasters are also getting very tired of telling people that you do not need an iPod to listen to podcasts."

I was a little surprised by Rob's thoughts because I wasn't aware that a great deal of people thought they actually had to have an iPod to listen to podcasts. There's no doubt that the name iPod is a portmanteau (thanks Wikipedia) of the words "iPod" and "broadcast", but surely people know that an iPod is just a digital player like any other. Well, actually, less functional than most others, but I digress.

Maybe I'm wrong. Perhaps it's just us techno-geeks and podcasters that know there is no iPod required and perhaps Apple really is winning the marketing battle and the non-geeky masses thing they need an iPod.

I'm interested in your experiences. Anecdotal, statistical, whatever you have. Do people think they need an iPod to listen to podcasts?

10 Comments/Trackbacks

My experience is that people do think you need an iPod...at least those who are not tech types.

In fact, I have talked to people who follow up my "I'm a podcaster" statement with "I love macs."

"There's no doubt that the name iPod is a portmanteau (thanks Wikipedia) of the words "iPod" and "broadcast"

I don't think this is necessarily true. There are arguments that it was originally coined to mean Personal-On-Demand Casting. Tee Morris has a nice sidebox on this in Podcasting for Dummies.

Is that right, eh? I'm dismayed by that. I would have thought that people could recognize an audio file is an audio file is an audio file. I guess that's why we still have directions on shampoo bottles...

Yeah - I'm skeptical of the Personal On Demand thing. I agree that the timing of the first reported use of the phrase is about right (end of 2004), but I've seen so many lists of phrases that can be used instead of iPod that it seems like more of a sport now than a lesson in history.

I am interested, though. Without violating any copyright, can you post the gist of Tee's argument?

YES!! I hear this all the time: "Oh, I would really like to listen to your podcast, but I don't have an iPod."

Last week I patiently explained to a very intelligent business person what a podcast is, how you listen to one, what iTunes is all about, etc.

For some people there's a steep learning curve here!


About 3 months ago a buddy of mine (who is an accountant and reasonably computer savvy) ask me what a blog was.

I guess I'm just becoming ethnocentric in my old age...

Very much the case in the UK too, both from general potential listeners and business interests - it's frustrating to say the least but in all areas we are still very much in the education business when talking to non-geeks for the most part.

I talk to podcasters all the time here at Melodeo Mobilcast. It is a true blessing and a curse for most podcasters. They love the great distribution that they all get from iTunes, but they get tired of telling people what a podcast is and that it has nothing really to do with the iPod.

Most no-techie type people just barely understand what an mp3 file is and that it can be downloaded from the Internet or Web on to your PC. The other part they don't understand that it can contain talk radio content as well as music.

We are still at the most basic level right now with the mass market. We have a lot of education to do to get podcasting into the main stream population of internet users.

Rob Greenlee
WebTalk Radio
Melodeo Mobilcast
Mobile Phone Podcast Blog

I've had to explain to several folks that there are mp3 players made by companies other than IPods. It's easy to forget that lots of people aren't willing to invest any more intellectual energy on techno gadgets than you or I would expend on toasters or printing presses. I don't blame them...

Busy thread.

It seems that my perception of the knowledge level of listeners may be a little optimistic.

This isn't quite the same thing, but it's related: I talked on my podcast once about the types of questions that I saw being asked on the Podcast Pickle forums. A lot of the questions were about what I considered to be basic knowledge for a podcaster such as feeds and file formats. My initial reaction was to think "how can these people not know these things?", but after I thought about it for a while, I think it's actually a good thing.

Blogging, if you recall, took a long time to hit mainstream because the initial set of tools were difficult to use and required a somewhat geeky mindset. Therefore, for the first few years, all the blogs out there were written by geeks on geeky topics. Now there are blogs written by everyone on every topic imaginable and that's largely attributable to the maturity of the blogware available.

I think we've already reached that point with podcasting. The tools have matured so quickly that non-technical people are podcasting and listening and ultimately that bodes well for the future. It has allowed varied content to become available in a very short time.

Interesting stuff. Thanks for sharing your experiences and views, all.

We've been giving podcast seminars to the biz community since Jan 05 and this is a persistent issue. Information is becoming so niche-focused; people thriving on the internet and Web 2.0 especially, don't realize how far ahead of the mainstream business community they have pulled. Of course I don't watch MSM any more so I am comparably clueless at cocktail party chitchat. :-)

Laff. I hear you about cocktail parties. I know the blog adoption rate in Israel, but I have no idea when the construction on so-and-so avenue will be complete :)

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