A podcast is a digital multimedia file that is distributed via the internet. Podcast listeners/viewers may download individual podcast files or subscribe to a subscription feed that automates the downloading of podcast episodes. Podcasts may be played on a personal computer; however, the inherent portability of the medium encourages use of a mobile playback device, such as a portable MP3 player.
According to a report published by the Pew Internet & American Life Project this week, 12 percent of internet users reported downloading at least one podcast; however, only 1 percent download on a typical day.
More men who are online, 15 percent, have downloaded a podcast, compared to 8 percent of online women. Users who have been online for more than six or more years are twice as likely as those who have been online for three or fewer years (13 vs 6 percent).
I have been listening to podcast recordings of my favorite news and conference recordings for six years. I used to carry a Sony MiniDisc player; now I use a SanDisk Sansa flash drive media player. I subscribe to 49 feeds, most of which are published by national news services or universities. The flexibility of timeshifting my listening has freed me to keep up with my preferred news sources. I carry the media player in the car, plugging it into the vehicle’s audio system, and when I exercise.
I am surprised that more folk do not listen to podcasts. The value of timeshifting makes podcasting one of the most useful digital applications.
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