The Problem with Words

Yesterday I posted about "podcasting for regular people" on Odeo, which got picked up by Kottke and some other folks and seemed to be somewhat well-received. That is, the concept I was trying to convey (casual content creation of the audio variety) seemed to be.

However, several people raised issue with calling a voice message delivered through the Internet a "podcast." There's some great comments about this in the Kottke thread.

Unfortunately, this debate is just starting. It's going to be boring and is unlikely to be resolved.

The reason is, podcasting is still new. People have a pretty good idea of what it is, but that's because it hasn't morphed too much yet. There aren't that many different types of podcasts. There will be.

The exact same thing happened in the blogging world. At first, "weblogs" were personally edited web pages that displayed a "log" of "web" links, optionally with some commentary. Not a lot of people debated that until people started publishing weblogs without links, just commentary. Or, god forbid, just journal entries. There were those who pointed out that there were weblogs, and there were journals, and there's a clear difference. But then there were the sites where people published some journal entries and some links to sites. And the word "weblog" -- later, blog -- never had a nice tidy definition again.

I don't really care what's called podcasting, I'm just trying to take the path of least resistence. There's only one word we have right now for independent (or commercial?) spoken-word (or music?) audio (or video?) messages (entertainment?) delivered through the Internet (or wireless phone networks?) and listened to on MP3 players (or on PCs?).

So, I'm going with podcasting for now.