BY JIM KARPEN
It’s crazy. You blink, and suddenly there’s a wholenew Internet culture in place. And then you have to start catching up. Justwhen I figured out weblogs (or blogs) and RSS, along comes podcasting.
And podcasting is big: the New York Times ran two major articles during thesummer. There are now thousands of podcasts. And the whole thing has happenedquickly, with the word “podcast” only being coined in Septemberof last year. (And while the name suggests that you need an iPod to listento them, in fact they play on any computer or device.)
So what’s the excitement about? At first it’s not obvious. Apodcast is simply a sound file on the Internet that you can listen to. Mostoften it’s in MP3 format, and most often it’s not music but morelike a radio talk show or news report.
But there are a couple differences. One is that the vast majority of podcastsare amateur productions: people sitting in their bedroom recording onthe home computer.
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Jim Karpen, Ph.D., teaches writing at Maharishi University of Managementin Fairfield, Iowa. He has been interested in the revolutionaryconsequences of computer technology ever since writinghis Ph.D. dissertation in 1984 at Bowling Green State Universityon the study of the "digitizedword."