Ooooooh – I’m important and interesting… Listen to ME!

The New Zealand press finally catch up, and run a story on blogging…

Oh yippee… Television New Zealand ran a piece yesterday on blogging [watch the clip – 300K stream] where the breakfast show host introduced blogging as:

“Blogging is someone who for some reason believes the rest of the world needs to know what they did today…”

Bloggers don’t go to journalism school, they probably didn’t work on the high school news paper and they definitely aren’t pretty enough to read from an auto-cue without mumbling so how could they possibly have an opinion that others may find interesting, right?
Paul Renolds (the shows pet “IT Commentator”) agreed with the hosts summation but then, over the course of the interview, proceeded to backtrack on that position and actually explained blogging in a relatively well balanced manner, explaining it in what I’d term “Mum-speak” (i.e. my Mum could probably understand it…)

Checks & balances
The self-righteous host went on to make a fantastic comment that:

“One of the problems with the internet is there are no checks and balances”

Hmm – just like the mainstream media except, oh hey we’ll pretend to give a well balanced view but our bias are as clear as day for those who care to take an objective approach.
What the host and indeed the “commentator” missed, is the fact that you can easily Google for supporting references to pretty much anything your read on the web, and with people writing such social relationship tools as mydensity.com, you can start to see a web of ‘trust’ (if you will) which leads credence to the original site publisher.
There is no such web of trust / ability to cross reference new items as easily for mainstream media stories, and this is why I believe that blogging is a far more interesting way to get news and views than what is spoon-fed to the public that the mainstream press treat like children who need to be entertained rather than informed.
You’ll also notice that in this and most of my other blogs I am giving links to other sites where readers can click off to to learn more or to see other ideas which may support my position (or not) – don’t see much of that in the mainstream now do we?

I liked the fact that the commentator went on to introduce PodCasting and VideoCasting which are also things that I’ve been keen on over the last 6 or so months.

Podcasting:
There is a great article on how to get PodCasts on your Windows Mobile device (or indeed your Windows Media Player) which Sean Alexander wrote about a while back, it’s well worth a read and, after following this guide, I’m now able to listen to my PodCasts in the car as I negotiate Auckland traffic, which is more interesting (to me) than the talk radio or manufactured pop bands of today who seem to do little more than covers of old classic from the 80’s.

The Podcasts I’ve linked to above are just a selection of what feeds I subscribe to, but they are heavily skewed to gadgets, IT news and opinion and, well – there’s an obligatory Adam Curry subscription in there to.
Since I’m able to give a lot more depth of information that the 5 minute slots that broadcasters give to the public before their poor viewers brain gets full and they lose their attention – I can tell you that Adam Curry is regarded as the godfather of podcasting and, while that may be a point of contention for some of the commentators in the online audio space, he’s certainly turned into the poster boy of podcasting and appears to be doing a whole lot to support the ‘industry’ of bringing audio blogs to the ears of listeners around the world.
Again, you can click on the links to learn more – there is also this interesting story on podcasting vs. satellite radio, which I’ll have to comment on after I get around to seeing how I can receive satellite radio affordably in NZ.

VideoCasting
I’m yet to get into this emerging trend due to lack of time, bandwidth and headspace in which I can actually watch a screen as opposed to listen to audio. I guess that will be one of the determining factors in how well Videocasting takes off is that, to watch video you need to pay attention to a screen whereas podcasts are audio only and can be listened to while you do things like walk the dog, drive to work, do your chores around the house (I still remember listening to a great conversation on identity management while painting some plywood sheets for our deck at home – weird, I don’t know why I’m sharing that – it must be a ‘muslie for breakfast’ moment like my buddy the breakfast host said…).
Anyway, Robin Good whose blog I also subscribe to wrote this piece which you may find of interest to explain the emerging trend.

I think that video casting will take a while to gain traction, it’s major roadblocks being stupidly expensive bandwidth and lack of affordable portable media players with large enough screens to allow for long term watching of this content. Answer these problems and the building blocks will be in place, all we’ll need is content – perhaps we can SEE bloggers eating this mythical breakfast that the hosts were talking about! In the interim, Google has recently introduced a hosting system for video which is discussed here.

The host wrapped up the segment by magnanimously declaring that:

“Alright, it’s something that we obviously need to keep half an eye on at least”

To that I say yes, yes indeed. Syndicated content in conjunction with aggrigation tools such as RSSReader and Doppler is the best way to get breaking news out there, the web is an ideal distribution medium, and tools already exists to allow one to search and subscribe to content streams of interest to the individual. Broadcasters would do well to understand if not embrace this trend as it can have a very nice supplemental fit into their existing legacy content systems.

Googles recent video hosting initive just supports the views expressed here in regards to the way that news and information could be distributed in the future. Follow the link, pick a mirror and, if you’re interested – have a look at the transcript.
It is a plausible outlook – Should broadcasters take this seriously? – yes, will they? – no. At least not yet and definitely not by people like the host of this show. Whether it’ll be too late by the time they accept that the traditional landscape of reporting on stuff has changed remains to be seen, but then people who consider themselves smarter, better, more worthy of listening to than others are generally a bit slower to accept their equalities…