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Today IBM announced to it's employees an internal Podcasting pilot (similar to an Odeo.com type of service for the IBM Intranet) that is described as a "podcast publishing and directory tool that allows [employees] to easily publish podcasts, and gives others the ability to find your podcasts and subscribe" (emphasis added).
IBM podcasting guidelines
The medium that has come to be known as podcasting -- like blogging -- offers individuals with low-cost, easy-to-use tools to publish content (in this case, audio content). As podcasting mirrors blogging in many ways, it is worth revisiting some points from IBM's Blogging Policy and Guidelines.
Whether or not an IBMer chooses to create or participate in a blog or a wiki or other form of online publishing or discussion is his or her own decision. However, it is very much in IBM's interest -- and, we believe, in each IBMer's own -- to be aware of this sphere of information, interaction and idea exchange:
One of the defining attributes of the emerging Web 2.0 and social networking technologies is their ability to surface unique voices and points of view. IBM supports this democratization of communication and encourages IBMers to take advantage of this new capability in its various forms, as appropriate for their work and the sharing of their expertise.
The basic IBM guidelines for blogging apply to podcasting as well. Of those, the most important one is that all IBMers must follow the Business Conduct Guidelines. Please be sure to review and understand the Business Conduct Guidlines before you begin blogging, podcasting or participating in wikis. However, because there are some special circumstances involved in working with audio files, these additional guidelines have been created to help IBM podcasters.
Additional Guidelines for IBM Podcasters
Do not podcast IBM Confidential material. Currently, there is no way to protect/encrypt audio files in a manner that meets IBM's security guidelines. Therefore, if you create and distribute audio files internally, anticipate that those files could be shared outside of IBM. Don record anything you wouldn disclose outside the company. Keep this in mind particularly if your internal podcast is meant to supplement or replace periodic departmental calls or meetings.
Be mindful not only of what you say, but how you say it. Sometimes the way you say something -- the tone of your voice, such as a hint of sarcasm -- can be as revealing as what you say.
Protect your privacy and the privacy of others. Make sure you don record any person without his or her consent and awareness. Surreptitiously recording and distributing conversations is a breach of others' privacy and can have severe consequences for you. You must have the consent from every individual whose voice can be heard on your podcast. Start each audio recording by identifying all the individuals participating. When recording a meeting or event, be sure to make a statement at the beginning, such as "This conversation is being recorded for a podcast," so the participants are aware when the microphone has been switched on. And think about what you're presenting about yourself, too. MP3 files can remain accessible on the Web for years.
Set the bar as high as you can for audio production and content quality. External podcasts that present topics or points of view relevant to IBM's business or broader corporate interests inevitably reflect on the company's brand. These podcasts should be produced with care, with attention to detail and production values. With blogging, the quality of the thinking, writing and expertise are paramount. When it comes to audio content, the same is true, but add to that the quality of audio production. To put it bluntly, if it does not sound good, even the greatest ideas may not be enough to hold a listener attention.
There may be some invitations to participate in non-IBM podcasts that warrant IBM Communications' involvement. You should treat these the same way you would treat an interview request from a reporter. If you're in doubt, be sure to talk to your local Communications people to discuss the opportunity before agreeing to participate.
Identify your podcast as the voice of an individual or small group within the company, not the "official" voice of the company. This is similar to the standard disclaimer in IBM blogging guidelines -- but in the case of a podcast, it's necessary to make such a declaration verbally.
Before you initiate a podcast, ask yourself if it is the most appropriate method to communicate with your audience. Before creating a podcast, listen to some. Experience what podcasting is like from the audience's perspective. Go out and listen to some podcasts. What do you think works well? What do you dislike? What is it that you have to say -- and is this the right medium in which to say it?
Regarding the internal pilot for employees:
What is the webahead Podcasting Pilot?
The webahead Podcasting Pilot is a podcast publishing and directory tool that allows you to easily publish podcasts, and gives others the ability to find your podcasts and subscribe.
Finding/Subscribing to Podcasts
Publishing a Podcast
What else can I do with this? Any other files can I publish other than mp3?
Dare Obasanjo is exploring support for Atom 1.0 based podcasting in RSS Bandit. In a note on his blog, he points to the article I wrote recently about Atom and notes that the enclosure link and content-by-reference mechanisms in Atom provide podcasters with two different ways of creating podcasts.
IMHO (and I believe most if not the entire atompub working group), the right way of doing podcasts with Atom is to use the enclosure link and not the content-by-reference mechanism. Why? Several important reasons:
The bottom line is that using the atom:content element for podcasting would be quite similar to using the RSS 2.0 link element for podcasting instead of the enclosure tag. Sure, it could work, but enclosure is significantly better suited for the job and it would really just be silly to do anything else.[Read More]
I was asked today where I thought podcasting was going. After browing through the tons of crapcasts that are out there I think that it is safe to say that much of the current hype around podcasting will eventually die out and a number of very real, very powerful and very specific killer applications will emerge.
Doug Kaye's Vision of the Future is perhaps the most exiting possibility I can see. Another killer idea would the application of podcasting to education. For example, imagine what would happen if major universities started syndicating lectures for their students; imagine what could happen if employees could subscribe to corporate training podcasts; imagine what could happen if grade school and high school students could subscribe to podcasts from their schools. Education on demand could be a powerful thing.[Read More]
Well, Odeo appears to have officially opened it's doors. For the time being, I'm going to try using Odeo for discovering podcasts, etc and use iTunes as the podcatcher by subscribing to my Odeo Queue RSS feed (which I'm happy to say currently does NOT use the iTunes RSS extensions). The OdeoSyncr just doesn't seem to want to work that well and really doesn't make sense now that iTunes has the same basic capability built in.
In any case, thanks to Doug Kaye I'm officially hooked on podcasting now. Even so far as to say that I've been experimenting with the idea of producing my own podcast. The difference is that this podcast would be for listeners within the IBM firewall and would focus on emerging technology standards topics that are important to IBM's business. The idea is simple: Enterprise Podcasting... tapping into the power of podcasting for dissemination of information within the enterprise. Should be fun ;-)[Read More]
Doug Kaye: "Every day there are scores or even hundreds of fascinating and important conference sessions, lectures or other presentations that are lost. They simply evaporate because no one captures or records them. Some of these presentations are by the greatest and most inspiring minds of our time, and many could be important to people in the far reaches of the planet, if only they could hear them...My new project is to capture (record) all of these presentations, post-produce them, and make them available worldwide for free."[Read More]
Podcasting News: "Overall, Apple's extensions are being viewed by many in the podcasting community as being poorly thought out. While the iTunes RSS extensions are likely to be adopted quickly by podcasters wanting to maximize their visibility within iTunes, they are also likely to inspire competition and fragmentation."[Read More]
The big news of the day is that Apple released the newest verson of iTunes. New in this release is built in support for Podcasting. Being the proud owner of a new iPod mini and an avid consumer of Doug Kaye's ITConversations podcast, this is of particular interest to me and I must say that I am impressed with how well it has been integrated into the iTunes user experience.
Last week Odeo.com went live. I signed up, added a few subscriptions, download the syncr and spun the tires a bit. Overall it has been a positive experience with a couple of minor interface issues and two major usability ones. First off, Odeo flattens the repository of available podcasts in a way that loses much of the rich browsing capability provided by the ipodder.org directory making it far more difficult to find podcasts that are of interest to me. While using Odeo, I was more apt to go out and discover the podcast on my own then plug it in to the odeo subscription manager rather than using their tag-based directory. The second major issue is that there appears to be a significant lag in odeo's sync engine. Adam Curry's Gnomedex keynote, for example, did not appear in my Odeo sync list until this morning despite having been available on Adam's blog since Sunday. As an information junkie who likes to stay on top of things, that's a bit too late for my tastes.
In contrast, I installed iTunes 4.9 this morning and immediately added the IT Conversations, For Immediate Release and Daily Source Code podcasts. The interface immediately retrieved the latest 'casts and sync'd them to my iPod. The searching and browsing functions for podcasts is seamless and natural for anyone already familiar with iTunes and while I like where the community features of odeo are going they're going to have a hard time competing with what iTunes has put together but it is definitely possible.
Now to the downside of what iTunes has put together. As several folks have noted, iTunes podcast support comes complete with a new RSS extension that is rather unfortunately pretty specific to iTunes. What's worse is that most of the tags duplicate the function of already existing tags in RSS (and Atom for that matter).
At one point in the iTunes podcasting extensions spec it states that "it is OK if some of the values in these tags duplicate values in similar tags that are part of RSS 2.0 specifications". To which I respond: OK for whom? For iTunes or for the RSS feed producers who have to do extra work to produce duplicate information within their feeds? What if Windows Media Player starts doing podcasting and introduces it's own set of extensions that duplicate RSS 2.0 core elements? Will it be "OK" if a feed uses core RSS 2.0 elements, Yahoo Media RSS elements, the iTunes elements AND (hypothetical) Windows Media Player elements? What if odeo introduced their own namespace that was specific to their service. Would that be "OK"?. Here's a hint: it's not OK.
Technology vendors in this space need to remember something very fundamental: content producers and users are in control. Make their jobs and their lives easier and you're adding value. Fighting over extensions and standards and introducing proprietary extensions that require duplication of effort and data doesn't make anyone's job or life easier.[Read More]