Want stardom? Try podcasting
Avant-garde artist and fashion guru Andy Warhol once said that in life, everyone gets to be famous for 15 minutes.
For the thousands of would-be singers, DJs, and talk show hosts who can't wait for their time in the spotlight, a computer and microphone, some state-of-the-art software that's freely available on the Internet, and a little guile, is all they need to become part of the newest trend hitting the Internet.
And that trend is podcasting. First coined by former MTV veejay Adam Curry who, along with software developer Dick Winer, created key software that enabled podcasts to be made. Podcasting is the creation of audio files (podcasts) that can be saved to a website and downloaded by anyone with a computer or portable MP3 player and listened to.
The term podcast, a portmanteau of two words, broadcasting and iPod, Apple Computer's now ubiquitous music player is something of a misnomer, since such files do not need either an iPod or a portable MP3 player to be played only a computer with a media player capable of handling the MP3 format.
What is clear, however, is that podcasts are allowing ordinary Joes everywhere the chance to become media personalities by hosting and starring in their own radio programmes.
And in today's highly individualized world where a sophisticated and discerning public is becoming more and more fragmented in terms of taste and lifestyle, this kind of content is finding favour with listeners who are looking for something that speaks directly to them.
Podcasting, like web logging or blogging (personal diaries posted on the Internet), creates online communities, where people can share their views, experiences and interests, said David James, founder of Blogmatrix Sparks!, developer of a new piece of software that allows users to create and capture podcasts more easily than ever before.
And in terms of reach, podcasts are drawing audiences because they are easy to find and, being pre-recorded and archived, can be played at the listener's convenience. Like video-on-demand, the use of content is "time-shifted," in that it can be accessed any time and anywhere, to suit the listener's own schedule.
Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, the medium is gaining in
popularity as a means of self-expression. Through podcasting, people are finding
a certain sense of fulfilment presenting their unique selves to the world, or in
many cases, to their own fan base of friends and family, even if this means only
a handful of people.