A ‘cast by any other name

Leo Laporte wants to change the name of “podcasts” to “netcasts” because “pod” makes people think they need an iPod. I’m afraid that once names stick, they stick. How many times have we heard people wish for different names than “blog,” “blogosphere,” “RSS,” “HTML,” and all that. When you think about it, “elevator” is a silly and rather haughty word; “lift” is much better. But here we elevate. We blog. We podcast.

  • http://www.pajamamarket.com Brian Brown

    So what if people think they need an iPod. Doesn’t everyone have an iPod by now anyway?

    But seriously, most of those people who don’t realize you can listen to a podcast on a regular MP3 player or their computer are also not going to know what a “netcast” is or how to use one. At least the term “podcast” tells people it has something to do with an iPod, and therefore probably has something to do with MP3s.

    We are stuck with the term, just as we are stuck with Kleenex, Frisbee, Ski-Doo, and Allen wrench. We all know we can buy other brands of face tissue, snowmobiles, and hex wrenches (although I challenge you to buy a non-Frisbee plastic flying disc unless you play disc golf), yet these terms are universally known and used.

    And it didn’t happen overnight. Podcasts are still a relatively new concept and there are generations of technophobes who will resist learning exactly what they are. But eventually, everyone within a podcast’s market will ‘get it.’

    In the meantime, don’t try to dilute the name and confuse the people who have already embraced the technology. You will simply be called ‘lame’ and be left in the dust of those who accept it, push it, expand it, and cause more and more people to be acquainted with it, learning that podcasts are not just for iPods.

  • http://www.ryansholin.com Ryan

    I thought the ‘netcast’ switch had more to do with Apple sending nastygrams to folks using the word ‘podcast’ in their products, and perhaps a ‘pod’ trademark in the works.

    But, then again, netcast sounds awfully silly.

    I’ve got no problem with webcast, or as Scoble offered, audiocast and videocast.

    Millions and millions of people still have no idea what a podcast is, anyway. And there’s certainly no set naming convention yet for whatever video is.

    vlog? video blog? vidcast? vcast? video podcast?

    Which do you watch?

    Calling them audioblogs and videoblogs wouldn’t be the end of the world, either.

  • http://www.journalistopia.com Danny Sanchez

    I don’t know if “netcast” is the way to go, but I’ve also had concerns about labeling audio as a “podcast” for the very reasons Jeff cited. I’ve taken to labeling podcasts simply by the specific title of the feature, buzzwords be damned.

  • http://topazpartners.blogspot.com Doug Haslam

    Indeed, Leo’s “netcast” idea surfaced after he learned about Apple’s letter to Podcast Ready, the latest of many to receive such “cease & desist” letters regarding trademarks.

    He continued the theme at last week’s Podcast and Portable Media Expo, but I think he recognizes also that the clamor for a name change may not be there, at least for “netcast.”

    What it has done is open up a wide-ranging and interesting discussion among podcasters about ownership of “pod,” and shown what a community these “new media” have really become.

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