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Understanding the Pros and Cons of Podcasting

written by: Sheila Robinson•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 5/11/2010

There are many uses for podcasting. It is an inexpensive way to make and distribute free videos, audio recordings and image files. Amateurs and professionals can create their own programs that can be distributed through an RSS subscription. Here is information on the pros and cons of podcasting.

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    How Podcasting Works

    Podcasting Podcasting is a convenient method of receiving audio and video information. Users can subscribe to podcast RSS feeds through various websites (usually for free). A subscription to a “podcaster" website like iTunes is needed since the creators of the podcasts use them to host and distribute their stuff. Subscribers can then download these free video files ( or MP3s for audio) directly to their computer or by connecting their iPod or other media player to a PC through this service. Files can then be listened to or watched (video) at any time.

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    Pros

    One of the good uses of podcasting is that it is a helpful resource for people who don’t have time to read and want information on current events or personal interests. For education, it can be used to listen to an instructor’s lecture if missed or assist in reviewing for an exam. It is a good tool since audio recordings make a bigger impact on the listener by helping to reinforce information. In business and market applications, creating a podcast program or advertisement can help draw visitors to a website, book or new products.

    When you consider the pros and cons of podcasting, they are very cost effective and easy to make. All that is needed is a microphone (or video camera), a web connection and a computer. Individuals who want these files do not need any special software or plug-in to play them on a PC or other media device.

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    Cons

    While podcasts are not difficult to create, not everyone has the best voice for audio recordings. This is a different skill set and requires an ear for audio and an interesting and clear voice to draw in the listeners.

    Unlike teleconferencing, instant message or other forms of online communication, podcasting is not designed for two way interaction. Questions and comments cannot be added by individuals through this type of media.

    Individuals with a dial up connection or have low bandwidth in general will have difficulty downloading podcasts. Podcasts are also a problem for the hearing impaired. Since no special adaptations are in place to add in text for them to read, these individuals cannot benefit from them.

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    Is Podcasting for you?

    After reviewing the pros and cons of podcasting you can see that it is a versatile way to easily create and access free videos and audio recordings. Whether the use of podcasting is for business, education or casual applications it can be beneficial for information, marketing or entertainment.