How to start talking (really this time)

I got a call today from Neil Gorman asking me how to produce content for the audio feeds I’ve been talking about in the past couple of days. This is a serious problem; I want this system to be so obvious that you can’t help but think that it’s the easiest, most efficient system to produce comments that will get heard by both the podcaster as well as the largest possible audience (both inside and outside of said podcaster’s sphere of influence).

Anyway, here’s a real clear step-by-step to get you in on the conversation. (Update: Neil also wrote one.) You’ll need a account (with the post to delicious bookmark in your browser), and an Odeo account is recommended.

  1. Create an audio file and get it on a server:
    1. Record something using Odeo’s studio tool (or your own equipment).
    2. if you used Odeo, move to step 2.
    3. Take the file you recorded and put it on a server, and find the URL.
  2. Once the mp3 file you created is in your browser and playing (or loaded), post it to delicious.
  3. Tag the mp3 file appropriately (we’re talking on podcast_conversations + comment right now.
  4. Subscribe to the feed to hear your part in the conversation (XML, iTunes).

Take note that it’s also possible use tags to get your comment into two different feeds. I did this yesterday by tagging a recording with inoveryourhead, comment, and podcast_conversations (this is the feed Mark created, available here).

Once you see your own comment in the feed, I swear you’ll be really happy you went through this. Keep in mind that this is not being done in podcasting anywhere right now.

Of course, we have to keep in mind that the really important factor here is a division between production and distribution. Normally, you produce your content as well as distribute it, but it does not need to be this way. We happen to be doing it with because it was the easiest way to get it started, but the process will be simplified pretty soon. The way I figure it, though, why wait for these things to happen when we can experiment with this now?

What you, dear reader, need to do now is to follow the steps above and get involved. I’m not kidding this time. I want to hear from people. (Also, for those that don’t care to hear about what we’re doing, I’ll try not to bombard you with as many of these posts.)





9 responses to “How to start talking (really this time)”

  1. Steve Avatar

    I am probably being picky, but I don’t think that you should be using dashes or underscores in a tag name. I have always thought of a tag as a one word entity. That is where its simplicity comes from. If you start mixing words together in a tag, you lose the ease inherent in the system.

    As an example: if I tag this comment as “AnnoyingComment”, and someone else as “annoying-comment”, and yet another as “Annoying_comment”, you’ve lost the usefullness of tags. But if I tag it “Annoying” and “Comment”, the two tags together form the tag cloud that best describes what I want.

    Just a thought.

  2. mtl3p Avatar

    steve’s right in terms of perfect world, but I think he’s wrong in terms of usability.

    very clear explanation, julien. nicely done! (better than my last attempt)

  3. mhp Avatar

    Steve, in general one word tags are best practice to use one word tags when you are “tagging”. Here we are exploiting the tagging functionality for an expressly unique feed, so I purposefully broke convention to exclude any mp3s that someone may have tagged “podcast+conversations” (some IT Conversations podcasts are tagged that way, but are not a part of _this_ conversation.

    But say you had a thought (and recording) about “The Cartoons” or the Olympics or today’s weather in your town, that would be best tagged like you said. Then subscribing to that feed would be akin to a plain feed or Technorati Mini, etc. but you’d get audio instead of text.

    As mtl3p notes in his audio comment at , the current infrastructure of using to tag the comments and generating the feed is not ideal (especially for ease of use). For example, it would be super if they could abstract “…/rss/tag/system:filetype:mp3+…” into “…/rss/tag/mp3/…”

    But it is currently the best (only?) tool for the task. Think back to the early days (a year ago) of podcasting, where people wrote their own scripts to pull podcasts and transfer them to their digital audio device. Those were cheap hacks to figure out what works, and what does not. Here, we are exploiting to be our cheap hack.

  4. Steve Avatar

    I see what you mean. I was under the impression that it was the combination of two tags rather than a title. My bad.

    And I agree with mtl3p, what I was describing was a “perfect world” scenario. But hey, I can always dream, right?

  5. […] More reading about this topic, can be found here, and here, and here, and lets not forget here. […]

  6. Alexandre Lemieux Avatar

    One little thing that concerns me is that this system allows anybody who wants to create audio spam comments to create a account and start tagging spam comments with the tags you are using. Even worst; since they are doing this on their account, you can’t delete or filter them out. 🙁

  7. groundctrl Avatar

    Alexandre: Yeah, we’re working on that. The idea of comment spam is something we gotta take a look into, but comment spamming on blogs doesn’t stop people from blogging. Likewise, we’re doing it, and we’ll figure out solutions as time goes on.

  8. Alexandre Lemieux Avatar

    Maybe a filter on top of that would filter-out entries that match some criteria, like a black list or something… Or a free service where you create a channel and let people easily enter URL of contents, a bit like a specialized where you could add stuff to other people’s channels. And the owner of the account can edit and remove comments from his channel and even decide what are his policies regarding posts. Something like “friends only”, “only people who have valid accounts”, “everybody”, “anonymous”, etc. My 0.02$ CDN.

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