Social Media 106: Introduction to Podcasting

This post is part of the Core Curriculum for the Social Media University, Global Bachelor of Science degree in social media, otherwise known as the SMUG BS degree.

You’ve probably heard of podcasting, but maybe you don’t know why it’s important or what you can do with it.

From a consumer perspective, podcasts are great because they’re like TiVo for audio (and now video.) They let you set your computer to automatically receive the next installment in an audio or video series, to use when it fits your schedule.

Podcasting has the potential to make “appointment” listening a thing of the past. And if you’re reading this on your own computer, you can subscribe to podcasts.

You have several options for so-called “podcatchers” (including RSS readers like Newsgator, NetNewswire and Google Reader), and there also are numerous directories where you can go to find listings of podcasts. If you’re not one of the 100 million or so people who have an iPod, you might want to try one of those alernate podcatchers.

I say alternate because iTunes is a great all-in-one podcast directory and podcatcher, and if you have an iPod you should use it. Even if you don’t have an iPod, you can still download iTunes and use it to listen to podcasts on your computer instead of using a dedicated mp3 player.

So, feel free to try another podcatcher if you’d like; this site has a whole list of them, and you can use it to compare features. But otherwise, to keep it simple, use iTunes.

Podcasting offers great benefits for consumers, and it can be quite useful for producers of content, too. The best part is it enables you to reach people who are interested in what you have to say. You don’t have to limit yourself to a 15-second sound bite that can get in a news story. You don’t have to follow a 30-second or even 60-second format of radio ads that you have to buy.

Your content can be as long as is interesting to the people you want to engage. Longer may be even better than shorter, because you’re aiming to reach a niche. And what’s even better is you can produce and distribute a podcast for nothing. $0.00. Zip.

The next courses in the Podcasting curriculum will get into the mechanics of producing and distributing your own podcast. For now, though, your homework assignments are on the consumer side.


  1. Download and install a podcatcher, either iTunes or one of the alternatives.
  2. If you’re interested in a podcast that is about social media, technology and related topics you read about here, For Immediate Release is a good one. You can get it in iTunes here. Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson, the FIR hosts, also have written a book on the topic, called How to do Everything with Podcasting.
  3. List some of your favorite podcasts in the comments below.

Author: Lee Aase

Husband of one, father of six, grandfather of 14. Chancellor Emeritus, SMUG. By day I'm the Director of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network. Whatever I say here is my personal opinion, and doesn't reflect the positions of my employer.

53 thoughts on “Social Media 106: Introduction to Podcasting”

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  2. I actually love the old general conference messages on the podcasts. It makes it so nice to just sit and listen to them. I had no idea I could listen to podcasts when I don’t have an Ipod. Mine broke a year ago and so I am glad that I can still Itunes!

  3. I’ve never really tried podcasts before although I knew about them. I like that there is a podcast for practically everything. I subscribed to the Mormon messages as well as the hunger games podcasts. Haha

  4. I didn’t know too much about podcasts, but I like that it is so easy to download them onto my iPod. I like listening to the General Conference messages and the Freakonomics Radio.

  5. I enjoy listening to exercise or relaxation podcasts. I am still exploring different social media podcasts…

  6. In the past I usually listen to NPR . I am really interested in their stories. However, I just recently subscribed to Mormon Messages and I love it!

  7. I didn’t know all podcasts are free. Just downloaded Freakonomics Radio “Our 100th Episode!” Pretty funny and interesting

  8. I used to get a yoga podcast that would send me a new yoga video everyday. Now I listen to the Joythebaker podcast. I’m addicted.

  9. An odd combination, but I like:
    Public Health Audio Podcasts from Johns Hopkins
    The Ellen Show (audio)
    Mormon Messages

  10. I have only subscribed to one, the LDS General Conference Podcast, but there are TED Talks ones that are good and Mormon Messages.

  11. I tried listening to general conference on the podcasts a few years ago because my schedule usually doesn’t allow me to sit down and watch all the sessions. i liked it because it was simple and easy. i am now more curious to look into other podcasts

  12. I like the podcasts from previous BYU devotionals or speeches. I also listen to the LDS General Conference talks on itunes

  13. One of my favorite podcasts to listen to is Noble Prize Talks. I think that they are interesting to just hear what they have to say. Even though I am not watching a video, it is near to just listen to a podcast about information that I do not normally read on.

  14. I love the mormon messages podcasts as well, and I also love listening to TED talks…you can get these on NPR: TED Radio Hour podcasts on iTunes! They are so so great.

  15. I love listening to the TED talk podcasts because there is so much variety and many of them are inspiring. They give me something to think about and are really uplifting or informational. I also like to spout off the random knowledge I get from them!

  16. I find TED talks very informative and easy to access. I also enjoy watching Ellen Degeneres like all the time.

  17. I have enjoyed This American Life in the past and I am looking forward to exploring the Mormon Messages podcasts a bit more.

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