Although they are both effective Web 2.0 social networking tools, there is a distinct difference between blogging and podcasting. Before describing their differences, it is helpful to understand the definitions of blogging and podcasting.
The Difference Between Social Media and Social Networking
In order to fully understand the difference between blogging and podcasting, it is important to comprehend the difference between social networking and social media. While social networking provides the user with an outlet for making online connections with friends, co-workers and family, social media uses audio and video tools for broadcasting information. Many social networking websites, such as MySpace, make use of both blogging and podcasting, thereby combining social networking with social media.
Now, what exactly are blogs and podcasts?
What Is a Blog?
The word blog was derived from the word "weblog," which can be described as the online journal of an individual, a corporation or an organization. Blogs are usually written in the first person, and often contain subjective, as opposed to objective information.
What is a Podcast?
A podcast is an online audio file that is compressed into digital format and delivered through an RSS feed. In most cases, podcasts are used as a means of sharing information. As such, they are often used as a means of interviewing an expert in a given field, or creating an online audio seminar on a given topic. Given that it uses audio content, a podcast is considered to be a form of social media.
The Main Difference Between Blogging and Podcasting
The main difference between blogging and podcasting lies in the way the information is received. A blog is designed for reading, and a podcast is designed for listening. Blogs are usually read on a computer. In contrast, a podcast can be listened to over the Internet, on an iPod, an MP3 player, or, in some cases, a cell phone.
While blogs and podcasts are both delivered by an RSS feed, the podcast feed includes an element called an enclosure. An enclosure attaches a small audio file to an RSS feed by providing the URL where it can be downloaded.
Comparing Podcasting and Blogging Communication Styles
Although some people are blessed with both written and verbal talents, many are challenged by the written word. As such, bloggers often resort to using smileys and emoticons as a way of clarifying the emotion behind the message. Without a minimal talent for the written word, a blog may lack personality and persuasiveness. Fortunately, an inability to write well does not necessarily preclude an inability to speak well. A podcast allows the listener to hear vocal intonations, which can convey intangible qualities that relate to the podcaster's intelligence, sense of humor, irony and knowledge of their subject matter. In some cases, podcasts are set up as a question and answer session, which gives the listener an idea of how the podcaster relates to other people. If you are trying to sell a product or a service, this can be an important feature.
How Blogs and Podcasts are Promoted
Blogs and podcasts also differ in the ways that they are promoted. In general, bloggers submit their blogs to the blogrolls of bloggers who write about a similar subject matter. This is usually a reciprocal arrangement. In contrast, a podcaster will submit a podcast to a podcast directory, which is usually organized by subject. While a blogroll usually contains blogs that relate to a specific subject, a podcast directory may contain a number of categories.