Podcasts and buzzword abuse

Attention boys and girls!

I generally try to curb my pedantic tendencies when it comes to talking about technology.  I understand that most of the world does not care one whit about the technical minutiae that interests me.

But one thing that can instantly send me into a geek rage is the misuse of the term “podcast.”

 Wikipedia defines a podcast as:

… a digital medium consisting of an episodic series of audio, video, PDF, or ePub files subscribed to and downloaded through web syndication or streamed online to a computer or mobile device. The word is … derived from “broadcast” and “pod” from the success of the iPod, as audio podcasts are often listened to on portable media players. 

Pretty specific, right?

Unfortunately, too many people (even those who are supposedly tech-savvy) have glommed onto the term without understanding what it actually means.  Far too often I have seen the definition of “podcast” expanded to the point that it is used to describe any generic multimedia file – at which point it becomes meaningless.

Stop that.  Stop that right now. It’s buzzword abuse.

This may seem like a strange thing to get worked up over, seeing how podcasts had their moment in the sun several years ago and aren’t exactly newsworthy these days; but I still run across the term being used incorrectly on a disturbingly regular basis.

If it’s a single, standalone audio file, say “audio file” or “mp3” (or whatever is appropriate).  But if it’s not episodic, and I can’t subscribe to it?  Not a podcast.

Class dismissed!