The fact that we’re in the 200-level courses doesn’t mean we’re done with the 100 level, but that we’re talking about an unorthodox and somewhat creative use of the Yammer platform.
As I indicated in Yammer 110, Yammer now allows the upload and sharing of documents or files. And it’s not just limited to PDFs, spreadsheets or Word documents. You also can upload mp3 files, and I did one of those that was 18 MB.
That got me thinking: what if a company decided to use Yammer as a way of distributing “podcasts” to its employees?
It would be unconventional, which is why I put “podcasts” in quotes. A podcast is typically considered a series of audio or video files to which you can subscribe via RSS. By that measure, a Yammer “podcast” wouldn’t exactly fit the definition.
So I’m coining a new term:
A yammercast is an audio file you distribute through Yammer, and it has some significant advantages over other means of distribution.
In the 100-level podcasting courses, we used the built-in MacBook Pro microphone and Audacity as the source for audio files. (See Podcasting 103).
Here’s an example of one of those files, from Podcasting 109. You’ll note some hum and a bunch of background noise.
This course, Podcasting 201, is about a MacGyveresque hack that enables you to get much better sound quality.
One of the limitations of the Flip as a video camera is that it doesn’t have an audio input jack, so you’re stuck with its built-in microphone. That means that in a noisy environment, such as I experienced at the U.S. Transplant Games, background noise can be bothersome.
But if you’re not concerned about the video you’re getting, the Flip can actually be a pretty nifty audio recording device.
Here, for example is the audio from Podcasting 110, which I recorded using a Flip Ultra.
So how do you do that?
First, because you aren’t concerned about the picture, you can hold the Flip right next to your mouth to get maximum pick-up of your voice. Here is a frame grab from when I recorded Podcasting 110.
Nice angle, huh?
At any rate, once you’ve captured the audio by holding the camera nice and close to your mouth, all you need to do is open the .AVI file from the Flip in QuickTime Pro (for Mac) or a similar Windows program, and export the audio as a .WAV file.
Then you can open the file in Audacity and edit in the same way as you would in Podcasting 103, saving your edited file as an mp3.
If you have another kind of video camera, such as a mini-DV, that also could be used to capture audio, but the steps involved would be much more complicated. With the Flip, it’s just about as easy as using the built-in computer microphone, but with much better quality.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m still going to be mostly putting the Flip to its intended use. But until I get another source for audio in my personal podcasts, it will be my digital audio recorder too.
A podcast is the perfect vehicle for providing in-depth audio and video information to an interested audience. And not just an “audience,” but a community: if you use a blog to distribute your podcast, listeners can provide feedback through their comments. This post is a recap of Social Media University, Global’s 100-level Podcasting courses, and will take you step-by-step through everything you need to create your own podcast
Best of all, the education is completely FREE. SMUG has no tuition, and all of the tools to create and distribute your podcast used and recommended in these courses are free.
Use WordPress.com as your FREE server for delivering podcasts (a $20 savings over typical costs, exclusively for SMUG students)
Enhance your podcast feed through Feedburner so you can get traffic and usage data, and so your users can more easily subscribe, and
Get your podcast listed in the major podcast directories like the iTunes Store and Podcast Alley.
You’ll do all of this without spending a penny, but just investing your time, assuming you have access to a computer with a built-in microphone. Then, after you’ve experimented with your own personal podcast, you will have the confidence born of first-hand knowledge and hands-on experience that will enable you to make decisions on how and whether to use podcasting in your work or volunteer organizations. Here are the 10 steps to your free podcast:
Upon completion of these 10 steps, you will receive your non-accredited Associate of Arts in Podcastology and will be added to the SMUG Dean’s List. Then you’ll be ready to explore advanced courses at the 200-level and above, learning about production enhancements like better recording devices, adding music to your podcast without going to jail, conducting interviews remotely through Skype, mixing tracks and adjusting recording levels, and otherwise making your podcast more professional.
Please give your feedback on this 10-step free podcast program, either in the comments below or on the individual courses. We’re always open to suggestions on how we can improve the educational experience.
And if you find the program helpful, please use your blog, Twitter, Facebook — or the buttons below — to share it with your friends and colleagues.
Note: This post is part of the Podcasting curriculum for Social Media University, Global.
In Podcasting 105 through 108 we demonstrated how you can use a WordPress.com blog as a server to create an RSS feed for your podcast, and can subscribe to your podcast by cutting and pasting that feed URL into your iTunes program. But using the native RSS feed from WordPress.com has a couple of disadvantages:
It doesn’t give you feed statistics, so you don’t know how many people are subscribing. That’s fine if you are doing a personal podcast just for fun, but if you’re doing this in a work environment your employer will likely expect better statistics so you can determine whether the podcast is worthwhile.
Cutting and pasting is a little clunky for your users. They have to know how to subscribe manually in iTunes, and it would be a lot better if there was a nice interface to guide them through the process.
“Burning” your feed through Feedburner.com provides solutions to both of those problems, as you will see and hear below:
Go to Feedburner and set up an account. You will be able to use this to burn your RSS feeds for your WordPress.com blog as well (to be described in a future post in the Blogging curriculum), but it all starts from having a Feedburner account (as Toby Palmer now does).
Go back through the earlier courses in the Podcasting curriculum so you can record an audio file and launch your own student podcast. As you will see in Podcasting 105, we have a standing offer for any SMUG student to create a free podcast hosted from the SMUG Podcast Blog (and thereby avoid paying the $20/year additional fee to WordPress.com in order to experiment with your own podcast.)
After you’ve learned how to do a personal podcast, you’ll be ready and confident in your abilities to launch one for your business or non-profit organization. You’ll probably want to spend a little money on better recording equipment, and at that point paying the $20 to be able to podcast from your own blog will be well worth it.
But our goal at SMUG is to let you experiment with all of these tools without spending even a penny of your own money, only investing your time in the on-line education process. So please take advantage of the opportunity and start your own podcast today.