Who invented podcasting?

Tom Friedman really needs to check his facts.

Here’s an excerpt from today’s Financial Times:

This month, for instance, the audio version of The World is Flat became the top-selling podcast album on Apple’s iTunes audio downloading site, says the author.

“That got me enormous juice with my teenage daughters. But what’s really interesting is that when I started this book in March 2004, podcasting didn’t exist.

“And what’s even more interesting to me is: who invented podcasting? No­body. It was an application that just emerged from the network.”

Um, no. If Friedman just looks at his often-cited Wikipedia, he’ll find that there are inventors of podcasting. Sadly typical of Tom’s fast and furious approach to things. I like the critique the FT’s own Martin Wolf had of The World is Flat: “A bad, good book.”

Update I wrote a letter to the editor of the FT about this distortion:


You quote Tom Friedman saying, “Who invented podcasting? Nobody. It was an application that just emerged from the network.”

If Friedman looked at the Wikipedia, which he admiringly cites in the same interview, he’d see that podcasting does have inventors. Credit should be given to Dave Winer and Adam Curry.

Networks are wonderful things, but inventions don’t just spontaneously emerge.

Dave Winer has also commented: “Analogously, who wrote Tom Friedman’s latest book? No one, it just popped off the printing press.”

7 thoughts on “Who invented podcasting?

  1. dansays

    “The World Is Flat: A Briefl History of the 21st Century” isn’t even a podcast, it’s an audiobook, sold via Apple partnership with Audible.com.

  2. Daniel Conover

    I would pay money to watch Dave Winer debate Tom Friedman on any subject. Not because it would be an interesting exchange — just because it would be fun to watch Winer play with Friedman like a cat toy.

  3. Chris D.

    Odd how Friedman, as one wanting to be taken seriously, as a journalist & writer could be so sloppy with “the details” as he slings “lingo” about being down with the current trends and yet is mis-spoken rather garishly. It spells trouble for his book as this is likely not the only assertion of (his) fact-finding that , apparently leave out actual research. Reminds one that in the rush to meet deadlines some shortcuts are taken and then guys like Friedman get called on for being fast on getting the “product to market” and wrong on use of language! DUH!

  4. pwb

    Give me a break. Hardly anyone even agrees on what podcasting actually is. If anything, Friedman’s defintion is the most commonly understood one making his statement entirely accurate.

    Get over yourselves!!

  5. Steve B.

    The term itself is somewhat misleading, inferring that an iPod is required to have a podcast. Had the Zen player been the most popular player, podcasts may have been called zencasts. Also, some argue that pod actually stands for “personal on demand” and does not refer to the iPod.

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