Blogs, and Podcasts, and Mobility, Oh My

You know, that title annoys me too. Last weekend my wife, daughter, and I spent part of one our days off having a movie day down in our basement. We made some popcorn and rested in the dark watching the original “Wizard of Oz” … my daughter, who is four and half, was a little freaked out but she loved it. I have thus walked around all week hearing snippets of songs from the film that she is singing that have just lodged themselves into my brain matter.

I don’t have a ton to say other than a little observation about what the people at ESPN are doing. If you haven’t spent any time over there in a while it might be good to do that — not for the sports coverage, but for how they seem to just own every vertical in the information distribution game. Even on the web. Here’s what I mean:

  • The have bloggers reporting from the World Cup, Wimbeldon, and every other sporting events out there. This doesn’t seem interesting other than the fact that they are embracing at least a big notion of the read/write web. Smart sports people write stuff and we get to comment on it.
  • They have embraced podcasting with a vengeance. Not sure if you have seen their “PodCenter” or not, but you can get just about every single piece of content coming off the TV or radio here. They are repurposing media as well as anyone right now.
  • Those damn, Mobile ESPN commercials are campy and annoying but it shows an interest in attacking a very powerful market. They didn’t just settle for being part of the “in crowd” with dominating the sports podcasting space … they are going after some serious new ground with a dedicated phone with a dedicated service that sports its own interface and live streaming content. I don’t own one, but would like to see it.
  • Speaking of content, you probably have noticed the whole ESPN 360 thing … They have something like 10 channels of TV content. What is cool, for certain events they can simul-cast stuff on all their networks. Last winter they did it with the Duke vs. UNC game. If Public Broadcasting wants to know what to do with all those new digital channels, maybe they should make a trip to ESPN Networks and learn how to work your bandwidth. Oh, yeah, they do a boatload of radio stuff as well.
  • Their site spits out RSS for everything, they have dashboard widgets to keep you updated, and again they are repurposing their TV content via Flash-powered streaming media. There is more to explore.

So when I am asked why would we want to provide blogs, empower podcasting, and envision additional services for faculty and students I am going to start pointing them to ESPN.com to look at it all. Why not work the Web to offer as many opportunities as you can for faculty, staff, and students to take part in the digital space?

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