Jon Udell has a great post today with a video showing how to use and maintain a reel lawnmower. Jon's done other videos like this. As he mentions, video is a great way to show people how to do things. It's also pretty easy to do; I've had a TA building screencasts to help my CS330 students with topics I don't want to cover in class.
Jon uses the video as a segue to talking about commons-based peer production and mentions Yochai Benkler's talk at IT Conversations about peer production. I too was quite interested in that talk and enjoyed listening to it. Benkler argues that that decentralization and collaboration are shifting the balance of power toward the people in the production of knowledge, goods and services. Dan Farber had a piece on this morning on the power of the video clip that illustrates this nicely.
Jon also has some thoughts on the economics of distribution and some suggestions about "establishing the idea that naming, storage, content management, tagging, and community participation are separable concerns." For many podcasters, the cost of bandwidth is a real concern that limits their participation.
After Jennifer Napier-Pearce interviewed me on community broadband a few weeks ago, we were talking about the problems of "getting too popular" with a podcast. Clearly every podcaster dreams about it, but paying for it is another matter. With video, it's even worse. As Jon mentions, the technology is there, but we've still got some problems connecting tab A to slot B.