Have you noticed that a good buzzword can make a technology sound far more interesting than it really is?
The technology buzzword for the 2005 general election is definitely "Podcast".
The iPod was the essential fashion item of 2004. Apple's digital music player caught the personal entertainment market sleeping, and their brilliant marketing put the iPod up there in the iconic brands hall-of-fame.
All that has been undone slightly, now that George Bush has got one, but anything with the word "Pod" in it still bathes in reflected coolness.
And Podcasting does sound rather cool. The sort of thing a forward-thinking politician might do to capture the youth vote. That's if voting itself wasn't so-last-year for the newly enfranchised.
But, as far as I can work out, Podcasting is simply putting pre-recorded audio on a website for downloading to an iPod!
On hearing the word for the first time, I assumed there was a revolution in digital broadcasting I needed to find out about and report back to my readers - and include it in the list of words I use to impress people by confusing them.
But sadly Podcasting doesn't involve clever Bluetooth or WiFi technology that beams audio to people's iPods. No high quality audio streaming across broadband connections either. Just downloading MP3 files - that's it!
In should really be called mp3casting. The iPod, if the truth be known, is actually the most propriety of digital music payers on the market, and prefers to use Apple's own music format, not MP3.
Given that there are other, increasingly popular MP3 players on the market, admittedly not as good looking as the iPod, but much better value and more compatible with open standards, to merely "Pod" cast limits the potential audience.
And who is the audience going to be?
Rob Fenwick, internet campaigns manger for the Lib Dems, claims their launch into the realm of party political podcasting was a success.
But who actually bothered to download the half hour speech by Charles Kennedy to their computer, on offer from the Lib Dem website? Then uploaded it to their iPod so they could listen to it on the way to work in the morning?
Of course the Liberals got the idea from former US presidential candidate John Kerry who, if I'm not mistaken, lost his election, but I guess we can't entirely blame that on his use of Podcasting.
What's worrying me is there are apparently people wondering around in public hearing voices no one else can hear.
You can image the potential for inserting subliminal messages, like "I must vote liberal", "I must vote liberal"; in fact I wonder what happens when you play the track backwards, "Tony Blair must die", "Tony Blair must die".
No, podcasting is no more than a buzzword, cleverly wrapped up in iPod clothing to gain popularity for something that is intrinsically dull: a bit like modern politics.
* Chris is managing director of Internet consultancy WebXpress. His articles can be found at webxpress.com