All Spun Up!

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Pardon me. I should have started this post hours ago, but I’ve been a little distracted. There’s a new toy on the social web, it’s called Turntable.fm, and it may just take over my life. That’s the bad news. The good news is that every other music fan will be in the same boat, so I won’t be alone.

The concept is simple. You and your friends open up a room online and start playing music. The online space is designed to resemble a music club, with DJs on the stage and a crowd of avatars on the floor.

A room inside Turntable.fm

When one DJ quits, anyone else can jump on up and start playing music. Everyone can vote on each song, DJs rack up points for playing crowd-pleasers, and the online chat works like any other. A catalog of songs (thousands, at least) is built right in and you can upload any of your own tracks, too.

I read a Wired article in 2009, which pointed out that Google was the algorithm-based way to find information online until Facebook came along and allowed us to share information from our own friends and family. If you think about it that way, then Turntable.fm feels an awful lot like the humanized version of Pandora, which has thrilled listeners with its computer-generated picks for the past few years.

Let’s take that line of thought one step further: Have you played Words with Friends yet? Doesn’t most of its appeal come from the fact that you’re playing against other actual people? Would it be half as much fun to play against a computer? My guess is no.

One step beyond that and we get to the IMC Program. Computers allow us to participate, but the strength of this program rests solidly on the human interaction that takes place between students and instructors each week.

Wow, I had no idea that I was going to end up at IMC when I started this post (although I guess that is the idea with this blog). Mostly, I just wanted to tell you all about turntable.fm…because if I haven’t blogged again within the next few weeks…or turned in my IMC assignments…or seen my family, then someone should probably come find me there!

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2 Responses to “All Spun Up!”

  1. Jason Miller Says:

    Hi Barry,

    Thanks for this post! I love this idea and plan on spinning some records (i’m old) soon. I wonder what types of other social worlds will emerge based on the idea of marrying technology, people, and common interests.

    This is something that I have thought about for a long time. Consider Facebook- common interests can include being friends, working together, liking the same products and services, or just maybe meeting at a conference (hey are we Facebook friends?). None of these really get into niche interests like Turntable.

    I do believe that the next frontier in social media will resemble our class discussion. It will be niche groups coming together to play music or golf or discuss politics and solutions to social and economic issues.

    What do you think?

    • Barry Says:

      Hi Jason, that sounds about right to me. When Second Life came around, I was never tempted to join the virtual world because I have enough trouble keeping everything straight in the real world. Turntable.fm is virtual, too, but it’s a) only one room and b) dedicated to something that I really enjoy (I was a DJ in college). So, I can get my head around the concept (unlike Second Life) and it’s the perfect niche for me.
      And, why not golf? Given the popularity of Golden Tee and Wii Golf, there’s not much reason why a virtual, online version of the game shouldn’t take off.

      Thanks.

      -b

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