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8tracks.com and the art of overstatement

blossoming 8trackI received an email from 8tracks.com on Saturday with the subject header “You made an impact in someone’s life with your playlist!” It announced that yet another 8tracks subscriber has “liked” one of my lists, and continued:

Hello Matthew,

A powerful bonding moment just happened: 1 person liked your mix! The world can be a lonely place sometimes, but not today.

I have mixed feelings about these sort of messages. The hard nosed anti-sentimentalist side of my brain immediately bristles at the missive. “C’mon Matthew,” it curmudgeons me. “You don’t seriously think you actually powerfully bonded with 8tracks user ‘notesarefalling’ because s/he ‘liked’ your mix, right? As for the world not being a lonely place today because of the microtransaction, I think we’ve strayed into the Get A Life Department here.”

Growl . . . On the other hand, it is possible to receive the message as a cute, campy slice of overstatement, not to be taken very seriously, but not to be dismissed entirely, either. A tiny sliver of encouragement packaged in amusing prose.

In any event, before I forget . . . hey notesarefalling: thanks!

In a related piece of online alienation, I now have no less than 554 followers on Tunein, but still haven’t the vaguest idea how to communicate with them within the Internet service itself. I can follow them back, or I can “share” their links on Facebook or Google Plus or Twitter. But that’s as far as it goes. So why are they following me? Because of the three radio stations I’ve bookmarked within Tunein’s infrastructure? I don’t get it.

You can’t really be a social networking application if users can’t talk to each other within the app. In SoundCloud you can post comments on tracks. On YouTube you can make comments on video/songs and playlists. On Spotify you can export your playlists to blogs where people can comment. It’s got to be that way for it to be really social. Or at least I think so.


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