Wednesday, April 06, 2005

You only love me for my ipod

An article in LiveScience describes a study of the emerging sociology of public sharing of Ipod libraries. People see your library on the LAN, and they start forming opinions about you. One man was afraid that his Justin Timberlake back catalogue (his excuse: it's my wife's stuff, honest!) would doom his position in the company's pecking order. My favorite epiphenomena from this report, though, sound strangely like the blog world:

People sometimes claim to listen to others' libraries when in fact they aren't interested and don't listen. Some people think their own libraries are unique, while coworkers might view them as just like many others.

Lastly, nobody likes an anonymous deejay."Most people didn’t want to listen to anonymous collections, even though they didn’t always want to talk to the playlists’ creators," Grinter said. "They went to quite a bit of trouble to figure out which playlists belonged to whom. It’s a peculiar social phenomenon. They don’t want to live in a completely anonymous world, especially in the workplace."

I started off intending to make fun of this phenomenon (get a job, etc.) but I do think there's a truth about human nature involved here. I have just returned from a conference, and maybe I'm sensitive to the kind of posturing that this nervousness provokes in me. I have to fight a wish to be all things to all people. In any case, I'll finish this post with Alexis de Tocqueville:

"when one can no longer rely on tradition or authority, one inevitably looks to others for confirmation of one's judgements. Refusal to accept established opinion and anxious conformity to the opinions of one's peers turn out to be two sides of the same coin."

Anyway I like Justin Timberlake, especially his wardrobe malfunction song. My deepest Ipod secret? Kraftwerk. It's amazing listening to them on the trains.

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