Tag Archives: facebook

The social network, or Wall Street 2

Wall Street 2. What did it tell us about our the spirit of the time we live in, the way the original did about the yuppie culture and 1980’s optimism? I haven’t seen it so I can’t tell you for certain, but from what I’ve read the answer to that question should be ‘nothing’.

Last night I saw the social network. A new movie about the beginning of Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerburg, by Aaron Sorkin, most famous for creating West Wing. I realized that this is the film that will be seen as the to capture the essence of the business environment going into the 2010s (unfortunately the essence seems to involve 0 smart women, but that is the subject for another blog post). In many ways, Sorkin has created a Wall Street for our times.

Most obvious, both Wall Street and the social network are treating the most hyped industries of their respective times. The 80s was a time defined by the artificial engine of the financial sector. There was a lot of ingenuity and if you were smart and ambitious, it was clear that you were supposed to work on Wall Street. While there are many things that define the first decade of the 21st century, the internet start-ups had a significant impact on the way business is being done now and completely changed the way people communicate with eachother. The most coveted job by college students, even business majors, is one at Google.

Gordon Gekko, the idolized antagonist of Wall Street, and Sean Parker, the founder of Napster who in the social network is portrayed as a socially savvy but slightly paranoid entrepreneur, share their dislike for the old way of doing business. Gekko stands up at a shareholders’ meeting and calls for a new era of business. One where greed is the guiding principle and there is no place for inefficient companies. Sean Parker, similarly, points an actual fuck you to the venture capitalists that cheated him, representing the entrepreneur as the clarifying hero of our time.

Most importantly, I think this movie will inspire a lot of people in the same way Wall Street did back in the 80s. Even if the financial sector of today was possibly deterred by the way Wall Street ended, many of those who came to work for the banks, hedge funds and investment companies were inspired by the terrific devotion and intelligence of Gordon Gekko. He was a maverick who did something new and nothing was to stand between him and his idea. The nerds and entrepreneurs who look up to Zuckerberg will mainly see his hard work and his strong belief in what he is trying to achieve with Facebook. The intelligent maverick is still the hero, but has changed from disruptive to a constructive force in society.

Zuck

I was able to see the social network thanks to Netopia, who arranged the preview.

From abundance to meaning in Spotify

Since Spotify Social was launched about a month ago, I have noticed some interesting behaviors among my Facebook friends when it comes to the use of playlists.

A number of my friends use their playlist column just to dump albums that they like. They have a (often) large number of playlists that each just contains one album. I guess this makes sense if you want to stay in the library mentality that iTunes is built on. Considering that Spotify now has a library of its own, with all the music that you have "saved" across all playlists sorted according to artist, title or album, makes this approach pretty much redundant.

Some of them, including me, try to organize playlists according to genre. So I have about 15 playlists each entitled things like Jazz, Reggae & Dub, French, 80s House, and I try to keep them somewhat homogenous, though it's pretty hard after a while and I started to doubt this approach when I almost added a new playlist called Electronic Upbeat Lounge. And you don't need to mention that Jazz should probably be at least five different lists, I know.

But the most interesting way to deal with the playlists is what you could call the "mood approach". Well, mood and/or situational, I guess. These people are making lists with songs that are homogenous, not in the way they sound, but in the mood or occasion they fit. This is not a new concept, people have been making mix tapes since the 80s, but it's quite a different thing when you can do it with this amount of music so easily available and in such a social manner. In fact, the playlists that I have enjoyed subscribing to the most are the ones that are completely mood based. It gives a lot more insight into the person who made them and allows for much more interesting music discovery.

This collection process and use of songs seems very postdigital [swedish link] to me. There seems to be a strong need (or natural tendency) for context when consuming music and Spotify are enabling their users to take heed of this need with their new social features.