Linked Out the Wazoo

Somebody urged me to join Classical Lounge, so I did, and lots of people there wanted to add me to their friends list, and I always pushed the “accept” button. And I started getting notices that people wanted to befriend me on Plaxo Pulse, so I’d go over there and thread my way through the web site, and then the similar LinkedIn requests started pouring in. And I got invited to join NetNewMusic, as did apparently my entire circle of acquaintances, because most of my e-mail time over the next couple of weeks was spent acceding to requests to link to people there. Many of the requests come from slight acquaintances I admire and certainly don’t want to insult by refusing, others come from complete strangers. But in either case, I haven’t figured out what the point is. 

If someone wants to get in touch with me, I already felt like the easiest-to-reach person in the blogosphere, with multiple web addresses and message sites. (Sensitive people think they get blocked by my spam filter, but it’s never true.) Given that I’m an introvert with a high need for privacy and prone to the occasional peevish mood, I’m still fairly sociable, and I certainly don’t want to give anyone the impression that I’m too high and mighty to join their little internet club. But I can’t imagine a situation in which someone wanted to get information to me who wouldn’t find it easiest to just add my e-mail address to a list. Maybe if I were young and on the lookout for career opportunities, some would come my way through this route, but my plate, insofar as casual acquaintances would seem to be able to fill it, is pretty full. I’ve found that I don’t like getting caught up in web forums, because my ideas are pretty unorthodox, and classical musicians often get offended by my views (like, I don’t know, my perception that most classical musicians are kind of stupid). And it takes about all my spare time to deal with mail to my own blog, where at least people already know what they’re getting into. If I want to talk to microtonalists I go to their Yahoo list, and I check in on New Music Box, and I look at people’s web sites when too tired to do anything else. I might also mention that I keep pretty busy.
I don’t take to new technologies very well, and maybe there’s something going on here that I just haven’t figured out – or maybe the people who run these sites are themselves just testing the waters. Is there something to these music e-friend groups that I should be paying attention to?


  1. says

    Might be that for a lot of people currently or such leaving the education system social networking sites seem more intuitive than e-mail. If you’re running the grad school/adjunct gamut, email addresses come and go but Facebook/NetNewMusic et al. stay the same.

  2. R.A. Moulds says

    I couldn’t have said it better myself, although my version of “What’s the point” seems to apply to all “social networking” sites (a few of which I’ve joined, for much the same reasons as you have). In fact, are you sure I didn’t write this?
    Best wishes,
    Rod Moulds

  3. says

    Hey Crusty, it’s the movable (messy but movable) feast! I’ve been traipsing around these places since days when there were only USENET and maybe MSN forums. There are a lot of folk that I keep bumping into; like when you’re in some other city and spot an earlier acquaintance sitting in the same café. But it’s kind of like each one has its own flavor, different toolset, and mix of people. Some are more just social touch-points, others provide opportunities for everything from innane banter to technical questions to meaty discussion. Many provide ways to get the most important thing out there: that person’s composition or performance as SOUND. You never know when you’ll bump into someone in, say, France, who’s doing something you totally admire; and suddenly its not just from afar, but you can even be personally communicating or even collaborating.
    KG replies: Thanks for the explanation.

  4. says

    I find Facebook to be useful and experimenting with Twitter to see what happens there but other than that, I’m not sure I see the point of being linked in all over the place.
    Like you, I’m fairly easy to find if someone took a notion, so having 10 listings of the same information seems like a waste of space.
    I’ve never really explored web forums but I’m not that inclined to do so. Discussing music, or any subject for that matter, is something I prefer to do in person.

  5. mclaren says

    Usually you always “get it” where tech is concerned, but this is one of those rare exceptions. Everyone under 30 today lives “in the cloud.” It’s all contextual. Your mention of email is the dead giveaway.
    People under 30 use IM or texting on cellphones, never email. They twitter one another for hourly updates. And how do you know who’s in range or who’s free? Check your social network links, which of course you access on your internet-capable cellphone.
    It’s a different way of doing things. Not better or worse: just different. You write books: people under 30 put up wikis. You email: people under 30 IM. You contact people on yahoo forums: people under 30 twitter one another. You write music using traditional music scores: people under 30 are apt to use networked softsynths that communicate collectively via algorithms, a la The Hub.
    There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches. A traditional score is permanent and can be studied and performed 100 years from now: but it takes a huge amount of time and manpower to get together a live performance of a symphony or a piano concerto. A networked composition for softsynths using compositional algorithms can be performed anywhere, cheaply and instantly, on short notice…but those softsynths and algorithms depend on an operating system (Mac OS X or Windows) that probably won’t exist or run on computer hardware 10 years from now, much less 100.
    Books reside on library shelves for the long term and excel at giving more or less permanent access to scholarship. But books don’t change once printed, and can’t reflect transformations in a scholarly field (as your remarks about the changes in the medieval scholarship reveal). Wikis get updated with each new piece of info, but they’re written on water – how many music websites from 10 years still exist and remain accessible?