“What the hell is that thing at the top of your blog?”
I’m still trying to figure out how to integrate it into the blog, or even if I want it at all, but for now, that graphic up there is a list of my recent listening courtesy of last.fm (and if you click on it, you can see an expanded list and much more). In my recent efforts to figure out just what the whole Web 2.0 social networking thing is all about, I’ve gotten myself to start using the likes of del.icio.us, flickr, Digg, and now last.fm. Actually, I started using last.fm a while ago, maybe a year and a half ago, but when I upgraded to the newer version of my music playback software (as detailed in this post), at the time version I upgraded to didn’t support the last.fm functionality.
So what exactly is this thing, anyway? It’s a “social music” site, which catalogs everything you listen to on your computer and sticks it in a database. Then, it shows you other listeners who have been listening to similar stuff as you, so that you can see who shares your tastes and what else they are listening to — kind of a cool way to find music you might like, in the same manner that del.icio.us lets you find links you might like. It’s a neat idea, especially with some of the new functionality allowing users to list concerts they’re going to and hook up with like-minded listeners in real life.
The flaw, of course, is that not all of my listening is done at my computer at home — I also listen on my MP3 player, in my car, and at work, and none of that can be catalogued by last.fm. Still, a neat idea and one that I am only just beginning to explore the full implications of.