The Next Big Social Network: It’s Not G+
Despite all the posts raving about it on basically every social media blog and news site known to mankind, Google+ is most assuredly not the next great social network.
I said it. Wanna make something of it?
Let me be the first to say: TurntableFM is the future of social networking.
A lot of jokes have been made about G+ being like Facebook, but not Facebook. And for many people, that’s enough. Sure, it has the Sparks and the Hangouts and is a very nicely designed social network.
But TTFM has something neither FB nor Google has: the ability to create an all-but-instant emotional connection between users.
I was working from home a couple Sundays ago and wanted some background music while I did some computer housekeeping, so I signed onto TurntableFM to see what all the fuss was about. The first room I found was labeled “80’s alt/new wave.”
Ah, the music of my teen years. You know, when I wore black on the outside because black was how I felt on the inside. (If you get the reference, you want to check this room out.)
The point is, music works on an emotional level and creates connections between people on a much stronger level than posting funny pictures on Tumblr or tweeting interesting stuff on Twitter or posting all that stuff on Facebook.
“Music is a really personal choice. When you can find a group of people who like the same music you do, there is an instant recognition of a kindred spirit – someone who shares a connection to a moment of time even though you’ve never met,” said Kristin Elliot (SheNerd).
I mean, don’t get me wrong – I’ve made new friends on Twitter and Facebook and Tumblr. People I consider actual friends, some of whom I’ve met in real life. In fact, Kristin joined Neex (the alt/new wave room – short for New Wave Excellence) on my recommendation; we’d first met because of Digg and Twitter.
But after less than a week of being on TTFM, NYC-area denizens of the alt/new wave room had our first meetup scheduled, for tomorrow. These are people who I added on Facebook without thinking twice about it. Heck, Kristin and I hadn’t connected on Facebook yet until TTFM.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized this was the social network we’ve been waiting for.
It’s not just the sullen youth of the 1980s who’ve found a home on TTFM. I’ve heard from friends of all ages, from all over the country, who have become addicted to TTFM’s addictive charms.
It’s all about the music. If you like the same music as someone else – particularly if it’s a specific genre you’re unlikely to hear on commercial radio – you have a connection that’s much stronger, even, than the TV shows you watch and the books you read.
Music strikes an emotional chord (pun intended). It has the ability, somehow, to remind us of things we thought we’d forgotten. You might see a TV show from your youth, but you aren’t going to remember what you were doing the first time you saw it. You know why? Because you were watching television.
Music serves as the soundtrack to our lives. A few notes of a song can take us back to our first kiss or the time we squeezed 12 people into a Datsun. We’re suddenly back with the people we shared these experiences with, and even if the people you’re talking to didn’t have those exact experiences, they had other experiences that were probably pretty similar.
“You make online friends instantly, because music has this ‘straight to your heart’ quality, which is much more effective than that often tedious creation of your online persona through text and images,” wrote Aleksandar Macašev (DJ Ellen Ripley), a fellow member of Neex.
For those of us in Neex, we were more likely than not to be kind of shy in school, certainly not in with the popular crowd. We don’t carry those scars with us, however – we carry that as a badge of honor.
The next stage of social networking is the niche, as many have said for years. TurntableFM’s niche is music. But it has the ability to create niches within that, niches that strike at our emotional cores.
I really liked the different thoughts everyone had about TTFM and so I’m sharing all their comments here almost in full.
DJ Ellen Ripley (Aleksandar Macašev)
Music seems to be the best social glue ever. It transcends all kinds of boundaries (age, ethnicity, background…) and it is so emotionally charged that sparks fly every time you meet a music soul mate.
I’m originally from Ex Yugoslavia (SE Europe) and it’s amazing how I instantly bond with someone from any part of the world over a couple of songs we both like. Like we grew up together.
I stumbled upon turntable.fm info on a random Facebook post literally five days ago, and being a bit of a social networking geek I clicked it immediately. After a couple of rooms I got stuck with this 80s Alt New Wave crowd and now I just can’t get out. It’s almost always there in the corner of my screen whether I’m DJing or not. It’s also this generational thing (30-40-ish) and it feels like founding a long lost family. You make online friends instantly, because music has this “straight to your heart” quality, which is much more effective than that often tedious creation of your online persona through text and images. Besides all of that one of the best features of turntable.fm is listening/DJing in real time and it simulates a real life situation better than any other social network service on the market.
After a couple of days I really wanted to meet some of DJs, so I initiated a live meetup for the NYC crowd. We’re gathering in East Village this Wednesday, 20 July.
eforce (Erica Forrette)
I have been on TT since nearly the beginning and even created my OWN “80s alt” room, but then I found Apa’s room. I have enjoyed hanging out in there so much because first of all, the music takes me back. What really adds to it for me is my fellow DJ’s. I thought I was an 80s music trainspotter, but man, I’ve discovered some great new (to me) music that I’d never heard before. I agree that I feel totally relaxed and at ease interacting with everyone; the shared interest in the music we play is a natural affinity- and respect-creator and genuinely creates what may be considered an instant connection. It’s been really interesting to watch how this mini-society has been working too. The group works together to ensure the rules are followed, and that everyone gets their turn. It’s so refreshing to see an online society not full of trolls and “LULZ” seekers. This group is super respectful of one another. Again, because of our shared musical tastes? And that’s also what keeps me coming back.
SheNerd (Kristin Elliott)
Kurt Vonnegut said it best: Music to me proof of the existence of God. It is so extraordinarily full of magic that in tough times in my life I can listen to music and it makes such a difference. (from the music doc 1GiantLeap)
My own thoughts: Music is a really personal choice. When you can find a group of people who like the same music you do, there is an instant recognition of a kindred spirit – someone who shares a connection to a moment of time even though you’ve never met.
I inadvertantly ruined a guy’s date at Red Rocks Amphitheater seeing Peter Gabriel. His date was in the restroom and he and I started chatting about our PG music and concert experiences. She came back and we kept talking about PG. She piped in her dissatisfaction that he had not performed Sledgehammer, and he looked at her and said, “You don’t get it. He’s more than that song.” The night didn’t end well for him.
Chris Hampton (apollonia666)
What I love so much about the 80’s alt/new wave room is that it has connected me with so many people who love all of these bands and artists and songs that nobody else I hang out with anymore ever even knew. It’s a nostalgia trip, sure, but in addition to wallowing in stuff we’ve always loved, we get to rediscover so much great music we’d not thought about for years, and introduce each other to so many bands otherwise forgotten by music history. I feel like I’ve found my tribe. It’s felt sort of like a whirlwind romance, but I hope it lasts longer than those usually do!
Timm Booker (Kaidoz the Timelord)
This site is the single most addictive thing since love itself was discovered. I can’t tell enough people about it, even though they look at me as though I have three heads! The camaraderie and the discovery for me has been groundbreaking. No radio plays this, no clubs dare play this, so it is up to us to keep these songs alive. Books have libraries and art has museums, music now has Turntable.fm!! And I am a better, happier person because of it!!
Benny Blanco (bennyblanco)
For me, TurntableFM has brought back an energetic feeling of the old chat rooms (vrave) in the ‘good ol’ rave days’ of the early 90’s and you just can’t get enough. I’ve had a few days where productivity at the day job may not be where it should be. I’ve dialed back the daytime consumption in fear of somebody catching on. My evenings are spent more and more with TurntableFM alongside as regular as ‘brushing my teeth before going to bed’.
This time, the feeling is only slightly different in that all of us on TurntableFM are highly accustomed to interacting in the digital realm and feel comfortable and at ease with the chat format after 20 some years of practice. The polarizing glue to all of this is the fast rotation of musical selectors and we have audio as the new technological component playing for us in the background. The conversation stays mostly focused on the music being played, a news tidbit somebody may have picked up or a past recollection or experience of why the song being played is special for them.
My personal selfish reason for enjoying Turntablefm so much is two fold. One, I desperately want to get ‘schooled’ on some music I slept on or missed out at the time (at least in the 80’s alt / new wave booth). The second reason is the gaming aspect of trying to earn ‘awesomes’ so I can have a bigger and better avatar, but that takes time which I cannot always give in to. Restraint is practiced frequently. I’m conscious of it too.
The social aspect has been a bit secondary, although I do find it easy to jump into a conversation to add tidbits, facts, urls, stories on the artists I’m well versed in. I think the sharing of information is something people appreciate here. Increasing their knowledge. The knowledge is already pretty high and I feel right at home and at ease with all the selectors. Trying to one-up the others on song selection is part of the fun for me anyway. If I were to attempt to have a similar conversation OUTSIDE of some of these TurntableFM rooms, I’d be just another boring music snob, but here on TurntableFM, everybody is pretty well educated in their areas of expertise which is comforting and can continue the dialog back and forth with such ease and added humor.
I have pondered aloud a few times in 80s alt / NEW WAVE as to what will become of TurntableFM in the future, the coming months. Right now, is the gold rush moment of this site, and I’m a bit terrified of the explosion of traffic that is yet to come. I’m down with more great people to come aboard, but I loath the potential of TROLLS coming in and disregarding room rules that have been setup and the overall vibe possibly changing for the worse.