2008-03-29

Where have I been and what have I been doing?

Well, for the last week or so I have been diverting my online energies to Last.fm, specifically forming a group of Last.fm listeners who like RIDE, my favourite band. So far the group has managed to get 70 people join in the last 8 days.

The tactics I have used are relatively simple. Anyone at Last.fm can create a group and so I created "The Mouse Trap" (the name of our group) on March 21st. I then began to trace Last.fm listeners who were listening to RIDE and invite them to the group.

On Last.fm, every band has its own page, and everyone who subscribes to Last.fm and who listens to music on their PC or mp3 player can "scrobble" their tracks to last.fm, giving each individual their own playlist. Click here to see mine. Of course data from thousands of Last.fm listeners is pouring into the site continually, which also allows you to see who's been listening to a certain band or a certain song. Click here to see who has been listening to RIDE in the last few minutes.

Armed with this knowledge, I visit the personal Last.fm page of every RIDE listener and plonk a message in their "shoutbox". The first message went like this:
Attention. All RIDE fans are ordered to join "The Mouse Trap" group. Failure to do so will lead to global chaos.
http://www.last.fm/group/The+Mouse+Trap+-+Ride+fans
Completely overbearing of course, but when you look at the Mouse Trap page, you'll see this description of the group:
Recent peer-reviewed studies by musicologists have come to the conclusion that RIDE is the greatest band in the history of music. This controversial study is based upon scientifically tested empirical experiments which prove beyond any doubt that RIDE, a one-time "Shoegazing" band from Oxford, England, is many magnitudes superior than any other band in all histories of music, including extrapolations using Quantum mechanics of potential bands that will arise in the future, as well as those that have arisen in alternative universes.

If you have been convinced of these plain facts, then please join our group - The Mouse Trap - which will act as a conduit of truth and harmony towards humankind for centuries to come as RIDE's songs turn our dirty globe into a utopian paradise in which Mark Gardener, Andy Bell, Laurence Colbert and Steve Queralt reign as a Quadrinity, dispensing their wisdom to a world that is still painfully suffering from exposure to too many Spice Girls songs.

So, grasshopper, leave those other groups all behind, come up for air, get stuck in the Mouse Trap and watch your dreams burn down as the seagull leaves a vapour trail across the sky. Just make sure you don't go in a different place, lest you be paralyzed like a daydream and end up nowhere.
So, am I overstating the case here? Of course. But, then again, elevating a mere band to semi-godlike status is quite common, and RIDE lovers I contacted in the Shoutbox seemed to enjoy the description and began joining in droves. One or two people have joined because they were looking for a RIDE group, but most of the (now 70) members joined because I wrote an invitation in their shoutbox.

And when they joined, then what? I would give them this welcome message:
You are now a member of "The Mouse Trap" group and have made the world a better place because you listen to RIDE. Your life is now complete.
After the group passed 50 members, I changed the invite to this (which is what I am using now):
Attention. RIDE fans have been flocking like Seagulls to join "The Mouse Trap" group in order to prevent their Dreams from Burning Down. Please join our group and turn our world into A Different Place.
http://www.last.fm/group/The+Mouse+Trap+-+Ride+fans
As leader of this growing group I've begun to initiate discussions about the group's Last.fm page, giving over important decision making to them (and thus empowering them and increasing their "ownership" of the group). One member runs an IRC channel and is willing to set one up for us so we can converse in real time.

In retrospect, what I have been doing is forming an online community. These are 70 people who don't visit my blog (although some no doubt visit) and we have music, rather than politics, in common. From what I can gather, the formation of the Last.fm RIDE online community has been achieved very quickly in comparison to other Last.fm groups. One group I am a member of, the Warlocks group, has 58 members but has been in operation since August 2005. The RIDE group I have formed is bigger but has been only operating since March 21st 2008.

We'll see how this goes. I'm just enjoying a diversion from politics, economics and the environment and opinionation at the moment.

BTW, if you're a music lover, I seriously suggest you give Last.fm a good tryout. Membership is free and, at the very least, you can listen to some good music streams on your media player.

1 comment:

Dave Lankshear said...

Wow. I wonder if that would work for listeners to other online stations like environment groups? See, I'm not sure what you guys are going to TALK about all day long in your group... but there's an oil crisis coming!

Black and gooey,
smooth as silk,
gluggy as peanut butter,
causing war and filth
Chorus:
yeah yeah yeah my brains exploding