Facebook is great for a lot of things. It helps us keep in touch with family and friends without having to actually call them, allows us to play games in our browsers when we should be working and helps us remember birthdays we'd forget.
It allows me to be a hermit while giving the illusion that I'm really involved in the world, and for that I thank Mark Zuckerberg. At 28, due to his creation, he's roughly 17.5 billion times wealthier than me and probably very difficult to buy presents for.
It's not all sunshine and roses in the land of Facebook. Part of being involved in social circles means having to deal with all the annoying things the people that you know (or kind of know or tangentially know) do.
John Lomax covered many of these annoyances awhile back over in Hair Balls, and they all still apply. That said, there are other, music-related annoyances regarding Zuckerberg's baby worth noting; here are five first-world problems that happen on a regular basis.
1. Spamming Your Band: There's nothing wrong with wanting to be creative and if people want to start bands or go the solo route, that's awesome. If they make their music freely available, I'll check it out in hopes of finding something new. And hey, if they get booked for a show, more power to them.
That said, if your friends don't live in the same city as you, don't send them event invites to your show. We're supposed to be your friends and not people you're cold-calling trying to sell something to. Spamming everyone on your list shows that you don't really care who shows up to your show, and if you don't care, why should we?
Post a status update about the show, invite the friends in your area and don't get upset when people decline. And if they say that "I'm busy" then later post an update about the thing they're doing that isn't your show, don't get upset; they told you they were busy.
2. People Are Lazy Sharers: The more people you know, the more viral videos you encounter. Sometimes you get the same video multiple times in an hour, sometimes they show up slowly over the course of two weeks.
The problem with viral videos is not that some people are behind the times. The problem with viral videos is that no one ever bothers to explain why anyone should click them.
Look at that video above. It's popped up multiple times this week. It's not bad, it's not great. It's probably enough to get him on Ellen.
But not a single person explained why the song was worth checking out. Plenty of "OMG! This song is going straight to my iPod!" and "Why can't this be the original??" but nothing about the actual content of the video.
If you really want to share videos, at least include some frame of reference about why the video is interesting. It takes ten seconds, max.
3. Music Memes Are Mostly Lame: Memes are the new chain letters. Whether it's encouraging people to change their status for an hour or mentioning where someone leaves their purse, they spread like wildfire before eventually burning out.
A good meme is a rarity. A good music meme is even rarer.
Listen, I understand that you don't listen to hip-hop so using your initials and an arbitrary list to come up with your Wu-Tang Clan name seems really cute, but it's not. If I wanted a Wu, name I'd use the Wu-Name Generator like Donald Glover.
You don't have to contribute to every meme you come across. Be selective.
And for the record, the song that was No. 1 on the day you were born has nothing to do with how you turned out as a person. You were fully formed at that point. That meme would have still been stupid if you looked at the song nine months before you were born, but at least it would have made sense.4. Song Lyrics Don't Make You Deep:
Everyone knows that if you love music it plays a big part in your life. It inspires us, it comforts us.
If you've ever had a journal and you've ever been depressed, you probably wrote down song lyrics to try and make sense of your pain or give a journal entry a primer before you explained what was wrong.
The immediacy of our culture has made it to where the journal entry is now tossed aside. Instead, we're content to quote the songs and let everyone else interpret what it possibly means.
That said, we could all agree to try a little bit harder when it comes to what songs we use to define us. You guys got into a fight about where to go for dinner -- now is not the time to bring "Love the Way You Lie" into the conversation.
Unless you want your friends to hate your significant other. In that case, quote away.
5. Choose Your Recommendations Wisely: The more things you're signed up for, the more information Facebook spits out about you. You share your video-game scores, reading habits and the songs you listen to.
Spotify isn't the first service that allows other people to see what you're listening to, but it's the one that seems to have the most integration with Facebook. You don't even have to be on Facebook to see what your friends are listening to. It's right there in the program.
While we can see what they're listening to, we don't have any context for it. I listen to Skrillex at work because it's loud and wakes me up, but I rarely listen to it at home. Since I don't listen to Spotify at home, you could get the impression I was really into brostep when really it's just something that keeps me awake.
Resist the urge to share music just because you see someone listening to something. If you really want to turn them on to something, send them a message and see what they thought of the original song. If they dig it, share away. Sending music isn't social; talking about music is.
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