For nearly four years, Fiona has been doing an Internet based radio show on Blogtalkradio. Earlier this month, she interviewed Jen Alexander about Middnight on Main, a big New Year's Eve celebration in Middletown, CT.
I've been working to help promote the event and I asked if Fiona could get a press pass. Everyone agreed, so she will be attending the celebration as a journalist. She is very excited.
We've spent time pouring over the list of great bands and other performances, as well as the food trucks and other wonderful eating opportunities. I've tweaked Kim's phone to make it easier for Fiona to tweet and blog and do interviews from Kim's phone.
I've also set up some new pages for Fiona. She is too young to have a Facebook account according to their terms of service. However, an older person can set up a Facebook page for her, so I've set up Facebook Fan Page. I also set up a page on about.me to make it easier to find some of her postings.
With that, it is time for us to rush out and begin the festivities and the coverage.
Recently, I've been doing more and more with Spotify, and I'm really liking it. It shares to Facebook and last.fm. If you go to my timeline on Facebook, you can see a nice overview of what I've been listening to and get more details if you click on the Music tab. Yet some of the statistics are questionable.
Last.fm has some similar statistics. I don't have a strong opinion about one verses the other. However, Spotify also has a Last.fm app, which provides some nice recommendations based on what I've been listening to. The recommendations seem pretty good, so I'm playing some recommendations.
There are other Spotify Apps, such as for connecting to Tunewiki, so you can sing along to the lyrics, or a mood radio to select music based on your mood. Now, mashing up last.fm and mood radio might be good, so I can have recommendations based on what I've liked when I've been in different moods.
The other thing I've been doing a lot is experimenting with playlists. For example, I've been helping promote Middnight on Main, a New Year's Eve Festival that will be happening in Middletown, CT on the 31st. So, I created a Middnight on Main Spotify Playlist of various performers that will be there.
I also created a playlist of the Falcon Ridge Most Wanted 2012 performers.
You can also check out what other friends on Facebook have been listening to or have put in their playlists. So far, I haven't found much of interest there yet. So, are you doing anything interesting with Spotify?
The other day, I was listening to the radio and I heard something that has set me off in the search of a Musical Linguistic Virus. The idea comes from Neal Stephenson's novel, Snow Crash. In Snow Crash there is a bio linguistic virus which ends up getting spread via virtual worlds. It seems to be a pretty virulent science fiction virus, but it seems like the idea isn't really all that far from reality.
Ideas, snippets of music, and memes have been spread from one person to another for ages. Perhaps a good example is an ear worm. Even without the Internet, ear worms can spread quickly. For people my age, I could simply mention, "Lovin' You" by Minnie Riperton, and many of my friends would not be able to get the tune out of the head.
Yet perhaps musical linguistic viruses in the Internet Age are more complicated. It wasn't a simple ear worm that I heard on the radio that I haven't been able to get out of my head. Instead, the host of the radio show was talking with guests from a band. They talked about key musical influences, bands from the eighties, and reusing samples. Perhaps they are taking musical DNA from the eighties and mutating it into new ear worms or musical linguistic viruses.
They mentioned Brian Eno, so I started to listen to some of his ambient music series on Spotify. This is a new avenue where musical linguistic viruses can spread. A thought came to me listening to a radio show. I pursued the thought on Spotify by listening to the music. Spotify posted to my Facebook Timeline that I had listened to Brian Eno and friends commented on it.
Steven L Johnson said, "That's what I listen to when I want to nap. :-)".
I responded, "Well, I've had a LONG week, and I'm actually going to crash soon." In fact, I did head off to bed soon after that, but my mind continued to turn about this. How does music affect what we think? How much does it reflect the current culture? Can we culture jam spreading different musical linguistic viruses via the Internet?
Perhaps an interesting project would be to create word clouds of the lyrics to the 25 songs of each year and tracking how it has changed.
So, what are you listening to? Why are you listening to it? How is it changing you? Perhaps most importantly, can we change what we listen to and how we talk about it to change our country and our world?
I want this New Years' Eve to be one to remember, so I've been thinking about how to invite all my friends to a giant New Years' Eve party. Currently, I have 2,226 friends on Facebook, so I need to do something special.
First, the little house we're renting just isn't big enough for 2,226 people to come to, even if they come at different times. So, I needed to find some other party worth going to and worth inviting all my friends.
The Community Health Center where I work is a lead sponsor of Middnight on Main, a large First Night style New Years' Eve event in Middletown, CT. There are a lot of great acts and events that will be there.
While there are many different events that will take place at Middnight on Main, we decided to create one large overarching event for the whole evening. The question becomes, how do we invite everyone.
I could go through and click on each friend, one after another, but with 2,226 friends, that would take a while. However, there are people who have written about how to invite all your friends at once. This blog post is one of the better descriptions of the process. I've tested it in Chrome and Safari and it has worked for me, with a few special things to note.
Also, as noted in the updates, be sure to scroll down to the end of your friends list before running the script. Otherwise, it will only get the first fifty to one hundred friends.
The next thing to note. Since this is an event in Connecticut, it probably doesn't make sense to invite many of my international friends. I did invite some while I was testing, and others because I figured they would do a good job of helping spread the word. However, I really wanted to target the invitation to all of my local friends.
Since I haven't done a lot with lists, my lists aren't still all that great, but I used this to invite a bunch of people that I thought would be interested, and for some lists, adding a special message to target my invitation.
One of my writing themes for this year has been about living your life as if you were living the great American novel, or at least a collection of great American short stories. It reflects the medium I am most comfortable with, the written word. Yet I know others that are more comfortable with visual representations, or music, and there are times that I stare at the blank screen, trying to conjure words for things I just can’t find words for.
Recently, many sites are coming up with their retrospectives on 2011. I look through the images and videos. I listen to the music, and I wonder how to pull all of it together. I remember during the beginning of the Iraq war, people defending the war suggesting it would lead to an outbreak of democracy across the Middle East. As we prepare to leave Iraq, we can look back at the Arab Spring. What role did the Iraq war play in this?
I also remember climate change activists talking about who climate change would bring about food riots and more severe weather patterns. What role did food riots play in the Arab Spring? What role did climate change play in the rough weather we had in 2011?
Then, there were the people predicting the end of the world; if not this year, then the next. Looking at war and political unrest, at earthquakes and extreme weather, it is easy to wonder if these are signs of the end times.
As I look at the economic turmoil in Europe, and the failure of leaders in Europe, here in the United States in our Congress, and across the world to address growing income disparities, and the unrest that comes from economic woes, I have to wonder where we are headed. Is this another warning of the end times? Will the economic unrest grow and lead us to another World War? Will Internet based communications change the way we deal with these large issues?
I look back to art, to words, images, and music. 2011 Still Life. Yes, despite the predictions at the end of 2011, there is still life, and perhaps it could be represented in some sort of image.
Perhaps a Twenty First Century Guernica, with images of uprisings and tsunamis, of storms and of pepper spray. Perhaps as the year comes to an end, we need an image of honey badger taking out Father Time, and because no internet image is complete without it, we need kittens and double rainbows. So intense.