[Air-l] Facebook protests

Martin Garthwaite marting at gmail.com
Thu Sep 7 08:04:40 PDT 2006


Nancy,

I have just completed my MSc in New Media, Information and Society at LSE
and am currently working at the BBC is Radio and Music Interactive; I have
had a meeting with last.fm guys. Not surprisingly the CTO is very young as
are most of his team, they developed the idea whilst at university. We
absolutely love what they are doing!

So they are computer scientists, not social scientists. This is a very
important distinction, what you have described is a classic example of
unintended consequences  / social shaping of technology. These guys only
have their perspective through which to try and understand what it is their
users want, but they are not social scientists. If only they and other
social networking sites had a trained social scientist on staff!

I feel extremely fortunate in that in my undergrad degree I trained as a
computer scientist and my postgrad as a social scientist - I feel very well
equipped to see both view points, the biggest problem is that scientist are
very binary, they really don't like fuzziness

We have done an interesting experiment with last.fm, we set up user accounts
for our radio stations and pump in the songs played in real time, this has
generated some very surprising findings; one of our radio stations is
currently a very good predictor of future pop music trends. I find
last.fmvery very interesting, but these guys are still working out how
they will
make money.



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