I have a Spotify Unlimited subscription which I created as soon as Spotify became available in the U.S. If I am not listening to Podcast or watching something I am listening to music on Spotify. I also have a Facebook account, mostly to keep up with my family and friends from high school and college. Occasionally if there is a song I really like or it triggers a memory I share it to Facebook, along with Twitter and Google Plus With the new Facebook update if you connect your Spotify account to Facebook, every song that you play is shared to it. There are several other music applications that also work this way, including IHeartRadio, Earbit, Rdio, Slacker Earbit and Songza.
I connected my Spotify account and it works. If you have your Facebook account open to your profile and you are listening to a song, that song will appear as you are listening to it. I connected my Spotify account to Facebook for a couple of days and then decided that my friends really didn’t need or want to know every song I listened to. Plus because I have music playing in the background and I like to try new playlist from ShareMyPlaylist I may not even like the song that is playing. I am just doing some exploring to find new songs, artists and bands. One solution would be to disconnect Spotify from Facebook entirely, but I don’t want to do that. I could see using the information later to set up playlist. I just want to have more control on what I share and when I share it. My solution to this has been to go into app settings in Facebook and click on edit and then go to custom settings and set the share to only me. I hope this will work when the new Facebook changes go public. I want to use Facebook to collect the information, but only share the songs I want to. I wish there was a way to be able to share specific genre to specific groups, For example if I am listening to jazz music then I only want to share that with friends who like jazz and not those who like rap.
I am also not happy with the way apps are being integrated and dependent on Facebook. For example if you want to sign up for Spotify now you must have a Facebook account. To me this is a case of putting all your eggs in one basket. Granted Facebook is a big basket. However not everyone wants to have a Facebook account for various reasons including privacy concerns. Spotify has now cut itself off from these potential users. Plus it means as a user the more the apps I use are integrated into Facebook the harder it is to leave. I have already been through the walled-garden era with AOL, I really don’t want to go back.
On Monday Facebook will be making a special announcement, the latest rumor is that they are going to be announcing an email program that is run through Facebook. If this rumor is true, then to me this is a step backward to the walled gardens of yesterday. If you’ve were on the Internet in the 1990′s and early 2000′s then you remember AOL at its height. You would get the disk in the mail pop it in your computer and you were in the AOL universe. Want the news sure you could have it as long as it was what AOL said was the news. Entertainment no problem as long as you wanted what AOL had to offer. For a long time this was the Web to a lot of people. It was safe and seemed to have everything you wanted. Of course those who were computer savvy knew that the Web was a whole lot larger and the Web itself was only a small part of the the larger Internet. AOL was just one room in a house standing in the middle of a huge world. Once people knew that there was a larger web out there then AOL felt like a prison rather then a garden. Happily with the explosive growth of broadband and the decline of dialup the AOL walled garden broke down and the Web opened up for most people
To me Facebook is rebuilding that walled garden and many people are happy to play all day in that garden. There seems to be everything you need there games, music, news video and according to the rumors starting soon email. Everything you could want, except what happens when or if you want to leave, how easy is it to get or stuff back, your pictures, your videos. Or God forbid you get banned from Facebook, which can happen and does. Many times the person who is banned doesn’t know why and it can take awhile to correct the problem. Meanwhile you can’t get to anything on Facebook, image if this happened and your email was in Facebook. I realize this is a bit of dooms day talk, but it does happen.
I want to make it clear I not against Facebook, I use it all the time to keep up with my family and friends. However I make sure that when I add something to Facebook, like a picture or video I also upload them to my own Web site, which I own. It’s important that you have a place that you own for the important things you put on line. If you can’t afford a Web site then at least upload your pictures and videos to multiple sites. Also make sure there is a way to get the media back if you want to leave a site. What ever happens Monday I’m sure it will be the talk of both the tech world and the social media world. It will be interesting to watch.
Let me share my feelings on Apple products. I don’t like them period. It is not because they suck or are not easy to use. Clearly they are user friendly and from what I hear do not suck. That is why they are so popular. But the company is so controlling about what you can do with their products. And make no mistake it is their product even after you put down your hard earned money for it. Sure you can use it when you want, take it where you want, even sell it when you get ready to do so. But try to alter it or use it in a way Apple does not care for, then you have trouble. And they can even disable your device in cases like the iphone. Try to move your itunes library to another computer or media device not made by Apple and you will see who really owns “your” stuff. I tried to get my wife’s songs from her itunes library into mp3 format so I could place them on a new Creative Mp3 player. Well if I wanted to burn cds of all the songs and go on a digital adventure that would last hours I would have went ahead. But I just gave up. I understand why they create a walled garden. It is to keep people using their devices the way Apple deems appropriate. But it also keeps people like me who like a little flexibility in their tech devices from buying Apple products. I know Steve Jobs will make it without my few dollars though:) .
The story Todd did on the last podcast about some people’s iphones getting disabled because they had an unauthorized application loaded on it really got to me. Either the phone is yours or it is not. The fact that a small percentage of people may get over in some way by not giving Apple more money does not justify keeping every single user from using their property how they want. When you by a new Dodge truck you have the ability to get accessories after the fact that were made by companies other than Dodge. When you buy a house from a builder he does not lock you out of your home when you don’t let him build on a new deck that your brother will do for free. I understand this is comparing apples to oranges but the principle holds true. Just because Apple can lock you out because it is a digital product does not make it right to do so. Wikipedia defines ownership as “the state or fact of exclusive rights and control over property”. If Apple controls your iphone or ipod after you bought it do you really own it?