In "Online Communities and the Future of Culture" I claimed that all kinds of culture-makers were getting online because it rewarded them with more meaningful contacts with people who can appreciate their work. Here are a few blogs by musicians that I happened across lately.
Phil Jones' BeatBlog - "what would happen if a culture did try to blog music, to create little fragments of rhythm and melody, to hyperlink through them?" Reusable Music Objects. I like.
Brad Sucks - "I write, record and produce songs in a small home studio and put them on www.bradsucks.net for people to download without copyright and hopefully enjoy. I'm also releasing the audio source files for all of my tracks in case people want to mess around with them or collaborate with me."
SongTrellis - seems to be a Manila site for a community of musicians
If you know of any others, please leave a comment! Hopefully Google will index this and help other musicians find one another.
[Update] Gary chimes in with Shirtlifter - "His website features lyrics with the MP3 right next to them, some personal stories, gig and release notes and just for fun also creates an alternate universe ... with himself at the centre, of course :)"
Matt Webb: "We're exploring, but not deriving the facts -- even if it's "this works, this doesn't"; we don't because with social software it comes for free: the ones that work are the ones that are successful. Successful and social should probably be decoupled so we can more easily examine them."
Andy Phelps has (once again) a fascinating post on the many links and potential bridges to be drawn between what's happening in multiplayer games and in social software. A passage especially resonated with me:
I yearn for the day that blogs are incorporated into virtual worlds (and thinking of building some stuff). I don't just want a 'blog site' I want a 'personal world'. I could hang out there and leave messages for other travellers. I could trackback through other peoples worlds and signs, artifacts they have left there. The dream of personal ownership of a piece of cyberspace that is *mine*, whose purpose is not predestined along the design of some set of game rules (although already players are subverting the very goals of game worlds to their own, creating a status structure and society based not only on norms that the designers envisioned, but several others as well).
Reading this reminded me of a piece I wrote for a "Technology in the Future" contest a while back. The challenge read, "Tell us your wildest dreams and ideas and how people will use it to make their lives better and more fun. In 250 words." My entry was titled "The Unbounded Playground".
In the future, massive virtual environments are created and enjoy very wide availability. Technology enables people use to enter these worlds and interact with one another in ways that were initially unforeseen by its creators. Most importantly, the environments are open-ended : they let participants invent and create new things in these worlds, and put them up for display. These can be works of art, games, puzzles, anything you can imagine and communicate. In virtual worlds there is no scarcity ; there are no constraints other than those that users individually or collectively choose. The only limit there is the imagination.
These new universes expand rapidly because they tap into the urge that we have to express ourselves and to discover new things.
Individual and collective creations emerge. Participants are driven to share their inventions : their electronic nature makes sharing virtually costless. As a result of these efforts to reach out, people with similar interests eventually cluster. They build on each otherís contributions ; collective creations emerge and whole new communities sprout out. The new medium offers a social flexibility that is unheard of in the « real » world. For instance, it is easy to participate in many communities at the same time, find or create new ones or leave any one of them as one sees fit. The overall result is an explosion of individual and collective freedom, creativity and two-way sharing, an experience that is totally unlike earlier forms of entertainment such as television or movies.
(And in case you were wondering: no, I didn't win.)
Inspired by Liz's brilliant initiative, I thought I'd try and map out part of my creative network for the benefit of my readers and the other people who come across this blog.
The task wasn't all easy, and I found myself wishing for more dimensions to work in - hence the "Missing from the picture" section. But here's the result. Now please don't come and tell me to change my map because you'd rather appear somewhere else; this reflects my current, very personal mental model of my immediate neighborhood.
Words in blue indicate themes. Sorry I haven't had time to embed links into the map, but hopefully this will be helpful anyway - though, come to think of it, it might actually tell more about me than about the people in the map!.
Drawing this made me realize how people and topics or themes were two very fundamental building blocks in my current worldview - and I believe my left sidebar reflects this. Does everybody think in the same manner? (I doubt it.)
I put the above map in the public domain, in case anyone should want to do something with it.