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Sadface as ThisIsMyJam closes

I can totally understand why projects close. People encounter changes in their lives, the internet and mobile are constantly evolving, and the ideas, services and APIs something relies on may not be something that’s actually sustainable.

I remember when microblogging was all the rage, and when the likes of Rejaw and Pownce shut down. Or when videogames I played closed their online services. Or when Google inevitably closed another experiment in social and collaboration – Reader, Wave, Orkut, etc. This blog has been going longer than some of those services lasted – and my real introduction to the internet and the world wide web started around the same time as Google. So it’s rare that a service closing really affects me. The last time I was sad about something closing was when Google Reader ceased operations – despite some of the alternatives that have since launched, it felt like both the use of RSS and the social side of the service weren’t going to make a comeback, and it’s proved right.

So I was a bit surprised at how sad I felt to see an announcement last night that ThisIsMyJam is closing.

BadgerGravlingJams-ThisIsMyJam

It’s being done in the right way. The creators have explained the reasons for the decision, the content is being archived rather than taken offline, and the challenges around APIs and streaming music are fairly well known.

And yet I’m still sad, and I wanted to explore why…

  • Slow sharing is great. As much as I enjoy using Spotify, the desktop client gets more and more bloated with every new feature, which hurts on a crappy connection. And the social side is just way too overwhelming to follow more than a handful of people. ThisIsMyJam allowed me to actually connect with a decent number of people over the course of a Sunday night listening session and get to know their tastes over time.
  • It was great for discovering new music. Having really got to know people by their tastes, it wasn’t surprising that when they listed something I hadn’t heard, I generally enjoyed it. By contrast, I generally end up using ‘Related Artists’ on Spotify or their new Discover/Fresh playlists, which seems to be much more hit and miss, and far more time consuming.
  • It encouraged far more considered sharing. Generally I posted 1 track per week when reminded, or sometimes less. But it meant I carefully considered what song really mattered to me at that time, compared to the endless cycle of updates on every other social network.
  • It’s an effective memory collection – Last.fm and scrobbling collects almost everything I listen to, which is a huge mess of data occasionally corrupted by sharing listening with family and friends. While it’s nice to know I listen to a lot of Pearl Jam, it’s more memorable to see when I picked a specific track and the reasoning behind it. Since 2011, a lot has changed, and it’s interesting to see how my music choices reflected that.
  • Sharing to other services was also easy. I don’t want to bore everyone by streaming every song I play to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr etc, but I enjoyed sharing one song a week and seeing what reactions it got.
  • In some ways it feels less personal than similar services. For instance, a site called Tastebuds also allows music sharing, but it started as more of a music-based dating and social network. I don’t have to like someone to like their taste in music.

 

I can honestly say I’m going to miss ThisIsMyJam, and the music I discovered. I’ll particularly miss those people who I followed solely on TIMJ, as we were purely musical friends. And I’m not sure there’s anything to fill the gap – Last.fm is undergoing a redesign, and Spotify, Apple Music, Rdio, Pandora etc all seem hell bent on blending algorithms, human curation and bloating the experience with as much extraneous stuff as possible.

Farewell, ThisIsMyJam. You were great while you lasted…

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