I had an interesting email discussion yesterday with a friend. He
suggested to me that media doesn't need to be in the cloud to create a
great social media service. He said that the files can be stored
locally and only the data needs to be in the cloud. I'm not so sure
I've been scrobbling my music listening data to last.fm
for a few years now (since Oct 2005 to be specific). So my data is in
the cloud. But to be honest I don't get much social media value from
The best experience I get from scrobbling my listening data is last.fm's neighbor radio
which is a service that allows me to listen to a radio station
programmed by my "musical neighbors". But it's really a solitary
Compare that to what happens on Tumblr
, for example. I post music on tumblr every day
one song a day. And I get feedback in the form of comments, likes,
playcounts, and reblogs. I get to see what people think of the music I
post. And I also get to see and listen to what other people
are playing and listening to. I can do the same thing; comment, reblog, and like the music I find there.
The same is true of many other social music experiences out there; passing links to music tracks on twitter, listening at the hype machine
, engaging at blip.fm
the question is if we can get a truly social experience with the files
stored locally on our machines or networked storage devices and just
our data in the cloud. Or do we need the media itself in the cloud?
gut instinct is that we need both the media and the data in the cloud.
They don't need to be in the same place or service however. I would
have to be a tumblr user to use this service) to incorporate my
scrobbling data to create a more personalized version, for example.
primary reason I think we need the media in the cloud is that is the
only way I know of to ensure that I can listen to the same thing you
can listen to. If we continue to rely on file based media, then you
might say you love I'm Turning Into You by Wheels On Fire
but unless it's online (it is, right here
), then I would not be able to listen to it and let you know what I think and more importantly share it with my friends
. As an aside, I found this great song because I follow Luke
on Tumblr and he posted it a few weeks ago.
same issue is true of TV shows, films, photos, games, news, and other
forms of media we consume both on the web and off of the web. If we
continue to rely on files as the way we consume media, the social
activities around our consumption will be muted. If we move to
streaming all media in the cloud, we will see an explosion of
consumption driven by social interaction.
an issue of bandwidth versus storage costs in this whole equation and
all things being equal it certainly would be better for media to be
stored and consumed locally, but I think the power of social media and
social interactions will change the balance in favor of cloud based
media. What do you think?
(For more from Fred, visit his blog)