Providing information on your music consumption publicly can change it. A small study finds that people are willing to put a lot of effort into maintaining a desirable public image, yet they also want to be truthful.
When information about music preferences is published automatically, youth and young adults are reluctant to digitally "cheat" about their musical choices. Instead, they change the music they listen to.
Suvi Silfverberg, Lassi A. Liikkanen and Airi Lampinen from Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT studied the experience of maintaining a profile in the online music service Last.fm. Twelve Finnish youth and young adults where interviewed on their use of this music-focused social network service and its extension, called "the scrobbler," that publishes information of music listened to by service users.
The researchers found that people make active efforts to control the image their online profile gives of them, especially when their music listening is published automatically. While automated sharing of behavior information provides new opportunities for online music services, it also affects the people listening to music.
"When an online service publishes behavioral information automatically, it is important to give users a chance to express and explain the meanings of their actions. Listening to a song doesn't necessarily mean that one likes it -- or wants to be known as the kind of person who does," says Liikkanen.
The study will be published in the 2011 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work in March in Hangzhou, China.
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