What's it for?

When I hear people raving excitedly about a new social networking thing, I always go and look, just because I love these things.  I love connecting with other people, and finding things in common.  I just do, and always have.  Recently, though, I've started to notice a problem.

When I arrive at a new site, I register as "ids" if I get there first, or "smithi1" or "idzni" if not.  Then I try and figure out what it is for.  This is where the problem comes in.  Blogging was obvious to me.  Twitter, pretty much so although I initially underestimated the value of it.  Virtual worlds, well... I'd been dying for those to exist since I first started talking about them in 1988 (along with certain other people - who know who they are!)  I understood last.fm pretty quickly, and Facebook and MySpace weren't very difficult either.

However, the reason that I'm writing this is that I just signed up to blip.fm, and I can't figure out what it is for.  This is not a unique occurrence, and I am experiencing it more and more often as I explore new and ever more esoteric social networking sites (are the obvious ideas all taken?) .  I mean, blip.fm looks very much as though it was influenced by Twitter, and it's very obviously about music.  Here are some things that I *have* figured out about it:

  • I can search for a song and "blip" it, and if the site knows about it then I get to enter my thoughts on it into a text box, and then the site plays it to me somehow.  Subsequently, the song appears in my list of blipped songs.

  • I can embed the song, along with my comments, in another web page - presumably I can also do this with anyone's songs or comments.




  • I can add people as favourites, and get a twitter-like page with the aggregation of all their blipped songs on it.

  • I can press play and start listening to all the songs on any page which works like a sort of playlist.  Presumably the speed of my listening is a lot slower than the content provided by multiple people blipping, so my playback will fall behind.  Or something.

  • It's almost like I'm a DJ.  Or something.


Perhaps I'm just getting stupider with age, but these individual features don't seem to me to hang together in a coherent whole.  What I need is an enthusiastic friend who gets it to excitedly tell me about why it's so great.  They could give me the two or three patterns for using it that illustrate why it's good.  That approach is very effective for me on those occasions when I am coming to a new thing via an enthusiastic friend, and I quite often do it in the other direction when I'm enthusiastic about something.

Wouldn't it be great if blip.fm (and the rest) provided the "enthusiastic friend" explanation somewhere.  Perhaps they could put it in the FAQ, as an answer to the question at the top of this post.

"What's it for?"

Update, 01:20am: From Annie Ok, the one liner I needed: "it's for posting songs to twitter".  So you get it to tweet when you blip - that single fact made it all come into focus.  Thanks, Annie!