The social Web has turned us into over-sharing monsters that broadcast every action, thought, or emotion to everyone we’ve ever known. Facebook said last year that its users can encounter more than 1,500 stories every day. More than 500 million tweets are shared to Twitter in that time. Combined with the social features included in everything from Spotify to Goodreads, it’s amazing that any of us find time to do something besides browse these all-too-social networks.
This Is My Jam isn’t like that. It’s a simple website that allows its users to share one song to serve as their “jam,” which is then shared with anyone who follows them on the service. Its website was updated today with new features that make it easier to see who has shared a song, provide a dedicated page for 500,000 songs, and allow people to browse through a user’s jams. What started as an experiment in a larger company has become an independent, exciting site.
Paul Carr explained the appeal behind This Is My Jam when the service first debuted in 2012:
This Is My Jam is part of a growing, and overdue, movement against sharing every damn thing we’re listening to, watching, thinking and doing every hour of the day. The truth is, when it comes to music recommendations, a river of everything all your friends are listening to is absolutely useless. There’s no context, no passion, no explicit recommendation.
This Is My Jam is the precise opposite. Your friend is so utterly entranced by this song that they chose it as their one Jam. The recommendation lasts a maximum of seven days, after which they have to pick a new one. The result, in theory, at least, is a stream of pure gold.
This update won’t change that. This Is My Jam hasn’t asked its users to start sharing every song they listen to throughout the day, or to curate mediocre playlists that no-one else wants to hear; it’s just made it easier to dig through an archive of someone’s favorite song-of-the-moment and use that historical record to discover new music. The service is evolving, but it’s not ditching its founding principles in an attempt to emulate the social aspects of services like Rdio or Spotify.
This Is My Jam’s Matthew Ogle explained the thinking behind the update to the Guardian:
“In a way, it’s making visible a lot of the stuff that the community’s doing and building over the last two years, that until now has been largely invisible, simply because we were keeping very closely to that ephemerality. Often people will say ‘oh, Jam’s amazing, I’ve found so much music’, and others will say “how?’ and ‘where?’ It was a bit of a secret club that you had to join.”
Put another way, This Is My Jam is making it easier to find respite in its service. Given the sheer number of things shared to various social networks every day and the various ways they can intrude into our lives — through our smartphones, our smartwatches, our computers — that relative quiet (this is still a music service, after all) should be a more-than-welcome change.