Saturday, January 29, 2011

Week 3 KIN 710 Web 2.0 Awards list Blog post

Week 3 KIN 710 Assignment
Explore any site from the Web 2.0 awards list, play with it and write a blog post about your findings.
Take a look at the various links provided on this site.  It really highlights several of the new technologies referred to as Web 2.0.  Web 2.0 Awards

I chose to explore the music Web 2.0 site Pandora.  Through my explorations I discovered that Pandora is a Web 2.0 personalized radio station.  Basically, as a user you can tweek your personalized listening station by genre, artists, or favorite song.  Then Pandora uses its interface and technology to create a playlist for your radio station that meets your tastes in music.
The strengths that I discovered about Pandora was that it had less advertising breaks between songs compared to traditional radio stations.  It also has an option for a free account.  This gives you 40 hours of free listening to your personalized radio station.  You can also create multiple listening stations, which was another great feature.   In addition, you can also listen to your station on your computer, in your home, and on your cell phone.  There also is a great tool where you can interact with other Pandora users and make comments on songs and their listening stations.  This creates a collective Pandora listening community that shares their musical tastes.  Some of the other features I liked were that you can rate songs using the thumbs up and thumbs down icons.   This allows you to mark your favorite songs and music artists and eliminate those songs you do not like.   You also have the option to buy the song by clicking on an icon next to the playlist.  This kind of dynamic interface is a prime example of Web 2.0.  The end-user or consumer are the decision makers and calibrate how Pandora will respond, so they can constantly adjust to your unique music listening tastes.
With that said, there were some weaknesses to Pandora.  There are audio ads that disrupt the listening experience if you choose the free account.  While the audio ads are not as long as traditional air wave radio stations, it can be annoying.   The only remedy is to upgrade to Pandora One, which is the ads free version and costs $36 a year for a membership.  I have the free account, and I am not sure if I would upgrade to paying an annual fee for Pandora.  I will need to play with Pandora for a few months to determine if it is worth paying for it.  I also discovered that the full biographies and lyrics for every artist and song are not fully accessible with the free account version.   You also don’t get many skips if there is a song you don’t like with the free account.  You have to wait and listen to the song you do not like if you have used up your skips for that listening log time.
In conclusion, I liked Pandora as another option for me when I listen to music.  Granted, most of us have our Ipods and mp3 players to create our own music playing lists.  However, I think I will utilize Pandora when I am on my computer doing classwork or research.  It is neat to have a personalized station and to see what songs Pandora compiles based on my interests.  It is a constant process of Pandora making adjustments to get closer to my ideal personal radio station.  I would encourage anyone to at least explore Pandora for a week and see if you like it.

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