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Friday, December 05, 2008
Of iPods and Insecurity...
...I've had a couple of things rattling around in my head when I have and haven't been listening to my LadiBug (yes, that's the name of my little square red iPod nano) and when I've been in and out of the gym.

I was at the gym and had the fortune (or misfortune, depending on your viewpoint) of being on a stationary bike with a magazine. I'd come off the treadmill and needed a little more leg stretching time, but hadn't brought something better to read. I'd grabbed a magazine to cover the display on the treadmill because I can't run if I have to watch those numbers slowly go by and I will give up long before a quarter mile has passed.

Anyway, I had something like Redbook or Good Housekeeping or some other woman geared Lifeslime movie sort of magazine and I found an article about a woman and her iPod and the gym. I figured that this might end up being something interesting that I could relate to.

Oh, how wrong I was.

Apparently this woman had a squat little nano like mine, and was concerned because people at her gym (in New York, I believe) could see what was on her iPod's display and she was ashamed of her playlist. She didn't have the best hip music on there. On sure, she had some good current pop music, but she also admitted she has Air Supply and Barry Manilow. And she has a big fixation on Barry's music - we're not talking the current songbook stuff he's doing. We're talking 'Mandy' and 'I Write The Songs'.

She was worried about other people looking at her iPod screen and seeing what she was playing. What is wrong with this statement? Couple things...

First, as with any article (or blog post) it was all about her. Too worried about what people were going to think of her and that everyone all around her was fixated on what she was listening to at the gym. I certainly don't care what people are listening to at the gym, and I don't care if someone sees I've got Manilow's 'Weekend in New England' or Liquid Tension Experiment's 'Biaxident' (just say it out loud) running through my earbuds.

Second thing - and this is mostly why I don't care if someone can see the screen of my iPod - doesn't she know how to turn off the backlight on her iPod's screen? It saves battery life and would protect her playlist. And it slides back over to the time after a few seconds anyway, so unless she's constantly touchy-feely on the buttons, no one's going to notice.

That makes me wonder - why are people so protective of what they listen to on their private music players? When there are players out there than can handle storing all the CDs I've ever owned in my life, and that's a vast and eclectic collection of music ranging from thrash metal to classic jazz, from classical to funk and everything in between all of that. If someone finds that I have Opera Babes, Neil Zaza, Savatage, Beethoven, and The Eagles, am I really going to care?

Not likely. So should this woman care? I don't think so. Does anyone else really care what she was listening to? Probably not. But I think she was hitting a deadline and needed to make up something to write that sounded interesting. The end of the article had her coming to grips with the fact that she didn't care if the tattooed overly muscled freak on the treadmill next to her saw what she was listening to - she was going to hum along with 'Copacabana' proudly.

No matter if the article was real or not, I figure she's got a point. There are people who probably worry if they have the right music or right podcasts or something on their personal music players. There probably will be a surge of interest in the most popular podcast of the year (allegedly "This American Life") or the most downloaded song of the year (no idea) so that some superficial folks can be on top of the popular trends, and the insecure will want to have that little part of something that everyone else is doing. And some will just get those because they might be on the track to something new (I recommend Saturday Morning Physics, personally, but I digress...)

If you have something you love on your music player, then enjoy it. And don't worry so much about what other people think, even if you sing along.

Next week I'll talk about what someone thinks about some of my music... heh.