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Act II: The iPod Effect

If you’re still hungry for more riveting news on the social impact of the iPod (see David’s post from last week on subway theft), it turns out iTunes playlists are more about bling and less about revealing your true self! Who knew?

This week the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Palo Alto Research Center released an anthropological study revealing that when co-workers share playlists on office networks, they’re more concerned with the image a cubicle-mate might draw from seeing, say, N’Sync or MC Hammer next to your name than the fuzzy feeling they might get from a tearful Celine Dion ballad you’ve given them access to.

Since I became the owner of a silver Mini a month ago, I’ve been grappling with the sociological effects it’s having on me. I live in Manhattan and one of my favorite aspects of living in this city is staying constantly engaged with my surroundings — a big part of that is all that’s pulsating around you. When you block out sound, sure you have the privelege of your own personal soundtrack, but you drown out all the city’s noise and character that makes it a vibrant place to live.

How do you think this has impacted random exchanges, homeless donations, dating? Have you experienced a similar ambivalence? Or noticed other sociological effects of your white-horned friend? Have you come across any related studies on this?DS