4B-The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 19, 2006
Putting your best Facebook forward
By Jeffrey Bloomer
Now that Facebook helpfully coordi-
nates every piece of new information you
need to know about that girl you hooked
up with (you think) at that party last win-
ter and friended you the morning after
(you accepted - mistake), it's time we
simplify something so few people seem
to understand: The basic construction of a
This is not subjective. This is science.
If we can't read your entire profile in less
than five minutes, we're gone. You do not
like Thomas Pyncheon or "Pi." And "ran-
domness" is not an interest, it's an inabil-
ity to express yourself.
It's not hopeless. You just need to know
where to begin.
Step 1. Delete the entire body of your
Step 2. Cultivate your interests. This
will help you learn one of the basic prin-
ciples of the Facebook profile: Everything
should be disingenuous. Fronting and dis-
honesty are key. Your interests, of which
you have three to 12, have a very simple
formula: Go to Wikipedia.org. Click "ran-
dom article" (on the left).
The Kansas City Power Australian
Football Club. The Achillobator dinosaur.
The number eight. These are your new
Step 3. On the favorite art categories:
We're not going to tell you what to like
(would we do that?), but there are rules.
You may not answer more than any two of
the four categories. Favorite TV show can't
be anything other than a YouTube link or a
show no longer on the air. Favorite movies
can't have been released in the past three
years. I don't want to have heard of any of
your favorite music. And if you took AP
English, give up on books now. Everyone one group involving an actual person, and
will know where they come from. it categorically cannot be a fan club.
Step 4. Your picture does not have to be
of you, but if it isn't, it should be something
that will confuse other people. A picture
of a friend. Some obscure piece of art. A
rodent. If it is you, you should probably
not look like you. AND NEVER, EVER
TAKE A PICTURE OF YOURSELF IN
A MIRROR. WE CAN SEE THE CAM-
ERA AND THE TOWEL BEHIND YOU.
That shit is embarrassing.
Step 4a. It's not very romantic, but
alcohol in your picture does make you
look cooler. Get over it.
Step 4b. You may have only one photo
album, and it may not be tagged. You should
have at least a dozen pictures of yourself at
any given time. And be merciless if other
people tag you - you cannot possibly
make it through 177 pictures unscathed.
Step 5. Quotes should never be cred-
ited, but if they are, it should only be
another obscurity. Choose something with
no verbs if possible.
Step 9. You must have more wall posts
than friends. The posts should never dis-
cuss anything that will make sense to any-
one else other than you and the author. Do
not write on your own wall.
Step 10. Private profiles are in. Sorry.
With age and experience you will learn
to use the search engine to find out some-
thing about the people whose profiles are
Step 11. A note on personal and work
info: You should not have very much of it.
While you are required to have your real
name, phone number and e-mail address
at all times (or at least you are now), rela-
tionship status, sex, sexual orientation,
birthday and hometown are advisable only
if you have a particular reason for having
Step 12. Don't fall in love with your
own profile. Delete it and start over often.
(Pictures should never remain for more
than 15 days if you aren't in the picture,
30 if you are.)
)P as wor d:
Facebook is a social utility
Facebook is made up of lots of
You can use Facebook to:
Share information with peo
See what's going on withy
Look up people around you
Step 6. Your "About Me," should, of
course, not be about you. Make something
up. Quote a long passage about some sort
of subterranean creature. Or just don't
Step 7. Website and status: You have
Step 8. Groups. Sigh. Under no circum-
stances may you have more than eight.
You may not join any group that beginsj
with the phrase "I heart ... " or ends with
the word "bitch." You may not join groups
that exist by virtue of having members.
You may not join a group with any more
than 100 members. You may be in only
Courtesy of Facebook.com, amazon.com
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Your Facebook welcome page, what your status
should always look like, not your favorite movie, not your favorite book.
View More Photos of Me (32)
Read Nlotes by Me
Edit My Profile
Create a Profile Badge
T Status edit
Keep your friends updated on
your current status.
V Michigan Friends
49 friende at Mchiqarn, ke A!
Pandora creator Westergren to speak at 'U'
Continued from page 11B
a new song that I like. I think
that that is one of the great
things in life, and so I wanted
to spread that feeling."
He also wanted to build a
business for profit, he said, but
added that "what makes a busi-
ness last and makes a business
maintain a sense of purpose and
coherence is some kind of core
to it that has to come from you
Westergren's motive for trav-
eling cross-country to talk about
Pandora is that it allows him to
connect with the people who use
the service. Westergren empha-
sized that the meetings provide
not only insight but inspiration
- something hard to come by
when most of your time is spent
behind cubicle walls.
"We meet thousands of real-
ly really fanatical music lov-
ers," Westergren said. "And in
some way it makes real what
we're trying to do. It gives us a
chance to see how it's impact-
ing people, and how important
music is to people. It's really
Westergren and the rest of
the Pandora team have a con-
siderable agenda. Among other
things, they plan to discover
unknown artists and streamline
the discovery of new music.
Pandora is above all a pro-
motional service. It helps users
discover new music they are
likely to enjoy by giving users
the freedom to design their own
radio stations based on songs or
artists of their choosing. Pan-
dora then matches those choic-
es with similar-sounding songs
from its database.
Westergren's Music Genome
Project is at the core of the pro-
cess. The project identifies 400
"genes," including "chromatic
harmonic structure," "blues
influences," "extensive vamp-
ing" and "rhythm syncopation."
Every song is evaluated based
on the presence, absence, degree
or manifestation of each gene.
Pandora also employs a staff
whose full-time job is to listen
to and analyze every new song
that comes into the database.
The process generally takes 20
to 30 minutes, and the website
adds 15,000 songs every month.
Finally, a user selects a sta-
tion, and Pandora uses an algo-
rithm to match songs according
to their "genetic" similarities
and streams them live.
At any point during the
stream, the user may pro-
vide feedback in the form of
a "thumbs up," which tells the
algorithm to play more songs
like this, or a "thumbs down,"
which signals the program to
avoid similar songs. Users are
encouraged to submit com-
ments, complaints and requests
for missing music directly to
the Pandora team via e-mail.
"Our core policy is to respond
YOU PUSH US A
individually to each e-mail,"
But Pandora certainly has
its shortcomings, like its lim-
ited scope and availability. The
service is only legally available
in the United States because of
its webcasting license's con-
straints, although the team is
working on acquiring licenses
from more artists to improve its
In addition, the project cannot
accommodate classical music
and contains very little interna-
tional music. These categories
would each require different
frameworks for song analysis,
which are not yet developed.
Other problems include the lim-
ited number of songs users can
skip per hour and the inability
to fast-forward or rewind.
Many would look at a 10-
month-old company with an
established user base of more
than 3.5 million and growing
with dollar signs in their eyes.
Pandora, for example, provides
links to iTunes and Amazon,
where users can purchase the
song currently playing. This
feature has driven a huge num-
ber of sales to those companies.
"We sell a buttload of music,"
said Westergren. He said 40
percent of Pandora users have
been buying more music since
they began using the service.
More importantly, the trend is
continuing. As the base contin-
ues to grow, so will the music
sales originated by Pandora.
On another business front,
Pandora has provided an invalu-
able service to struggling musi-
cians by helping them forgo the
cost associated with marketing
an album after recording and
"I came to Pandora with the
perspective of somebody who
has struggled for a lot of years
to make a living at music,"
Westergren said. "(I want to)
solve that problem faced by
every (musician) who's out there
As such, Pandora not only
accepts but encourages the
submission of original mate-
rial by its users. The beauty is
that the quality, not popular-
ity, determines acceptance into
the database and users' playl-
ists. Granted, that assessment
is ultimately a subjective one,
and, because of the 15,000 new-
song limit per month, not all
submissions make the cut (only
about a third do).
With many of the traditional
roadblocks to sharing music out
of the way, Pandora has emerged
as a level for musical artists and
a largely unexplored universe
for music appreciators.
With the flood of new music
originating from studios and
basements alike, the best addi-
tion to the database is the
"album that some hobbyist
sends to us that they've obvi-
ously just burned on a CD-ROM
and written the track titles on
the cover in indelible ink -
that's the best stuff," Wester-
gren said. "There's no way on
Earth you're going to hear that
Friday, October 20, 3:30PM
Angell Hall, Aud B
WHAT I LEARNED AT UM - AND WHAT I DIDN'T
David Enders, the author of this year's freshman book, Baghdad Bulletin,
went to Baghdad to start an English-language news weekly in May 2003.
On a shoestring budget and with an incredibly young staff, the Baghdad
Bulletin published through the summer of 2003 until the dangers got too
great and the funding ran out. David's book is a record of his experiences
during that adventure. David will talk about how his UM undergrad
experience prepared him (and didn't) for his work as a freelance journalist,
how his parents reacted (or how he thought they did), and what has
Bands battle for top spot and
award contract worth $1 mil.
By Kimberly Chou
Associate Arts Editor
Most Battle of the Bands competitions end
up exercises of teenage rockstar futility, how-
ever promising they may seem in entertainment
potential if not always talent. It's the mysterious
combination of badly miked community center
auditoriums and last-minute bassists - that hast-
ily slapped together cover of "Wish You Were
Here" never quite turns out as planned.
Canada-based record label Bodog Entertain-
ment Group offers aspiring musicians a flashier
stage for their classic-rock noodling with The
Battle to End All Battles, the company's inaugu-
ral national battle of the bands.
Starting with the first round of competition late
this summer, the company has organized a series
of musical showdowns in 17 markets around the
country, including Detroit. St. Andrew's Hall
hosts round two for the area Sunday and Mon-
day; the date and location for "city finals," before
the winners convene at L.A.'s Wiltern Theater
around New Year's for the cumulative grand
finale, is yet to be determined. The competition
has a decidedly bellicose theme: the upcoming
semi-finals are dubbed "In the Trenches" and the
following round isn't just "city finals," but "City
"We're looking to get the final shows aired
nationally," said Rob Spinelli, a public relations
representative for Bodog. The most recent press
release reveals that music network Fuse struck a
deal with the company to air the last 11 shows
leading up to the finals in a reality show format.
Bodog says they are offering the "largest prize in
battle of the bands history:" a $1 million contract
with the label, which will go toward recording,
publicity and other endeavors supporting the art-
ists' debut Bodog release.
So far, Battle to End All Battles has attracted
7,000 bands nationwide and over 100,000 people
have registered to vote online. Winners will be
chosen via online and text message voting.
"This year we're just trying to figure out the
best way to do this," Spinelli said. "We are a
Canadian record label (looking for) the best pos-
sible way to find the next big band in America."
Bodog has even created BodogMusic.com, a
website geared toward band-and-fan networking
and promotion, similar to Myspace.com's music i
pages or GarageBand.com, The entertainment
group isn't exactly the most prestigious: its most
famous clientele are rock chick Bif Naked and
Warren G (a rapper better known as Dr. Dre's
brother). But Bodog's attempt to find The Next
Big Thing in America is certainly ambitious.
Canada's not exactly known for producing legends
of the quintessential American craft rock'n'roll
- exceptions like Neil Young certainly hit it
out of the park, but Bryan Adams? - but maybe
Bodog's search stateside will discover make good
on its premise.