Depressionista My New Addiction: Turntable.FM Melissa Stephens

“Let’s be broke and depressed together. Misery loves company.” – William Dafoe, prolly.

“Welcome to Hollywood what’s your dream?” – Homeless man in Pretty Woman.

My dream is super simple: do not become that homeless man. I used to have a column I wrote in 2009 called Recessionista. It was an honest look at my life, unemployed in the recession with no car, no boyfriend and no money. The column has been renamed Depressionista because two years have passed and someone told me we aren’t in a recession anymore. So if this column makes you sad, I am sorry. If it makes you laugh, then congratulations!

Now, what to write about? They say to write what you know. When you are unemployed, broke and maybe depressed, what do you do? For me, it’s wasting time on social media AKA the Internet. When I joined Facebook four years ago, it really gave me something to live for. Nothing beat the thrill of a tagged photo. Then slowly it became a problem that really made me lose my mind. I stalked people’s whole lives (Jersey Shore!) Then there’s Twitter – love it! Twitter is where I can divulge my truest feelings without actually having to look anyone directly in the eyes. Things that I tweet while waiting at a Compton bus stop in 80 degree weather – like “Rapists really ruined hitchhiking for the rest of us” – are not uncommon.

Now, my new addiction and soon yours – Turntable.FM.

Turntable (or TT as the kids say) is an Internet dance party and the new soundtrack to my life. It’s a music sharing, social networking site with a chat room and game all rolled into one glorious bottomless pit of time wasting. The website connects through Facebook and is still in a beta stage so one of your friends needs to be on it to join. While it’s a little buggy and new, some of my friends are on it and having fun so that means I must need to be on it, too. Because I, like all of us, suffer from FOMO (‘fear of missing out’ – I heard about it on TT from my boyfriend. This is how we connect now). The site is growing quickly and word on the street is that there are already over 150,000 users. But for right now, I feel like it’s my own personal dance party that I don’t actually have to leave my house for and ride my bicycle to.

Okay, so imagine a 90’s style chat room with your friends and some strangers. Now imagine that you can DJ for these people from an unlimited playlist of songs, with a digital avatar of a child, a bear, a cat or even a gorilla! I don’t have enough points for a gorilla and I’m literally depressed about it because I clearly have a problem.

Now, if this doesn’t make sense to you yet and you have a vagina, it’s okay. Turntable.fm is mostly a sausage fest. I was super intimidated at first, mainly because I have the worst taste in music and I was in Special Ed as a kid. But I joined anyway because I just want to be liked. One thing led to another and I got a chance to getup and DJ on the “turntable”. Five people can DJ in a room, while the rest listen and judge. It’s a constant rotation and everyone plays one song when it’s their turn. You click “Awesome” if you like a song, and “Lame” if you hate it. If your song is lamed enough times, it skips your song. Other users clicking “Awesome” during your song gives you points, which gives you a chance to get a new avatar. Clicking “Awesome” also means that your avatar bobs its little head to the music, which is actually really amazing. It’s way less complicated than it sounds. You kind of have to try it to know how great it is. Sort of like Splenda.

But here is the problem: I can’t stop using it. I can’t leave my house sometimes. I stay up hours later than usual on it. During any human interaction, I’m really thinking, “When can I get home and DJ?” I haven’t been this obsessed with something since Rock Band, and that required rallying people over to my house. Now I can just send someone a Facebook invite into my room or just tweet about it. There are many different rooms, all with different themes and names, from “Hip-Hop” to “Indie While You Work” to “Trance Out!” and “Dubstep”. There are many rooms to go to – you can just listen, discover, laugh, observe, interact, play music, get validated, bullied, laugh, fight, fall in love and cry. Of course, I could do all of that in the real world but I ultimately want to goon an irrational emotional rollercoaster instead of being productive in the privacy of my own home. You can see which rooms your Facebook friends are in and which rooms they’ve created. To rival my friends and other popular rooms, I created a room called “Oneeyedwillie”. (GOONIES!)

My room is about having fun. But other rooms can be brutal so watch out. Don’t be a N00B (that’s a newbie). I will tell you right now nothing beats the feeling of seriously playing a Frank Sinatra song in a hip hop room and being booted out. And I mean that because I spun into a violent fit of rage when that happened to me. Totally called for, right? And of course I went back into the room 5 minutes later to redeem myself. I quickly played Nine Inch Nails ‘I want to F’ You Like an Animal’. I was Lamed again. Some rooms do fun theme or games, and my favorite themes have been: “Songs From Movie Soundtracks”, “Ocean” and “The Alphabet”. But my absolute favorite theme yet was “Songs You Listen to By Yourself”. We all got real honest. Then with no sarcasm whatsoever, I played Sinead O’Conner’s ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’. It played all the way to the end, with the respect it deserves. I love learning who shares my taste in music and who hates it. I have yet to have a song where an entire room clicks “Awesome”. That’s another reason I keep going back for more. I need the validation and it always leaves me wanting more.

And the chat box is the best part, at least for me. I haven’t had as many LOLs in a long time. There are funny people on there, whether they be UCB comedians or weirdos in Canada that have no business ever talking to me IRL (in real life). I’m seriously learning so much from this whole experience. And I’m learning about a ton of music that I feel dumb for not knowing about. Like Dubstep, I still don’t know what it is because when I ask honestly in the chatroom people make fun of me. Plus, turntable.fm is FREE. You don’t have to own an Xbox or even be dressed to do it. Now we can all hang out together in the comfort of our own Internet vortexes that we are stuck inside of like honey covered bees. And since the site is fairly new and unmoderated, I’m able to change my avatar name to Mel Glibson or Kreayshawn but I became a real hit when I was ZachGalifianakis for two hours.

Times change and I am going with it. Because when I was sick this weekend and no one wanted to hang out with me (and I had no money to do anything anyways), I sat in my apartment playing turntable ’til 4am and I felt like Corey Haim at the end of Lucas. I have learned more about music in two weeks then I ever would from anyone else ever in the entire universe, including Narnia. I laughed out loud, I high fived myself and I bullied people. The guys who created this site are geniuses. Soon this site will be too big for me, but until then I am enjoying the cult feeling it brings to my life. My goal is to win the gorilla avatar, so please join me on turntable. Become my fan. Click “Awesome”. Repeat.

Image via GearLive.com.

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  1. HelloGiggles – My New Addiction: Turntable.FM I was suggested this blog by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my trouble. You’re amazing! Thanks! your article about HelloGiggles – My New Addiction: Turntable.FM Best Regards Cassetta Agata

  2. I can’t sign in to turntable.fm it’s only for US region :’(

  3. Wow ! It’s everything you said and more ! I can’t believe how cool this site is. Definitely going to be hard to give up once school starts up again

  4. Do you still need an invite for this? How do i get one?

  5. it’s still limited for US only :(
    greetings from Indonesia!

  6. Upon reading this article, I checked out turntable.fm.
    It’s official, I’m addicted.

  7. I am in the 90′s room as I type this. Love it!!

  8. I was very lucky to get the invite more than a month ago, it’s perfect for work, and works great as a radio, the “Indie while you work” room is great (also the “Indie while you indie”).

  9. Turntable is awesome but I wish I had it on my phone because we can’t stream at work. It’s actually a bit intimidating to be in a room with just my friends because they have a different and more extensive musical expertise. I prefer the anonymity of the generic rooms. It’s addicting trying to get more points.

  10. Turntable.fm is fun! I usually only like it when I know some people in the room though. But still, it’s a cool idea and it gets addicting!