2012 is probably going to be year that the word "social" reaches its saturation point and it becomes a parody of itself. Social nose-blowing, social traffic (cars, not browsers), social bathrooms - you name it, someone will probably find a way to make an online social experience out of it. "Social" is the most overly used adjective in any and all technology goings-on and for good reason: literally every possible service, whether its from sharing PDFs to talking about dinner recommendations to ads for sneakers, has become a "social" experience with how everybody is encouraged to share whatever simple activity it is that they're doing at any given moment. Plus, it's all but a codified practice now to include some kind of social network integration into a site's user experience. Seriously, when was the last time you signed up for a new account somewhere and weren't given the option to sign in using your Facebook or Twitter account? It's all over the place.
With the exception of perhaps the newest generation of blog services, this socialized online experience has been most common among music sites. Everything from watching a single concert video on YouTube to creating fully personalized radio stations on Pandora and last.fm are all encouraged if not outright expected to be shared among your friends on various social networks. It's the latest lumbering step into this cultured narcissism that's pervading every single activity we do in our online lives.
Love it or hate it, though, you might as well get used to this modus operandi to stick around, so to keep you up to speed with the major websites specializing in socializing the jams you treat your ears to, HighTable.com put together a great infographic primer to give you a soft introduction into the sites you should know about. In the end, you probably won't be able to buy MP3s from iTunes or Amazon without having some kind of wonky code embedded into it that automatically beams the play count of each track to your Twitter account, but whatever. But if this is indeed the trend of social music, can we start calling ourselves music socialists? Oh wait, that's right - we can have social everything so long as it's not medicine and prosperity. Got it.Visual.ly.]