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Crowdsourced Happiness: A Short, Good Story About The Internet — For A Change

You read every day about the horrors of online life: stalking, harassing, the appearance of embarrassing photos that sink one's job prospects, or just the general fact that people can be real jerks when they don't have to go back and clean up after themselves.

This is not that kind of story.

Yesterday was a challenging Monday morning, so I simply put the question to Twitter: "Recommend feel-happy music to me, please." Simple as that. And the responses poured in. Seriously: they poured in. I extracted as many of them as I could track down on Spotify (the new streaming-music service that unfortunately now requires a Facebook account to join, but is otherwise very easy), and I put them into a playlist that I called "Begging The Public For Joy." It includes current bands like Noah And The Whale and The Decemberists and classic artists like The O'Jays, Bruce Springsteen, and K.C. And The Sunshine Band (kidding! kidding! kind of!). Goofy stuff, peppy stuff, stirring stuff, and yes, a song called "Super Rad."

There are 36 songs, almost all of which came from Twitter (a few others were my own inclusions). There were more suggestions, but you have to draw a line somewhere, I suppose.

And since everyone shared with me, I shared the list back, so everyone could listen to it. (And if you have — or if you install — Spotify, so can you.) And lots of people did. There were some disappointments: not everyone uses Facebook, not everyone wants to install Spotify, and it's not even available everywhere, as a couple of unhappy Aussies stressed.

But overall, it was an experiment in the spreading of a good mood through music. It introduced me to some things I'd never heard, it reminded me of some things I'd forgotten, and there's no question that it was more effective as a mood booster because other people had given it to me. It's true that online contact is not a substitute for leaning over your backyard fence and talking to people, but there is charm in people anywhere in the world being able to say, "Listen to this; it will make you feel better."

FYI, here's the playlist.

Ryan Shaw – "I'll Be Satisfied"

The Avett Brothers – "The Perfect Space"

The Decemberists – "Don't Carry It All"

Noah And The Whale – "5 Years Time"

The Pipettes – "Pull Shapes"

Celia Cruz – "Vamos a Guarachar"

Bill Withers – "Lovely Day"

Lily Allen – "22"

Great Big Sea – "Wandering Ways"

The O'Jays – "Love Train"

The Sundays – "Summertime"

The Weepies – "I Was Made For Sunny Days"

Gnarls Barkley – "Smiley Faces"

The Aquabats! – "Super Rad"

Little Milton – "Grits Ain't Groceries (All Around The World)" - Live

Melissa Ferrick – "Everything I Need"

Black Kids – "Look At Me (When I Rock Wichoo)"

The Temptations – "I Can't Get Next To You"

Archie Bell and The Drells – "Tighten Up"

Brett Dennen – "Sydney (I'll Come Running)"

Matt & Kim – "Block After Block" (Single Version)

First Class – "Beach Baby"

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band – "Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)" - Live

Los Campesinos! – "You! Me! Dancing!"

Louis Armstrong – "What A Wonderful World"

K.C. And The Sunshine Band – "Boogie Shoes" - 2007 Remastered Saturday Night Fever LP Version

Fang Island – "Daisy"

The New Pornographers – "The Bleeding Heart Show"

Fitz and The Tantrums – "L.O.V."

Cub – "My Chinchilla"

Shirley Temple – "Be Optimistic" (re-mastered)

John Denver – "Thank God I'm A Country Boy"

Chromeo – "Bonafied Lovin"

Coldplay – "Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall"

Ben Folds – "Underground"

Benny Goodman – "Sing, Sing, Sing"

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Linda Holmes is a pop culture correspondent for NPR and the host of Pop Culture Happy Hour. She began her professional life as an attorney. In time, however, her affection for writing, popular culture, and the online universe eclipsed her legal ambitions. She shoved her law degree in the back of the closet, gave its living room space to DVD sets of The Wire, and never looked back.

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