Saturday, April 07, 2007

You'd like this.

Consider these two scenarios, similar in intent, representing opposite points in a spectrum.
  1. Hey, I was thinking about movies I like, and based on what I know about your tastes and preferences, I picked out these few that I think you would also like. Let me tell you a little about them so you can decide if you would, since of course you know your own tastes better than I do. If you want, ask me questions about them to help you decide if you'd like them. If you don't think you'd like them, no problem.

  2. - lol!
I always hate when I get the latter kind. Generally speaking if someone gives me a link with no further information at all, I won't even consider following it, unless I already know that they're thinking of my tastes and they know me pretty well. The rest of the time, the fact that they like something is really only a very tiny factor in deciding if I would, most likely.

What's even worse is when I'm then grilled for a reaction. There's no tactful way to say "I didn't watch it -- why should I? I know nothing about it." Worse yet, there's no tactful way to say "I watched it, and I want those five minutes back, preferably extracted painfully from the still-beating heart of whoever is responsible for that." People tend to react badly to things like that said about something they enjoyed and "recommended".

I wish people would take a few steps towards Option #1. At very least give some nominal description of the book, movie, webcomic, YouTube clip, etc. you're recommending. Better yet, remember to think of the other person's tastes, not solely your own. Above all don't be offended if they don't choose to watch, or don't like, something that you liked.

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