So, I had a post about my weekend weeding the yard. It was fascinating, and unfortunately for you was destroyed when my system crashed. I know you’re disappointed. But I can’t muster the energy to rewrite it. So lets talk about this Salon article.
Since I know most people don’t read articles here’s the short summary. Basically the author is talking about those Favorites sections of Facebook and MySpace:
But why do we spend so much time crafting such elaborate summaries of our buying habits? It gets us dates, for one. If a girl posts a halfway-decent photo and expresses a taste for George Saunders, “Lolita” and the Clash, she is guaranteed an e-mail asking her to elaborate over drinks next week. (I speak from experience.) But the prospect of trolling for dates doesn’t explain the zeal with which people throw themselves into perfecting these lists, as anyone who’s received an e-mail notification informing them that a faraway friend has just removed “The Flight of the Conchords” from her list of favorite TV shows can attest. We don’t shill for profit; we post these lists to give people a sense of who we are. We plot points on a graph and hope it — we — will be interpreted correctly.
So true. But what the author doesn’t mention is the shame we feel when we are misinterpreted. I’ve trained Amazon and Netflix religiously. I’ve rated 2550 items on Amazon. 1203 movie ratings on Netflix. And yet I go to the recommendations page on Amazon and they’re recommending “Panic at the Disco”? I’m not a “Panic at the Disco” listener. I don’t listen to that pop-punk crap (except that one song). What are you saying about me? Why does Netflix keep recommending “Fried Green Tomatoes”? That totally doesn’t fit in with my B-Movie, Documentary, and Art Film persona.
Of course, chances are I would actually like these things. But they’d never show up on my Facebook list. People might get the wrong idea about me. I need to go buy the new Douglas Coupland novel to compensate.
UPDATE: I forgot about last.fm. Which is the ultimate damnation. We craft these ideas about what uber cool music we listen too. But last.fm records everything we listen too and tells us what we really listen to.