Thursday, August 09, 2007

Eclectic Avenue

I was reading a LinkedIn profile of somebody who shall remain anon. Under 'Interests', they described their musical taste as 'eclectic' - citing various strangely named artists as evidence.

Why should I believe such a self-assertion, especially when the claimed attribute in question is generally considered a 'good thing'?

It's easy to claim eclectic musical taste, just as it's easy to claim a wide & varied range of reading material (I'm flipping back and forth between Proust & Homer's Iliad as I write this). Both claims are like a personal profile saying 'attractive' - sure, sure, I believe you but show me the head shot anyways.

Now, if the claim for eclectic were supported by demonstrated variety in listening habits, that might be a different situation. For instance, if the user's play list showed they listened to Bjork's Greatest Hits, followed by Debussy, I might start to believe that their taste was indeed eclectic. Bad, but eclectic nevertheless.

Seems to me that this sort of attention data (for which the effort of spoofing would be greater than any value derived therein) is therefore somewhere between self-asserted & 3rd-party asserted identity in terms of it's 'believability' (all else being equal).

3 comments:

Eric Norman said...

If someone describes themselves as "fascinating", then I think many might be skeptical.

Whereas if they describe themselves as "boring", it seems that others tend to consider that believable.

I wonder why that is.

George Fletcher said...

Why is the data somewhere between self-asserted and 3rd party asserted?

If the play list is just displayed (i.e. "created") by the user then there is little difference between that and the "eclectic" statement. If the play list is vouched for by some other party, then it would to me be 3rd party asserted.

Any self-asserted data is suspect no matter how intricate or complicated. It just depends on how much effort the individual wants to go to, to mis-represent the truth.

Ollie Onions said...

That was delightfully cynical to read.

And I think its true too.

George also makes a good point... a third party confirmation would go along way towards instilling credibility.