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Aaron N. Tubbs

Dragon chaser.

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I was at the dentist yesterday. We had a nice chat in which he told me one of my teeth has a crack and is going to be a problem. Then, while my mouth is occupied with picks and mirrors and tubes and crap that normally happens during a dental exam, he starts talking to me some more. He asks me to recommend him to my coworkers, since he takes their insurance, and his prices are good.

Keep in mind this is the dentist that botched a filling and is going to subsequently cause me to have the tooth extracted if a root canal and crown can’t save it. If he really wants me to leverage social media or tell my social network about him, he might get more than he asks for.

We’ll ignore that. If I like my dentist, I’m going to talk to people about him, or at least offer him up if people are looking for a recommendation. This happens. Instead, what happened is that this discussion solidified my dislike, and I’m now in the market for a new dentist. What’s the first thing I did? I asked my social network for recommendations for a dentist.

Point being, if you’re going to ask me to recommend you to my friends or coworkers, you’ve already lost.

Businesses have been trying to harness the social recommendation network for as long as there have been businesses. What’s weird lately is how artificial the practice has become with technology. Somebody figured out that being liked on facebook or mentioned on twitter increased something or other, so now everybody asks to like them on facebook or retweet something specific on twitter. Maybe they offer a prize. “Just like us on facebook and fill out the entry form to win!”

The problem is, are my friends really endorsing this, or do they just want to win a free trip to Aspen? The gaming of the system makes the system unreliable. So I go back to the same old thing, and ask people what they recommend.