I signed up to Songkick yesterday: a great idea for a site that lets you track when your favourite artists are performing nearby. I chose to login using Facebook Connect and got this list of suggested artists:
Coldplay as the first recommendation? I can’t stand Coldplay!
I found myself quite indignant at being recommended I like Coldplay. But it’s not really about Coldplay, it’s about being suggested I engage with something I really don’t like. (So if you like Coldplay, please just think of your least favourite band in this scenario!)
I think there are two main reasons behind my reaction to this: the first is that after logging in with Facebook and giving Songkick access to my shared information, I expected that it would look at the music I like:
…and from that generate some suggested artists.
The second reason I found myself not happy with the list of suggestions was the labeling: ‘Track artists you want to see live’. The first call to action after this is a search box, and then the list of artists starting with Coldplay.
Regardless of whether Songkick checked my musical tastes through Facebook, I think a simple tweak to this page could have avoided the entire issue, such as changing the heading below:
I don’t care if Coldplay is on the screen; just so long as it doesn’t appear that for some reason it’s been determined that I do like Coldplay. Spotify and Last.fm often ‘suggest’ artists that I may not like, but the tone is very loose: ‘Related Artists’ (Spotify) and ‘Recommendations’ (Last.fm).
Facebook will throw up recommendations based on pretty much anything you type, but again it’s very diplomatic:
As social media develops, I think these sort of scenarios are going to become more prevalent and more important to user experience. Personal taste is such a idiosyncratic and illogical trait — a system that can adequately deal with this will be an amazing achievement.