Yesterday, my neighbor posed a question on Facebook:
“Where is a good place to buy bedroom furniture?”
I found myself immediately compelled to respond with my recommendations. We found a store that sells bunk beds and children’s furniture that is both nice to look at and incredibly sturdy, and I commented on her link.
It wasn’t until I read the entire thread that I started to ponder the title of this article. Why did I do that? Looking back, the bed we bought, while nice to look at and sturdy, wasn’t particularly inexpensive. The showroom wasn’t exactly impressive. The service was actually sub-par. But that’s where we bought our daughter’s bed. So why did I recommend them?
This same phenomenon happens with our technology too. How many times have you seen someone complain about their Android phone, only to then turn around and tell other people that they have to get an Android, there’s just nothing better. And I don’t want to single out Android. iPhone, Blackberry, and Windows Phone users do the same thing. (Myself included).
We do it about our cars, our neighborhoods, our phones, our shoes, our computers. Heck, I’ve even seen people recommend specific credit cards at times. (“If you’re looking to get into debt, I recommend this card. It makes the debt hurt less.”) I’m not saying that some of these items don’t deserve recommendation, I’m just saying that perhaps our recommendation isn’t exactly as it seems.
Are we recommending this product because it is the best product for the person we’re giving the recommendation to? Or are we recommending it because if they buy the product, it validates our purchase also? I think that the latter is where my furniture recommendation came from. If my neighbor buys a bed from the same store, it validates my decision to buy from them.
I’ve heard many people say that they’re getting an iPhone because all of their friends have iPhones. That logic is lost on me, but their friends are likely making validation recommendations (now known as a valimendation), which in turn gets fulfilled when their friend gets the same phone as them. There is no mobile device that is perfect for everyone, so why do we pretend that there is?
When you’re shopping for a mobile phone, ask the clerk for a recommendation based on your requirements. Let them lead you to the phone they suggest. Now ask them to show you the phone that they personally use. I think you’ll find some eerie similarities.
So what do you think? How many recommendations have you made lately that were specifically in the best interest of the recommendee? How many were valimendations?