A Question of Favorites

Corrie has issued a challenge that I can’t ignore: list my five favorite web sites. Beyond the obvious (how do I narrow it to five?), Corrie’s post got me thinking about the concept of “favorite.” On a regular basis, we’re asked to list our favorites. Our favorite movies, our favorite books, our favorite teams, our favorite restaurants. Why do we ask? Do we hope or plan on someone else’s favorite becoming ours? Are we testing the quality of our favorite selections?

The question of favorites comes up often in the context of social media. It’s one of the ways we make connections and find new friends. Favorites give a point of reference to help narrow our scope, giving us an opportunity to opt in or out. Whether it’s a Facebook page or a message via Twitter, we look for these cues. Like tea leaves, we use a person’s favorites to predict the place they may have in our lives.

However, I think we’ve been trained over time to focus on these surface-level topics, to not ask additional questions. Part of that falls under our changing lifestyles and the increased demands on our time. We want to know right away if someone is worth our time, if someone is a good fit. In some ways, I think the other part is the direct opposite. As much as we don’t want to waste time, we also want connections, and we’re desperately seeking out those reference points. Here’s the problem with relying on “favorites:” favorites change on a regular basis while people change less often.

Now, before you point out that people change all the time, I suggest you think about the last time you changed in a significant way. Favorites are basically a snapshot of who we are at a given moment. For some individuals, a favorite may become a lifelong affair (Star Wars, anyone?). But I’m willing to venture that for most people, they neither decorate nor dress up regularly in homage to a favorite. The favorite isn’t necessarily a part of their identity, but rather a highlight.

For what it’s worth, I recommend asking the next question: why? That answer will tell you more than the favorite ever will. Yes, asking the question takes longer. My question for you—hasn’t life shown you that most of the time quality is preferable to quantity?

For the record, and in answer to Corrie’s challenge, here are my five (current) favorite web sites:

Amazon.com—A regular favorite. I’m a Prime member junkie. Free two-day shipping. Music to my ears.

Uncommon Goods—In desperate need of a quirk boost? Uncommon Goods always makes me smile. Besides being a great place to shop for my friends, I like to dream about what I might treat myself to.

Grumpy Old Bookman—Hint: I love books. Even better, I love it when people talk about books in interesting ways. Michael Allen is always a pleasant interlude, especially when he’s feeling snarky.

Change This—Whenever my brain needs a break, I like seeing what’s posted on Change This. Visiting this site has definitely sparked some great things for me, fulfilling a promise to “change this.”

Angry Alien—Few things make me laugh like bunnies doing unnatural acts. And Angry Alien delivers in spades with 30-second parodies of many well-known movies.

Anyone else feel the itch to share their favorites, let me know. I can’t wait to ask you why.



4 Responses to “A Question of Favorites”

  1. August 22, 2007 at 8:28 am

    Thanks for your thoughtful reply, Britt! Your mention of Facebook favorites made me think of this comic: http://xkcd.com/300/

    Thanks for referencing Angry Alien — I think the first time I visited they only had a few movies that I hadn’t seen before (I’m a bit of a pop culture noob), so I’m excited to see they’ve expanded!

  2. 2 Britt
    August 22, 2007 at 12:18 pm

    What a great comic! I about dropped my laptop I was laughing so hard.

  3. August 22, 2007 at 3:46 pm

    Oooo…love this. I totally identify with the guys from High Fidelity. My friends and I are always doing top 5 lists for movies and music. Have no idea why I never applied it to the web. OK…gotta give this some thought.

  4. 4 Britt
    August 22, 2007 at 4:04 pm

    I’m always happy to provoke thought.

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August 2007
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