Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Favors from a Crowd

Ale told us how his friends often ask for school related favors, e.g., what is English homework for tomorrow, on Facebook. He normally lets others respond, but today he woke up and saw a question for which he knew the simple answer. So he quickly answered it. When is it better to ask entire groups for things as opposed to specific individuals? A few rules of thumb we came up with:

- If the request is very easy to address and it is time sensitive, asking a group often works best. It is likely that someone will see it soon and be willing to answer it.

- If the request is a complex or difficult one, it is often best to ask a specific individual. Why? If you ask a group then nobody feels that they have to help you because you are not asking them specifically. But if you ask your friend William "can you please pick up my math homework today" William knows you are counting on him and will at least let you know if he can't do it - in which case you can ask someone else.

- In some circumstances you can separately ask multiple people. This makes the most sense when it helps to have several people helping. For example, if you need a recommendation for a music teacher, getting multiple recommendations would be a good thing. On the other hand you wouldn't want more than one person trying to pick up your homework!

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