Monday, March 7, 2011
Let's Talk - blog & forum posting
I don't know who else will want to talk, but I have a few thoughts I'll ramble out. Every once in awhile there will be a ripple of some sort in an online community, a forum or on someone's blog. Some folks witness the skirmish from start to finish. Others arrive after the cops have broken up the party and wonder what the heck happened. I'll leave some of you wondering what recently happened, because it doesn't need to be repeated. It wasn't a big deal. Just some things shared on The Mothership about...y'knowwho. The gist of it I want to talk about is that retailers read online content. After reading feedback, solicited or not, some retailers update their marketing, merchandise, pr, policies etc... to benefit the customer. Ann Taylor, Loft, Gap and Talbots are some of the retailers in that group.
The Talbots community is very vocal on the Facebook fan page and wanted to see models in Woman sizes. Bam! There it is! Gorgeous, too. Talbots has been very fluid and responsive to their customers. Other retailers, in contrast, will do things to take away perceived benefits from the customer. Like a parent removing privileges from children. So while online communities can be quite awesome, it's good to remember that they're public. Yes, there is some intern trolling Google and coming across your blog, not just massive communities and FB fan pages.
There are times when I wish people would watch a site or a blog like double dutch ropes before deciding when to jump in. This topic reminds me of a large restaurant I worked in. The place used to wring out waiters like rags. Some would last only a day. Some wouldn't even last a shift. Some would stay and irritate, yipping and yapping away. A co-worker had a great saying that summed it all up about the yip yappers. The saying was, he put his feet up on the coffee table too soon, huh? Mmm hmm... It's been years and I remember it to this day. I think it applies to online communities. Remember that we don't really know one another and trust has to be established, to a degree. I mean, really, do you know for sure that I don't work for a retailer? I don't, but how could you be sure? (really I don't, believe me) I believe we trust each other over time online and very much by what we say because it's all we have to go on. This is why people who have jumped in a wee early or come on strong on The Mothership have been accused of working for the brand we adore. I think we're willing to extend it quickly, figuring that we're coming from a good place so other must be. However, sometimes this 'trust' takes a bit of time.
There's a culture to sites. Each one has its own. Its seasoned members. Resident experts, etc... I've watched people get eaten up on Talbots for redundancy when if they had just read the page before, they would have seen the topic discussed ad infinitum. When I go to Purse Forum, I just shut up and look around. It's clear many people know each other and I'm not butting in no matter how much I think I know about a topic. I just watch and try to learn things I don't know. I think I've posted one or two things on the site pertaining to J Crew, but I don't think anyone cared because I was new. When I visit new places, I add a simple comment if I think it will just blend in. If there aren't a lot of comments or I want to say something and it's my first post, I try to let the blog owner or community know I'm new. That gives some context to my statement in case I am out of line and if someone wants to let me know something, they can do it. I've never had that happen, but if someone wanted to contact me, the could because...
...my Blogger profile has an email address listed. Of course my email is listed on my blog homepage as well. Oh the emails that go! There are tons of emails that are exchanged offline. Not just between me and others. So many peeps have become friends. Answered questions. Helped each other out. GGS readers, thank you so much again for all of the offline love I received last year. It still amazes me. On a lighter note, I just got an email yesterday about the Target paisley dress from 2009. The email author wanted a tip on how to find the dress. For a number of reasons, I haven't worn the one I purchased. I offered to sell it to her, she agreed and I sent it off the same day. This is how amazing communities can be. If you run around in the Blogger community, it would behoove you to have a profile. There are sooooo many profiles I've clicked on, hoping someone has an email address so I can share a shopping tip. Through my profile or through my blog, people have emailed me to get clarification on something I said that was potentially offensive, which I absolutely appreciated. It surely beats having a miscommunication on a blog post. Here's my tip of the day. Pick an id. Bother to log into it. Create a dummy email for it if you don't want to give out personal information. It's ok. Speaking of privacy, if you've noticed, I have commented on very few of your pages on Facebook. I figure some of you may not want people asking who's Gigi and how does she know about your kid's birthday party. If I have a comment or question, I usually email a private message. I appreciate the friends & fans I have on Facebook. I don't want to mess it up by crossing an invisible line. Y'know, blogger to 'real life.'
I realize everyone skims. I do it. I totally do it. I want to read everyone's! blogs, but I have to skim. I get the main idea and try to post something truly from my heart and mind. If nothing feels authentic, I don't say anything. If I'm unclear about the site culture or don't know the blog owner, I look around. It's easy to see if someone's blog is new or has been running for awhile. The longer the blog has been going, the less I say right off the bat. If I'm new, or think I'm new, I try to remember to mention that. Another thing I don't do is guess folks' personal information out loud. I've had a couple peeps email me offline to ask personal questions and I super duper appreciate that. I show parts of me here, my personality and some of my personal business, but I like to keep my identity private for personal reasons. Yes, identity is separate to me even though parts/personality/personal business make up my identity. At any rate, it's not fun for me when people have tried to guess info out loud or made assumptions thru statements or questions on a post. I'd rather people focus on what I present than other people skimming and coming away w/the idea that my husband's a rich man that I live off of, I buy everything I try on and other knee slappers. This is just another part of the vent. Of course I realize people are going to think what they choose no matter how much I say it's different. In closing, I want to thank all you that've accepted me, head chopped off at all. I appreciate it.
As usual, Let's Talk is a space for you to share your thoughts. Which I always love reading!
p.s. See also, How to Leave a Good Comment by Stirrup Queens.