Yesterday when the menfolk came to visit us girls at my mom’s place, we got into a conversation about online reviews.
Do you read reviews?
I’m always hesitant about spending too much time reading product reviews, for instance. How do I know the person leaving the review is legitimate? Unless their icon takes me someplace legit where I can see something, I find I don’t give that reviewer much value.
Today, many, dare I say most people, have an online presence. A profile, of sorts. After all, we’re tracked day and night by our phones, our online searches, our every word we type into any screen.
Yet reviews, it seems, hold a certain value for those who consume the internet. And not just consume it, but purchase things. Places like etsy, ebay and other places rely on feedback.
My partner does a lot of research before shopping for stuff. Sometimes though, I think that maybe there is such a thing as spending too much time researching. Not every item we need/want is a huge expense warranting endless hours of reviews, and besides, almost everything is made in China these days which doesn’t exactly imply quality (to me). (Sorry not sorry.)
I mean, how much of the day-to-day stuff do we purchase at the dollar store, or Walmart and similar mass retailers where the bulk of their stock comes from China?
So I take the reviews that are placed on websites with a grain of salt.
There are other types of reviews that populate the internet. Readers leave reviews of material they have read: books, articles, essays, blog posts…
I try to leave reviews for things I read online, and sometimes even go the extra step to hurl one out on social media like twitter. There are also websites dedicated to leaving book reviews, including amazon/kindle, and goodreads…I sometimes remember to access those sites to leave my commentary.
Not always though. I want to give a thoughtful review, which requires eloquent thought and meaningful words. Words I have to put into such an order that they actually make sense to the reader, which is something that requires eloquent thought…
And we have come full circle. 🙂
The reason I bring this up now is because I spent some time reading and subsequently submitting stories, and flash fiction, to various venues today. But before I choose a venue to submit my work to, I read some of their published works first. I really like doing that; it gives me a better idea whether my chosen piece is suitable for that particular publication, or not. For instance, if I write a piece about some relationship dilemma, and the magazine focuses mostly on outdoor activities, or pets, then that wouldn’t be an appropriate place to submit this story.
I do my research, is what I’m saying. Research is time consuming but a necessary evil…and if you’re not careful you end up in some internet rabbit hole (and possibly in review purgatory)…
But I digress.
I read several stories in one venue of interest today. I didn’t like all of them, and I didn’t finish some of them. But a couple stood out and intrigued me. One in particular. It enthralled me.
I read the piece and forgot that I had to finish writing something, finish editing something else, my glass was empty, I had to pee… None of it interrupted my reading of this particular story.
So I sat there and read it and then immediately turned on twitter. I looked for both the publication she published in as well as her twitter handle, and hurled a complimentary tweet out into the social internet to let her, and the publication, know that I really enjoyed her piece.
Note to self: do this more often. People appreciate knowing that their writing touched them in some way.
In general, I think the majority of us are capable of being both honest and polite when leaving a review. Not mean or derogatory, or passive aggressive. I think this is important, and shows you are a professional, or at least, acting like one. Let us remember that our profiles on the internet are there to stay forever and all of eternity…
Unless you’re reviewing a crappy product that had misleading information and cost you too much money and caused you all sorts of grief. In that case, let ‘er rip. 😛
What do you think about reviews? Do you make a distinction between product reviews and written articles/book reviews?