Monday, November 7, 2011

In which I return to my roots

No, this is not a post about having the roots of my hair touched up so as to cover up the grey. Although I did go to the hairdresser last week, and I must admit that it really cheered me up.

In this post I return to my commentbox roots.

I was first attracted to blogs because of those lovely little boxes at the end of each post. This past week I had occasion to disagree with a style blogger and I was about to move on without writing a comment because I feared the consequences of disagreeing with her.

I'm not talking about her tracking me down and, you know, beating me up, just that merely disagreeing with a blogger these days can often result in other readers' somewhat aggressive comments. I should point out here that this has never actually happened to me, but I've seen it happen to others, and I'm sensitive. In short - I have been worrying for two days now about the comment I left on this stylist's blog, even though it was very polite, not at all personal and received only a polite (although somewhat icy, remember I'm sensitive, overly so, always have been) response.

Have you ever had that niggling suspicion that disagreeing with a blogger in her commentbox is being mean? Do you think it's better not to write a comment at all in that case? AND - if so - does that explain the general trend in the Australian mummy and beauty blog spheres to adore each other to such an extent that everything becomes a love-fest of mutual admiration rather than an interesting potpourri of difference and genuine interest in the other point of view?

I have written very few commentboxes in my blog-life which made me cringe at a later date and wonder at my motivation. But lately I've been feeling cranky with the world, and I can feel it rubbing off on my commentbox persona. I think the problem may have started because I'm following many style blogs solely for research purposes, and these style bloggers have slowly become a part of my own style world, often to my own dismay. I'm following nailpolish addicts' blogs even as I inwardly sneer at their hobby (nobody, but nobody, is as obsessive as a nailpolish blogger). I'm following Australian style bloggers whose personal style actually makes my skin crawl, and yet there I am, day in, day out, apparently addicted to their regular posts even though they remind me how much ugly fashion there is in the world.

Do commentboxes take on a different meaning now that so many Australian style blogs are monetised ? Certainly if a personal blogger takes photos of herself in different outfits I would never ever write a remotely negative comment. But what if that blog is the blogger's business? And what if that outfit she's wearing, and the entire post, is in fact an advertisement (albeit honest) for a specific brand of clothing? So what is the etiquette in this case? Is it OK for the blog's readers to post only positive comments out of politeness?

I'm not certain. But I'm too scared to find out. I'm sensitive you know.

E x


Mary said...

Eleanor - as usual your insight is razor sharp.

I guess for me if it is a styling blog and I don't like what they have done I would keep quiet rather than say anything.

The difference between the monetised blogs and those blogs which we follow because we care about the writers is that word "care." Say you and I had a difference of opinion about something then we would work that through in the comments or by email. We care about what the other is thinking/feeling - good or bad. If we do not have a personal link to the writer then it is very easy to stay quiet if we don't like something - because the care factor is not there.

And also because there is a large part of me that thinks that if I have nothing nice to say then say nothing!

I love the design blogs - love them - but never feel as though I need to comment.

Julia said...

If I disagreed with something a blogger in my commentbox said, I'd treat the comment and blogger the way I treat disagreement in real life. If the person is a complete stranger to me, and I feel it might be dangerous to start an argument, I'd ignore the comment. If I know the person and they are merely disagreeing in a friendly or funny way I'd respond in kind in the comment box. If the person seriously disagreed with me and I knew them, I'd email and take the argument offline and away from other people.

Julia said...

Interesting question by the way, I'm looking forward to hearing what others say about it.

blackbird said...

I write in one place for me and one place for money. I have very little emotional attachment at the place where I write for money and those posts rarely reflect my personal style. If you disagreed with something I'd written there and commented I'd hardly give it a thought.
Now, cross me on my personal blog?
Not a good idea.
But who would do that?

Paola said...

Oh boy.
Blogosphere is becoming hard place to be ...
I don't have a blog so I only speak as a commenter.
I have my circle of blogs which I adore and comment on, rarely I found something I didn't agree and if I did I hope I was polite and kind in expressing it.
Bottom line: if you disagree with what the blog say, don't read/comment/follow. Blogs are very personal and nobody is forcing anyone to read them, so readers MUST respect that.

This came out too long ... sorry.

kmkat said...

I don't think any -- or hardly any -- of the blogs I read are monetized. Never thought about that distinction before. How I act when disagreeing with a blogger really depends on how much time I have. Feeling busy, no comment and move on. Feeling wordy, a carefully written disagreement, generally qualified by something to the effect of "this is just my 2 cents worth".

Frogdancer said...

Maybe I should start up a 'style' blog.

Though looking at the emsemble I threw together today and the fact that I left the house without makeup on... maybe not.

Duyvken said...

It is hard for me to have a strong opinion on this piece because I don't spend any time on style blogs but I think there is a different tone in comments on personal blogs (even if they are monetised) than there is in comments on journalism blogs. For example, I almost never read a positive comment on an SMH article. I am sure that their style bloggers deal with a lot of trolls.
As an aside - My irritation that journalism sites even have blog style content deserves an entire post of it's own so I won't drag that in here, darling E.
The most valid way to disagree with someone in blog commentary seems to be with humour but often people seem to just not say anything at all unless they are itching to start an argument.

Jen said...

My general feeling is that I'd rather someone disagree with me in my comment box than not comment at all. This isn't to say I wouldn't feel miffed or ticked off--just that sometimes feeling miffed and ticked off is a refreshing change of pace from listening to the sound of chirping crickets.

Bonnie Friday said...

hmm interesting post Eleanor!
In my experience, I welcome critical feedback. Though I must admit, I have been hurt by very cruel comments that have attacked me as a person and resorted to bad language and name calling. Having said that I also wouldn't want someone to comment positively if they didn't like my material.
I think there's a fine line. If you want to say something that you wouldn't say to someone's face because it's hurtful, don't put it in the commentbox. But if you disagree with a blogger's post and want to add to the conversation - that's what the commentbox is for!

I know what you mean though, it;s sometimes a lot easier not to comment at all...

On that note, thank you for your lovely comment on my blog! Haha I appreciate your feedback and I am enjoying reading through all your material!


kim at allconsuming said...

I've been thinking of starting a style blog, called the 'get real' style: how to leave the house without food-stained clothing. Yeah, basically advocating a naturalist lifestyle.

I'm cranky at the world too - because what is happening in blogging is happening in mainstream media too - all the fluff and bubble and none of the substance and when there is substance it is really watered down 'idiot's guide' kinda stuff (eg: Mamamia).

So yeah, I'd be getting snarky left right and centre. What are they going to do? Make you wear white satin pants?

h&b said...

I guess most people "moderate" these days, so if they didn't like you, there's the fact you would probably not make it to the commentbox?

I'm actually not a fan of moderation, but recently enabled it on my own ( business ) blog due to the fact I photographed a same-sex couple.. and by jingos that can bring out some nasty, stupid people ( Note: I didn't have to delete any horrible comments, which was a relief )

I do remember a time though when I blogged a blissful happy young pregnant couple, and their eyes were full of the sun & the moon and they absolutely shone. I was horrified to find a comment that day from someone not so young and happy detailing how "they'll soon find out it's not all sunshine & lollipops". To date, it's the only comment i've ever deleted. I found it mean, and the person was someone I knew and they damn well knew it was a business blog and the couple would probably read it :(

But on my personal blog, I like a differing viewpoint, and will reply to it there and then .. not that i'm very controversial .. normally ...

But yes, Nuffnang and sycophants.. it's what actually turned me off blogging ( after 6yrs ) .. gag.

Loretta a/k/a Mrs. Pom said...

Blackbird left one of the first comments on my blog and led me to so many fabulous bloggers.

Glad to meet your blog, though I do know you from her comment box.

There is a house design blog I began following when she was just a very nice middle aged mom featuring her DIY. She has had great success now, is still very nice, but the blog has now turned into featured posts for her free new flooring, free new family room furniture, free kitchen redo.

Find it very irritating. (Probably cause it's not me...._)

Alastair Alex said...

Nice post with awesome points! Can’t wait for the next one.
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