Thursday, 21 May 2009

What Gets My Goat...

I am unsure as to whether the expression that entitles this post is one that is universally means something that gives you the irrits, pisses you off or just makes all the muscles in your body tense up.

In the hopes that this doesn't become a negative suckfest, I will try and inject some humour...(I said try.)

Comments - Okay I am someone who makes sure that if they comment, they write something that matters. I have heard from someone recently that it's the writing of any comment that matters more. I thought about this for awhile, commenting is something I can definitely do more of, feel guilty when I don't. But am I the person who's just going to write 'great haul' or 'looks great'? No. Why? Because when I get notified that I've received a comment, I get excited. But I am always disappointed if it's a throwaway line. I would prefer they didn't bother. This might sound harsh but I am also the teacher that will never write 'great work' for my student's work - I expect them to give reasons for their opinions, why shouldn't I? They get lots of feedback, messily written notes and questions, that cause them to inevitably bug me to mark immediately...the point is, I like to see the person in the comment.

Vow - to make a huge effort to comment originally on more blogs (I need to explore outside the realms of those bloggers I know of better) more frequently. I want to shower the blogoverse with my effervescence lol.

I also think leaving links to your blog in my comments section (without a purpose) is cheap advertising. I have no problem with you linking to your review of the same book or your IMM but don't just link cause you cheapens you. I am not your billboard.

Verifications - I don't like them. When I am typing in bed and I have made the effort to construct a comment, the verifying process it's the last thing I want to do. Usually because it involves some extra neck craning time and words that don't actually exist. I don't ever want to see the words 'flomple' or "bloompel' (what's with the oo's?) again - the fact that I just labelled them words sickens me. And yet, we all got hit with a friendly visit from a spammer a few weeks ago that made me enable my verification toggle for 24 hours. The point here is that I am lazy.

Vlogs - I like vlogs but for me they are like oral presentations - better when planned out, time conscious and showing personality. My internet blows, so uploading can take awhile and if it's nine minutes of um-ing and ah-ing, a few coughs, some inane ramblings and no real point - then I am irritated. This isn't specific to anyone but if you are talking about a book I want to know why you want to read it or why you liked it. Just like my spiel in the comment gripe, I want you to give me a reason to buy it. Khy did a great job in a recent vlog, she focused only a few titles and talked about the style of narrative, characters that she liked and the genre without issuing a single spoiler. But then again, not everyone is blessed with the magical bangs of light and love. I guess the question is vlog or not to vlog - definitely vlog, but make sure you are doing it because you have something to say.

Issues - Of late there have been many posts that cause us to examine our own blogging community. I like healthy discussion but too often the posts and/or comments tumble into accusatory territory. To be honest, I am always a little skeptical when someone posts on an "issue" because sometimes it's a passive aggressive shot at another blogger, or group of bloggers. More often then not it results in hurt feelings, multiple hits and plethora of comments. Oh, I forgot the paranoia that runs rampant. Yet I also find myself commenting, regardless of my thoughts on people's motivations for posting or commenting, but I always feel dirty after.

Kristi recently posted a issue blog where she brought it up in an objective matter. I couldn't discern her personal feelings (always a plus - not like the post you are currently reading) and thus people could remark freely. Her post set the tone but a few anonymous commenters eventually caused her to shut it down. I liked that she did this. She could have kept it up, stirring the controversy and getting more hits but she made the right decision and closed that baby down. If you are posting an "issue" post make sure you are monitoring it.

Anonymous - I think it's poor when someone hides behind that moniker but I do understand. When your opinion, which is valid, is inevitably going to get shot's easier to hide in the shadows. I flirted with the idea when I commented on another blog a few weeks back. I knew what I was saying was morally right but would be unpopular with the posters. I pressed send anyway and then got labelled 'uptight'. That hurt. But I still know that I did the right thing so I guess I can sit here somewhat reassured. Interestingly, some people chose to email me their support rather than support me in the comment thread. I guess this shows some of the pressure to tow the line.

But using 'anonymous' when you are blatantly attacking someone is a no go. If you feel that vehemently, make the effort to contact that person and express your concerns. I do understand that the thought of being blackballed might make this an unappealing idea.

Twitter - Gosh I love it. But boy is it addictive. The one thing I want to say about Twitter is how many ways you can interpret 140 characters. What you might mean as a tongue-in-cheek line might come across as an attack to another. Context is key. However I always wince when I see people asking authors for ARCS via twitter - arghhhh. I think it's the epitome of yikesville. Write them an email, better yet write a politely worded request to the publisher. Twitter is not the place to be pleading, begging or putting authors on the spot like that. If you feel the need to use Twitter, use the DM function please. If you think you are good enough friends or acquaintances to be asking for an ARC...still ask them via email.

The copious RTs get me too.

As do people repeatedly linking their blog posts. Once is quite enough, thank you.

Spelling & Typos - Now here's where I put my hand up. I am shocking at catching my typos, specifically when I have missed entire words. I am sure you've spotted a few as you've read this post. I am old school. I need to see it on paper to properly correct myself. It completely frustrates me that I can read a comment, or post, three times and not notice the error until it's up there on the screen screaming 'Adele can't spell' (which isn't true but how would you know from the copious typos.) The truth is I suffer from a condition called typodemon and a cure has yet to be discovered. Sigh.

Now that I have branded myself the uber-stuck up, whiny adult with too many qualms and a stick up her butt, I shall finish up. I love the blogosphere, I love bloggers but I think we can be nicer to each other. Nice isn't always a bad word.

** I do realise that by posting this I have opened myself up to calls of hypocrisy but my goal is to ask people to treat one another with decency and good manners. Also that you shouldn't do on the Internet what you wouldn't consider doing in real life, the person on the other side of the comment or post is a real person with real feelings and we should NEVER forget that.


Renay said...

I feel you on the commenting thing. I sometimes worry that people get annoyed with me for not commenting, but unless I have a pretty strong opinion or am excited/annoyed about something in the post, I stay away and hope people realize I am reading. I feel the same about comments as you do, I suppose. I worry about being seen as an attention grabber by accidentally posting something throwaway even if I don't link to myself in the comment. I worry about it even when it's just my profile link.

I'm pretty neurotic, I suppose. ;)

Lenore said...

Haha! The first typo I noticed was in the section about the typos!

I know some people like posting "issues" because they get a ton of hits. When I posted about authors requesting reviews though, it wasn't at all calculated. I just didn't have a book review ready and it was on my mind. And then it exploded in a way I never expected. It never got as nasty as the discussion on The Story Siren though. I totally agree that she was right to shut it down.

Adele said...

Renay - you've pretty summarised my thoughts on commenting. I read an awful lot of blogs but don't comment. I guess it means I just have to be more inventive in my responses :)

Lenore - Thanks! I knew that would happen, it's not be edited because my old eyes didn't see diddley squat.

I actually really liked your issue post as it wasn't nitpicking bloggers so much as bringing up our thoughts about the responsibilities as a blogger. I think a lot of great discussion about our role, how the authors see our role and how we should ideally conduct ourselves has been brought to the light. I mentioned Kristi's as it had been the most recent one that sprang into my junky mind.

Thanks for commenting ladies :)

(Spot the typo...cause I didn't)

Natalie Hatch said...

Great post.

Natalie Hatch said...

Sorry Adele, I had to do that, you know I like stirring. I have had a few comments on blogs that I write where it's given me pause to think. Luckily no one has ever spammed me (yet, crossing fingers) or attacked anything that I have said. But I've seen it done, not nice. My biggest thing is people being anonymous, I'd love to reply to peoples comments and go and see their blogs as well, but anons, well you know how it is.

Korianne said...

Ok, prepare yourself for one long comment sista! And just so you know, I am a terrible commentor, but you left me with some thing to say!

Comments - I totally agree with you about this. I guess it's the teacher/future teacher in both of us but I absolutely hate those comments that say "That's cool" and don't even tell me what that is. I only leave a comment when something has sparked my interest. I read almost all of the blogs I follow on my google reader, so it takes an extra step for me to comment. If I don't see anything that I need to talk about I don't comment. I hope that the blogs I follow know I am reading, but if not then I am sorry, at least I enjoyed their content. I sometimes feel so guilty when I comment on a contest, because it has been ages since I commented on the blog, but I hope they understand.

Vow - Can I also take this vow? Because I totally am!

Oh, and links tick me off. The only time I have ever used a link that was posted in my comments was when I had directly asked for links to places to find contests. I agree, unless the blog writer directly asks for links or if you have written on a similar subject there is no need for it. Who want's to be a links whore? Not I. I do think this is a mistake many beginner bloggers, including myself, make though. They don't understand how offending it can be to be like, "Well I just read your blog, now you are obligated to read mine."

Verifications - I hate them too, but since I get hit with so many spammers I am forced to keep mine on there. Athough occationally they can provide quite funny word mash-ups they are a pain. I am lazy, like you, so I know where you are coming from girly!

Vlogs - Alright, this is one where I have to say: Guilty as charged. I just started doing vlogs, and I fail at cutting them down in time. It seems I have so much to talk about for one 10 minute video a week. I am however working on getting to the point when I vlog by making a list of what I want to talk about and trying to stop the ums. But you are totally right. When I watch vlogs I expect them to be entertaining and to the point, why shouldn't mine do the same.

Issues - I agree. I hate rant/issues posts because of the fact that most of the time it's just bloggers trying to get there digs in at other bloggers. The point in posting and issues blog is to help the other bloggers by explaining that this might not be something they want to do, not to shoot them down or chew them out for doing so. I agree with you on the feeling dirty part. I rarely comment on those blogs, but when do I just feel like I am right back in high school spewing the, "Well she said this, then he said that," drama. I have never posted an issues blog other than when I ranted about how stupid my computer was being (bad move, I couldn't stop rambleing) but if I ever do that baby will be watched like a hawk. I like new viewers, but not at the cost of someone getting their feelings hurt.

Anonymous - I actually have never gotten an Anon comment other then a n00b who didn't know how to work things on a contest. I agree though, if you have something to say you should at least take accountablity for it.

Continued in another comment, yes I am a rambler.

Korianne said...

Twitter - I am obsessed too. I agree. I have actually only once asked a publisher for books and it was via email. I see people's need to ask publishers/authors/editors for books, but doing so on twitter just makes you seem lazy and/or cheep-ish in some way. I am scared to death to ask for books, I just feel like it's asking for handouts. I only asked the publisher contact I had after reviewing 2 adult books for them via Library Thing Early reviewers and I only casually mentioned that if they had any YA books they would like me to review I would love to post the reviews on my blog. If she hadn't said yes it would have been no harm done. I just don't totally feel comfortable asking unless they come to me first. Not to drop names or anything, but Siobhan Vivian and I talk almost daily on twitter or facebook, and I would never feel comfortable asking for a book from her unless she offered. Plus I feel like the fact that my buying her books supports her just a little bit makes me a more loyal fan. If I were to get an ARC I would still go out and buy a copy afterward if I like it that much.

Ok, I must admit I RT alot, but it's only when I see the need to share what someone has said because it made me laugh or I thought it was insiteful. I usually leave a comment afterward about why I RT'd, but I know what you are saying when someone just RT's something and it has nothing to do with what they have said nor do they tell you why they RT'd it.

I fail at the multiple linkings sometimes. I have Twitter Feed set up so I can link you to my blog, but it often doesn't work, or when it does it posts it really late. But then there are other times when it works perfectly. So when I do post it twice it's because I have been tweeting about writing my post and people are asking about when it is done. I have been contemplating turning Twitterfeed off completely, but it's so convenient when I am not on twitter/TweetDeck after writing a post. What do you think? I value your opinion.

Spelling & Typos - *waves hand around like a ninny* You caught me, I am a closeted bad speller. I need my spell check badly, which is why you have probably stumbled upon quite a few of my errors already. However people who make out and out dumb errors on twitter repeatedly just kill me! I have a hard time not saying @reply It's you're not your. Or @reply It's spelled weird, not wierd. Sad thing, I do it too. However, I would get a kick out of people correcting me. So if you see spelling errors feel free to tell me, you won't offend me. It might actually help me. True facts: I spelled the word surprise: surprize for the first 18 years of my life. So I need that little edit.

Lovely blogger you are, uber-stuck up, whiny adult with too many qualms and a stick up her butt, you are not. Don't let yourself think that. This post was well worded and made awesome posts. If I were more of a n00b I would be so glad someone gave me these tips before I made the mistakes. I actually read a more finger pointy post right after I joined blogger and it left me feeling like the rest of the blogosphere was a bunch of nit picky people who I wasn't sure I wanted to associate myself with, but later I just came to see that was one bad apple in the bunch. Your blog touched on all of the subjects without calling out any names or even feeling like you were accusing someone. Great job. Sorry I got a bit lengthy on this one.

Lenore said...

The typo I saw is gone. It looked like this: p'ost.

libliz said...

I now feel terrible about a comment I made on Twitter. You are so right about 140 characters.
I made what could be read as a snippy comment about Zac Efron. What I actually did mean was that up until recently, I have taken no interest in him.
Sorry if I've been snippy & snarky lately. :(
It's very true that everyone can be nicer to each other and nice isn't a terrible word.

Adele said...

LOL Liz, believe me I was not offended by your ambivilence to Zac Efron. I am not totally keen on the lad myself :) It was a general observation about twitter communication, especially in regards to ARCS. I always love a snippy tweet from you!

Janssen said...

I love Zac Efron :)

Um, anyway. . . .

I am not sold on the vlogs. I can't think of the last time I watched one because I'm generally not at home when I'm reading blogs and even if I am, it's just not worth spending 5 minutes watching a blurry video when I could have read the same post in 2.

GreenBeanTeenQueen said...

Yeah, I'm totally with you on the verification thing-I hate that!! I type up a lovely comment and then I have to figure out that work? ugh

I've enjoyed talking about some of the issues we've been talking about it-but I don't really think it helps at all. It's mainly people venting, which is not good and can start to get ugly.

And I try to to add more than great review to my comments and I try to comment on posts because I love getting them, but I want to have some substance.

The Book Chook said...

There is so much here to think about. One area I am not sure I agree is comments. Here's my take.

I visit lots of blogs with no comments. When the blogger has gone to all the trouble to craft a great book review or interesting post, I feel it's the least I can do to let them know that someone out here in cyberspace is reading. So my comment is like a calling card. And sometimes, with the best will in the world, I cannot think of anything witty or even worthwhile to say. Sometimes I am reading late at night or early morning when "grunt" is about the best I can do in real life.

However, as a blogger, I very much appreciate those commenters who add value to my blog. It's not so much originality I am looking for, as someone who contributes something I hadn't mentioned, or gives another example, or speaks from their heart. Heck, a shower of effervescence sounds great too!

Khy said...

Aw, yay for you liking my vlog! :D I'm glad to hear that, especially on a bad day like this.

Alea said...

You know i've wondered about commenting too. In the past (and probably still a little) I would just say whatever came to mind however unoriginal and I was like hmm maybe that's annoying and maybe I should comment less but when I comment actually write something instead of blah blah blah whatever. That probably doesn't make sense, but I think I'm in agreement with you. Sometimes I just can't think of a comment to leave and that's ok, I'll leave one next time when I have something good to say! Ok done rambling.

Jordyn said...

This is such a thoughtful post. I actually only disagree with you (and then only sort of) one one point... the "issue" posts. I always love them and think it's a good idea to discuss (or even just share your opinion) the unwritten rules of YA blogging, the bloggers' role, etc. It's only bad, I think, if feelings get hurt (ie. there is bashing of a specific blogger, author, shouty fights in comments, etc.).

Alexa Young said...

Oh, Adele, There are plenty of classy YA bloggers, but I appreciate the way you take things to a higher level and confront issues head-on. So...GREAT POST! ;-)

I don't mind the "great post" comments because I think ANY comment helps build a sense of community and I always appreciate someone taking time to say they were there. (Incidentally, I wonder how many people follow blogs anonymously and wonder why they do that...?) I've decided recently to comment more because of that very fact--build that community, baby.

I also kind of like the issue posts--mostly when they spark a lively debate and don't spiral into a pit of name-calling/badgering/etc. Constructive conversation or none at all, thank you.

It's tough though. Everyone has so much to say and blogs (and vlogs and emails and tweets and status updates)--even in the most adept hands and minds--somehow seem to fall short.

Long comment longer (!), I enjoy these posts and discussions because there's always room for improvement. Don't I know it! :-O


Alexa Young said...

PS: Great goats! baaaaa haaaaa haaaaa

Shalonda said...

Oh I love it! You are the second person I've heard of that says "gets my goat". And I think it's the greatest saying ever!

I tend to agree with what annoys you. I am guilty of leaving comments like great haul on IMM posts because I want the blogger to know I have visited, but I often run out of things to say or become too tired after commenting on 30 other IMM posts.

Also, I HATE when people leave links to their own blog. In fact, I sometimes delete them. If you want to link something, email me. Maybe I can leave the link in a post or on my sidebar. Otherwise don't advertise YOUR blog on MY site. It's just tacky!

Vlogs, I'm guilty. I try to limit my vlogs to under 5 minutes, as I usually don't have much to say. I do a much better job putting my thoughts in writing. But yes, Khy, always has wonderful vlogs and I hope she continues posting them.

Spelling and grammatical errors annoy me to no end! I work really hard to edit my posts and think everyone should. I teach 7th grade students and they know to edit their work before turning it in for grading, so you'd think one would edit their writing before posting for all the world to read.

Ok, and I'm rambling, so I'm ending with Twitter. I am visiting Twitter less often, because I am tired of seeing tweets that are clogging my box because they just want to say "ok". I mean really, I read all the tweets I've missed throughout the day and it takes forever! I am also annoyed at seeing people ask for ARCs from authors via Twitter. Also very tacky!

Sorry my comment is so long, but you've covered many of the things that also get my goat!

BookChic said...

I'm different on comments... well, kinda, lol. I enjoy getting ANY kind of comment, but I do enjoy it more when it's something I can reply to, thus sparking a conversation. But I do see where you're coming from.

Like others, I'm guilty with the vlog thing, lol. I ramble on and on usually with no real point. It's hard for me to keep it under 10 minutes because I just love talking about books and my stories tend to go on and on. But I do hope that my vlogs are still entertaining, despite the sometimes long length of them.

Really great post. I love reading about other peoples' thoughts regarding various aspects of blogging.

Mrs. Wishard said...

Wow, I'm glad I read this post! Being new to blogging I only have a few comments.
First, I think that a new blogger likes almost any comments. It's nice to know that someone is actually reading a review I took the time write. Even a "nice job" comment makes my day. I know, sad but really! But if I see a well known blogger who posts something that I don't really have anything of quality to post about I don't.

About the links, now I feel like crap, I put my links everywhere! Yes my name is Darcy and I am a link whore*sob*sob*
Who knew? not me! Maybe someone needs to post etiquette rules for new bloggers (as I'm typing this I'm thinking there must be one out there)but as they say "Live and learn"!

Finally, and as a librarian this is really embarrassing, my spelling can be atrocious. I think its a whole generational thing of relying on spellcheck!
So, in closing, thanks for the tips and I promise to enter some 10 step program to cure my link whoreness! Ha...I bet if I google it there is one!
I love you book bloggers!

Mrs. Wishard said...

What I mean is I love the community of Book Bloggers in case that came across weird :o)