Right off the bat, I should say that the title of this post in no way sets out to make fun of the various forms of rubric by which other bloggers introduce an interactive post. Rather, by combining all the customary terms for such things in one strangely lumpen phrase, my aim is to emphasise the fact that posts which invite a reader response are in fact the norm, and I am out on a limb here for mostly eschewing them.
Thinking across the many blogs I enjoy reading, you’ve got Now Smell This with its Monday Mail to help find someone a perfume – it was commenting on one of those posts that led to my friendship with lovethescents, one of the search subjects back in 2008! And of course, Now Smell This also has its Lazy Open Threads and Quarterly Damage Polls about bottle purchases. Olfactoria has her Monday Question, Boisdejasmin recently conducted a poll on the most popular scents amongst perfumistas, while not so long ago Josephine invited readers to think up a comedy name for her nose, which was a lot of fun! (Daphne). And then more blogs than you can shake a stick at (myself included - see below!) also invite a comment on a specific aspect of a post to qualify for a prize draw.
And apart from all the above, there are the ad hoc questions lobbed in at the end of a post on anything, pretty much. Every blogger worth their salt does that. As a bit of a maverick, however, I tend to prefer more oddball lines of questioning to the perennial suspects about how you store your perfumes, or your top spring/summer/”cosy sweater” scents etc. This is not to say that these aren’t perfectly valid questions to which people’s answers might change from year to year, even if they feel a bit Groundhog Day to me.
And when it comes to this more “left field” style of questions, Katie Puckrik’s zany blog offers us rich pickings:
Fumies, what's your favorite "yacht perfume?"
Fumies, help "un homme fatal" out. Your best "beautiful and cruel" perfumes for the gent, if you please.
Fumies, what garbage dump perfume might we smell at Ms. Edwards' barbecue?
Now for the occasion of my 200th post, I did take the plunge and dip my toe in the interactive arena with a prize draw of my own – I was quite apprehensive about doing so, but the draw drew a good response in fact! But if my memory serves me, that was pretty much the lone exception to my general custom of merely talking to myself. ("Bonkers" by name, bonkers by nature, you might say....)
Right, time for the psychoanalysis bit – let’s hope Potiron, our resident fumehead-cum-shrink is reading this... - why do I not overtly invite readers to participate in posts on Bonkers? Is it because I am not interested in what people have to say?
(Don’t worry – those were both rhetorical questions!)
No, that's not it at all, indeed when readers comment of their own accord, they come up with all sorts of intriguing titbits on topics as diverse as their own Beau’s Lines, teeth and sinus cavities, to Scottish travel aspirations, wedding dress bra arrangements and thoughts on the brand extension strategy of a penknife company. I love all these comments, I do!!! I just can’t bring myself actively to solicit them in any shape or form (except for that 200th post, when I broke through, swallowed my reserve and connected with people in the conventional manner on such milestone occasions).
Hmm...the reason I think I feel shy about asking readers to participate on Bonkers is the exact same reason why, down the years, I have hardly ever had a dinner party, never mind a proper party party. I barely ask individual friends if they want to do things, but wait to be invited. Yes, I may appear a gregarious soul - and I am, when I get to where I am going - however, I am incredibly timid about making social overtures in the first place. The bottom line is that I am afraid that people will not want to come to my party or whatever, and will say no, or just fail to get back to me with an answer. You know, a touch of Groucho Marx club syndrome may be at work here. It is a defence mechanism to preempt disappointment, like taking a book with you along to a speed dating event.
So it’s official then – as far as blogging goes, I am a shrinking violet – “in and proud”. Only I am not proud, because clearly I am questioning my stance on the matter – it has prompted this post, after all. No, I am “in and indecisive", more like.
Okay, so I had got right to the end of this post, and was just looking for images to illustrate it, when I came upon an article on the subject of comments, which gave the following tips to bloggers to make their site a more friendly environment, and encourage readers to de-lurk. Here are the headings of note:
Invite comments (as discussed!)
Compel them to comment(!) (eg discuss Tiger Woods' philandering in a bid to draw your readers out - : - ) )
Reward your readers (that's the prize draw business)
Tried and tested subject (okay, well, we don't quite see eye to eye there, though I quite take the point, and it says here that it's also winner in SEO terms)
Reveal your soft underbelly (done?!)
Be nice! (I do hope so, and if not, someone usually pops up and bites me on the nose)
Sooooo….do people already feel there is an open invitation to comment on any post – or shoot the breeze in an off-topic way as the spirit moves them – or should Bonkers be more overtly interactive, posing specific questions of the reader? Eek! Did I just ask a question? Oh no, was that another one?? How many is that now?! Double eek!
Fascination Perfumery Part 2 up next…
Photo of shy girl from jjhelp.com, photo of comments label from rssapplied.com, photo of dog from socialbookmarkingsite.net, photo of Katie Puckrik Smells from wikio.com, photo of poll figures from dota-blog.com, photo of shrinking violet from cynthialeititch.blogspot.com, photo of poll form from blogtipz.com