Tuesday, 10 October 2017
The comments conundrum: a post by Val the Cookie Queen on Australian Perfume Junkies
Comments and Fleur de Lalita by Parfums Dusita
As you may have noticed, every New Year without fail my paranoia about the relative lack of interaction with readers on Bonkers - for example, my latest post has attracted 332 page views to date and...er...4 comments(!) - reaches its seasonal peak. At that time I reach out to readers - and trust me things have to be in a pretty parlous state to even use the words 'reach out', never mind actually do so! - and ponder what this radio silence may or may not betoken. And resolve to carry on blogging regardless.
And then the other day, I got to talking with Val the Cookie Queen about the whole issue of comments on blogs, and how they do seem to be tailing off generally, although some notable sites - like Australian Perfume Junkies, indeed - still act as a watercooler or focal point in the blogosphere, and get a good quorum of comments on a regular basis. We wondered if the cumbersome steps involved in commenting on a Blogger blog might be offputting, or whether the visual feast that is Instagram has siphoned off some readers. If feasts can be said to siphon, though if they are capable of moving, I am inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt.
But based on the comments coming in so far to Val's post on APJ, it seems that the fall in commenting may not be so much to do with the fragmented nature of today's social media scene, or the physical mechanics of engaging with Blogger blogs (my top theory), but more with people's reluctance to contribute to the discussion unless they feel they have something significant to say. (Which might not be the case with a brand they haven't heard of, like the Civette & Unicorn one I just featured. So I may well have pinpointed the reason for the lack of comments on that particular post!) I must say I did not see that coming. And then I gather other readers hold back because the fragrances in question are not accessible where they live, or are not affordable, or not their kind of thing stylistically / notewise. Others lack the time generally to comment, while a few hold back for fear they might be gatecrashing the 'commenting community' that already exists, like going to a party where you hardly know anyone. I do hope nobody feels that about Bonkers, for the fellow bloggers who mostly pitch in on here are doing so not because we are a clique, truly, even if it may sometimes seem that way. Rather (I suspect!) it is precisely because they are also bloggers that they know how much store I set by any kind of interaction with readers.
And something just occurred to me, namely that the main reason I blog is to entertain. That's it, in a nutshell. The posts are often - but by no means always - hung on a 'hook' of perfume, but the topic could be travel, or the antics of my cat, or a skincare crisis, or a crazy band tour - oh, and I do also plan to report on the upshot of my recent wave of allergy testing for contact dermatitis! But whereas with a stand up comedian the normal rules of engagement are clear, namely to laugh if you find the act funny, and heckle or walk out if you don't!, with the printed word there are no comparable conventions, no set feedback loop.
And I am not sure I have ever fully understood what matters to the readers who stop by here, assuming it wasn't by accident. Plus I may be being presumptuous to even bring up the notion of 'perfume blog as entertainment', which could be purely a figment of my intention. All I know is that if the lack of comments becomes too pronounced (which it tends to by the end of each year, as I say!), I start to question the merit of what I am doing, in terms of quality of output, theme, tone - everything, basically, hehe.
However, by the time the comments have stopped coming in on Val's post, I reckon I shall have learnt an awful lot more about what makes readers of perfume blogs tick, and I would like to thank her for thinking of doing a post on this very subject. It really struck a chord, and as I was part of Val's 'mini-focus group', along with Tara of A Bottled Rose and Thomas of The Candy Perfume Boy, I felt moved this afternoon to write a companion post on Bonkers.
Oh, and notwithstanding all of the above, please don't feel obliged to comment here if you wouldn't naturally have done so. I think my deliberate policy of winkling out lurkers every 12 months in a New Year round up post is probably often enough!