I wish I was one of those people who’s all, “I don’t care what anyone thinks! I’m going to dance like nobody’s watching, just like that Inspirational Magnet says!” But you guys, people ARE watching, despite the claims of the Inspirational Magnet, and as much as I’d like to say I just shrug my shoulders and go about my business never caring what others think, the truth is, I’m not built that way.
This rambly introduction relates (kind of tangentially) to the Topic du Jour of compensated reviews. I have a new post up on my other blog, and frankly, given all the talk swirling around compensated reviews lately, I felt kind of icky just linking over to it without saying my piece. I was worried, you see, that you guys would roll your eyes at me (especially those of you who are new here, and didn't see the post I had written about reviews a while back) thinking I'm...well, I don't know WHAT, exactly, but I couldn't bear the thought of it being something negative. And so, here we are. The compensated review battle lines are being draw once again, and I find myself…
Not caring at all.
Let me rephrase that. I care (clearly) about the perception you guys have of me and the standards whereby I select and write product reviews, but in terms of The Bigger Picture? COULDN’T CARE LESS, people. Perhaps that leaves me squarely in the minority, but I ask you, honestly, and in no way rhetorically, what IS the big deal here? Because I’m honestly lost. Doesn't good writing always prevail? No? Seriously, TELL ME WHAT THE BIG DEAL IS HERE.
As always, I can’t and wouldn’t presume to speak for any group, but as for me, no matter what I’m writing about, I really do strive to put together something that resembles decent writing. I didn’t start my blog to get anything special, and although great opportunities have been thrown my way, most notably in the past year (I MET TIM GUNN FOR CRISSAKES OMFG), I…well, I don’t believe the way I write OR what I write has suffered for it. I never, ever sit down and post for the sake of posting, and to wit, I never, ever post something with which I’m not satisfied, here or on my review blog. And it’s funny, because my god, I’m writing about such utterly trivial nonsense half (okay, 95%) of the time, that I feel ridiculous even attempting to defend or qualify what I do as “decent writing.” (And no, I’m not fishing, this is simply FACT.) But caring about what I choose to write--compensated reviews AND regular posts, be they about my kids or Venn Diagrams of Top Gun-- in and of itself makes me a "good" writer. I know, I know. We’re not supposed to acknowledge that we think we write well, but honestly, not one of us would keep it up if we didn’t think we had something to offer.
And really, that's just the thing. We all started out blogs for our own personal reasons. And hey, maybe someone's reason WAS "I care about becoming a big-time review blogger getting major companies courting me, and then I'll share my knowledge with the world!" It might not be your reason or my reason, but what makes that reason any less valid than the oft-repeated "I wanted to find other moms like me" refrain? Perhaps some people feel jealous, perhaps some people feel threatened, perhaps others bristle at the thought of people dictating How Things Should Be. I DON'T KNOW, and as stated, I'm genuinely confused as to the storm that's brewing. I'm not resorting to platitudes or saying "can't we all just get along?" Because--no. Not my point. I just wanted to get my feelings out about this.
There's a quote I love, and in many ways, try to incorporate into my life: "To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions. Both dispense with the need for thought." (credit: H. Poincare. And also, the New York City subway system.) I feel like it applies in so many ways to so many things. And with this, really, I look at each blog I read in a vacuum, and not in some black and white world where I Must Choose A Side. I've read some wonderfully inventive reviews, and I've read some dull regular blog posts. (What? WE ALL HAVE.) I've read blog posts that make me want to toss my laptop on a bonfire, weeping "I will never be that good!" and review posts that were clearly written with one hand out for the paycheck. WHATEVER. Point is, there's no absolute here, at least not one that I can see.
And despite what some other bloggers have experienced, I PERSONALLY have never been ambushed by a review. Every paid review I've ever seen has been clearly marked as such, and I follow that same practice, in the interest of full disclosure. I write honestly about the products I'm reviewing and think FOR A WHILE not only about how to say what I want to in a way that's not only tactful, but hopefully engaging to anyone who's reading it. When you put time and effort into your writing, it comes across. I hope.
And finally, on that note, yes, I do have a new post up on my other blog. Yes, I was compensated, but yes, I care about and stand behind it as I do everything I post here. You can read it, or not. But please know that I will never, ever try to trick you into reading what is clearly a compensated review, or shortchange you by throwing utter horseshit on the screen here, or there. I started this blog a few years ago with one reader, then two, and then a few more, and so on. I am grateful and happy that I HAVE people who read and comment on what I write, and I'd never try to take advantage of that. So, thank you for reading this, and well, everything of mine that you choose to read. Now, let's all get back to talking about the REALLY important stuff, like what the American Apparel ad team is smoking. Because MY GOD.