Friday, August 31, 2012

Critical thinking and your thoughts please









Shirt: F21 (thrifted)
Skirt: Old Navy (thrifted)
Shoes: Payless
Handbag: Vintage Coach (thrifted)

I've had this post on my mind for some time, but I've held off on it, I am not the best at expressing myself.  However, I think I'll give it a try today.  Here's the heads up towards this being a long post.

I think this outfit is in need of some critical thinking.  I liked how it felt today but after looking back at the photographs, I can see it needs some work.  The flowy top with the pleated skirt is just too much and would it have killed me to work in a print or something visually interesting?  There are flaws with this outfit.  But in the world of blogging, most will just say, "nice skirt" and not "ah, girl, too much volume today!  Try a structured shirt with this skirt next time."  It is not cool to offer advice or a critical thought. But you know what?  I will love you more if you point out my mistakes and take the time to give me feedback. 

When I first started blogging a long, long time ago, a whole eight months to be exact, I was really starry eyed and excited about it.  It was fun to start something created since I had dropped my art, writing and riding after I had kids.  It was fun to be creative again!  

But as the months have gone on and as I've slowly started exploring this blogging world, I've noticed a lack of critical thinking.  I wasn't sure at first if this was because it's personal style and therefore somewhat subjective, or maybe just not nice manners, but I was use to the writing and art community where critical thinking and critical advice was thrived upon.  I was surprised to see bloggers write in their comment boxes that "only positive thoughts and sparkles and rainbows and unicorns oh my!"  were allowed and that all "negative" comments would be deleted.  Okey dokey.  I get why people don't want cursing in their comments and negative comments means body-bashing or death threats, right?

Nope.  I personally learned this a couple days ago.  One blogger who I've followed for a while and comment on fairly often had a cute outfit that I really liked, but had something about it that visually threw it off.  I made a long, polite comment about what I really like about the comment, then noted that the belt placement threw it off a bit. (I even apologized for mentioning it.)  I liked this blogger and being that she seemed to be a lovely, mature lady, I thought she'd be okay with that.  Well, the comment was deleted.   I was really surprised and made a apology, hoping I hadn't offended her.  She replied saying she wanted her blog to be a positive spot and thanks for visiting.   I was really thrown and kind of shocked that 1)mentioning the placement of a belt was a negative comment when the majority of the comment was saying what I liked about her look. 2) She felt she had to delete the comment and unfollow me, then pretended she didn't know me and that my thoughts were that unimportant as a reader unless it was in fawning adoration.  

And this is a huge problem in the blogging world to me.  As readers, unless we fawn over a blogger, our thoughts are not important and we are "omg! Haters! Let's see your blog with millions of hits and followers, then you can talk!"  What?!  Since when did how many followers or hits relate to my importance as a reader and fellow blogger?  Are comments like "Love ur shoes, follow me back!" of more importance?  Is that really what it is all about? 

Heh, reading back, that does sound like a case of the sour appleson my part, but I've noticed this on many of the bigger blogs or even some of the smaller ones.  I'll read a comment above mine, go "yeah, that sounds right, these shoes aren't quite the right fit for this outfit" and then two days later be subjected allowed to a post from the blogger about the haters and negative comments.  It is made out to be that so many people are  leaving hate mail when one person made a comment about shoes.   I get that if you don't like something, don't read it. But don't write off your readers and your fellow bloggers for having a option or a thought in their head.

Critical thinking is how we improve.  One commentator left me a comment a week ago stating that my posts were hard to read because I did not spell check enough or edit my posts.  She was 100 percent correct and I thank her for taking the time to let me know that.  I had a problem with spelling and I'd been coasting lately, hoping no one had noticed.  She let me know that people had notice and that will make me step up my game. (Or at least edit.)  And not all bloggers write off  a reader's critical thought. Gracey over at Fashion for Giants is amazing in dealing with and respecting her readers and their opinions. (One reason I love you Gracey!)

If you've taken the time to read through my ungainly post and scattered thoughts, please note that I am not talking about you!  This post in not generated towards any one blogger in general but rather my thoughts on the watering down of opinions within the blogging world.

If I read or follow a blog, it is because you are a awesome babe whose style I like and you have something interesting to say.  I take my time to convey (hopefully) that to you because I like and respect you and I respect the time you take posting.    I don't comment on every blog out there because I want traffic to my blog.  I don't intend to monetize my blog so traffic isn't important nor is having hundreds of followers who say "cool boots" on every post. (Which none of you mega awesome babes do.)  I comment on your blogs because I like you.   Every once in a while I might comment that a different color might work better, but if I do it is because I respect you and I would hope that you would do that same and call me out on my mistakes. (And lordy, have I ever made some.)     I don't mean this post to be a hating on blogging or any one blogger, but rather, hopefully, opening up a line of discussion about something that is missing.  I hope that you will take a moment to comment on this, either to blast me and tell me why my head is stuck up my butt or to point out something you feel can be improved.  

All you fantastically wonderful women out there who take the time to talk to me, to leave me a comment, all of you who I love, thank you.  You are the reason why this is fun.  I enjoy  this so much, even thought this might not always be a "positive" place. Life is a mix of positive and neutral and negative and to represent only the positive is not a true reflection.  I might never get another follower or a new reader, but I've gotten to meet you lovely ladies who I respect and even if you want to tell me to get off my high horse, I respect you for standing up and saying it.  Thanks dears!




A note on the silly positive side,
a rare glimpse of the Isabel shark about to attack two unsuspecting victims: 


And I will still talk about the stupid weather.  I'm an Alaskan.  We're crazy about that stuff.


Good gravy on biscuits, this was a long post. 






25 comments:

  1. amazing pics...i love your fashion taste!!!!

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  2. I love your skirt :) you always have nice skirts and dresses :) last images is my favorite one from this post :)

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    1. Heh, that's my favorite photo as well! :)

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  3. so i read through your post and i totally agree - i think there's a difference between constructive criticism and just pure meanness. and i think often the two get confused and muddled. i love getting feedback when it's done politely and with love. what i can't stand is someone who says something negative for the purpose of saying something negative and cuts someone down or makes them feel badly about themselves. no matter how large or small of a blogger they are. now, i've certainly gotten my fair share of both types of comments and the only ones i delete are the ones that are personally offensive or hurtful - i just don't want anyone reading that on my blog. but feedback? go for it! i want it.

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    1. Thank you Molly, I have to agree with you! Anytime something is said to make someone feel bad about themselves, that is crossing the line. (The good thing is, they only make the ones who write them look bad.)
      Sometimes anything not 100% positive can be seen as bashing, but I do believe that there is a middle ground. I think you expressed this much better than I did!

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  4. First, you look really pretty in this outfit. Second, this is such a great post. I agree with Molly, sometimes people just don't know the difference between constructive criticism and being nasty. Don't worry too much about this one blogger... you've still got lots of readers who love your blog (me included)! :)

    xo, Yi-chia
    Always Maylee

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    1. You are always so sweet, Yi-chia, I just adore you. :) Constructive advice is something that as people we need in every faucet of our lives, and while I do understand people wanting to get away from it in a blog, I worry that the blogging world in general is starting to suffer a little from a lack of this. (wooo, that was a long sentence.) And thank you, but I don't want to degrade this blogger at all, I still respect her, but it just sort of brought a lot of things to light.

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  5. What a great and honest post! It's nice to be able to have a place where you can spill whatever you are thinking - even if you are worried what people may say/how they will react! It's hard giving constructive criticism because like you said, you just don't really know how someone will react. There are plenty of times where I've seen/commented on an outfit that I like, but something about it (like you said throws it off), but usually I try to only point out the positives because I am worried I will hurt their feelings and that's not my intention at all! Since you've asked, I will tell you my honest opinion on this outfit. I like its concept - keeping the blue skirt as the attention as it's a beautiful color! Since the skirt isn't tight and more flowy, I would have paired it with something a little more fitted to balance out the proportions more. I also really do love the bag with it, but if you wanted to make it a little more fun overall, but not change the clothes, I would have added an armful of fun bracelets! I hope this helps, and I hope you are feeling a bit better about the situation!

    xxx
    www.ladyalamode.com

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    1. Thank you for saying that Catie! I'm really bad about expressing any sort of negative point of view, I tend to keep that to myself since I really don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. Most of the time it is easier just to go with the flow, but I've been working in my own life to be better about this sort of thing. It is nice sometimes just to express what is on my mind at the moment. :) Most of the time I try not to say anything that's not positive on a post, since people do a put so much time into it, but that can really cause a bubble effect. (Like the Emperor and no clothes I guess.)

      I agree with you on the outfit, it was just too much flow and volume. I'll have to try to redo this look with your suggestions!

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  6. I much more appreciate a thoughtful comment that shows they read what I have to say rather than one that just "cute shirt" and that's it. That being said, I think the majority of people that have fashion blogs aren't looking for constructive criticism unless they come out and ask for it. So if I don't 100% like someone's outfit, I'd probably not comment at all than tell them to change something about their outfit because I don't think they want to hear that. But that's just my 2 cents :)

    -Sharon
    The Tiny Heart
    Enter my jewelry giveaway!

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    1. I fall into this category more often that I'd like, sometimes something is just a style preference and who am I to say anything different? I usually will say nothing unless I really admire the blogger and think I know her a bit before I think of saying something that isn't positive. For me, I love it when someone will give me a tip or polite mention that my shirt is gaping open. (Since husbands are rather bad at that.) I think it just feels like it's gotten the the point where anything other than a glowing review is viewed in a harsh light. (I always like your comments, you give good feedback on what works!)

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  7. Katie, I seriously appreciate posts like this. Yes, there is no doubt that commenting can lack depth and personality these days. Posts like "nice boots, let's follow each other" are fine in their own way. I appreciate someone stopping by my blog. But the comments that are wholesome and thought out - whether they include praise or helpful criticism - are the ones that mean the most to me as a blogger and person. These are the types of comments that start dialogue, that build relationships. Often them come from readers and bloggers who I feel like I know in real life.

    I think it's important to be honest. It's true that most of my comments are positive, supportive, and happy. But that's just how I am as a person. I've seen horribly rude, hurtful, and sometimes downright cruel comments happen on blogs. And all I can ask is "why?" The internet can be a horribly mean place. But critical thinking and constructive criticism is so different than that - I agree! Commenting on the placement of a belt? It'd be a detail I'd be appreciative of a reader pointing out. Especially since it means he or she took enough time to even notice that. Moral of the story? Insight, honest comments are the middle ground between over-the-top sugar and just plain mean.

    And as far as this outfit goes, I actually really like it. The pleats and volume give it a lovely romantic feel and I love the teal and cream color scheme. And the nude heels polish it right off. No critical thinking needed, it's a lovely look on you. :) Please have a wonderful weekend and thanks again for the insightful, honest post. We need more of these in the blogging community! Apologizes for the novel of a response!

    Callie
    www.coffeeandcardigans.com

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    1. Wow, Callie, thank you for taking the time to type this out, you had some really great points!
      I've seen some comments that have shocked me one some blogs and that falls into the bullying problem. (Which is way too prevalent on the net today.) I can see where many people want to create a safe haven from that. But creating a flawed but well intending sense of how everyone should act 100% of the time isn't the answer either. In a perfect world, we women should be able to support our sisters without the false pretenses. I think we can kindly support each other and build each other up without the forced "everything in life must be perfect and don't ever tell me otherwise or you are a big meanie!" mind-set.

      Ekk, I have trouble saying what I'm thinking! This comes across as a bit scatterbrained and I apologize for that! I guess I need to think on this a bit more to gather my thoughts and express them in a better sense than I have.

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  8. Cool outfit!!<----hahahaha sorry I have a weird sense of humor. I started blogging almost 2 years ago. I can see what you mean about some people being very business-y instead of blogging. I never seen so many posts about selling monthly ad spaces on blogs before until recently. Usually if I am not into a person's outfit I just don't bother commenting...hahaha

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    1. Hah, I have a strange sense of humor as well! ^_^

      I don't have a huge problem with bloggers making money off of their blogs. The only issue I really take with it is when the professional bloggers, aka those who get paid, refuse to listen to their readers or respect their readers. If you are being paid for something you are presenting a product and if someone mentions something that could improve that product, she should not write them off. It's like a company selling something and then not listening to their customers if a problem arises, but rather telling them, "Go shop somewhere else and stop being mean to me."
      Other than that, I say kudos to you if you can make some extra money or build a career from it.

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  9. Great Post!!
    Beautifull skirt!

    Don't worry about this blogger.You have a really good blog.
    In my opinion the most important thing is to be real.

    Your new follower from Greece

    www.thekkfashion.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you, I like this skirt as well, I love blueish-green colors. :)

      The blogger I referenced is a sweet lady and I don't want to insult her nor start a fight, it was just something I was very surprised over and it really showcased a point of view that I had been thinking about for a while.

      And wow Greece! I would love to visit there someday, it looks like such a beautiful country. (and ahh, so much warmer than us during the winter, it really looks like paradise during then!)

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  10. You make a really interesting point! I can see why people wouldn't want to have their outfits or posts deconstructed. I mean, I bet there are a lot of people who do fashion posts in particular because they think they "know" the best way to dress and want to show people. So when someone says something doesn't work in their eyes, well, that's just being mean! <---Sarcasm, there.

    Anyway, as someone who doesn't do well with criticism I would still be more than open to hear someone say, "I love the colors! I think if I wore it I would do XYZ instead."

    As for your outfit today, the color scheme is lovely and I don't think it's too voluminous on you at all. But I can totally understand your thoughts about wanting a streamlined or patterned piece with the flow-y skirt.

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    1. It took me a long time to separated constructive criticism from a personal attack, looking back, it makes me feel sad because there was so much I could have learned if only I'd not be so very, very sensitive about it. I'm not a huge fan of breaking down someones outfit if I don't love, but if there is an outfit I like but one thing is off, I might mention it.
      I mostly feel that it is a as you said in your first paragraph, that it can be taken as a personal attack when it is not meant to be. (I have seen a few times where a blogger has gone on the war path and really just ripped a reader apart, when all reader did was mention that a pair of glasses were just a little weird. That is something I have a huge problem with and the forced pretense of blogger trying so hard to control everything that is written about them.) Blah, I guess it is a bit of a two pronged problem.

      PS- I love your facebook page where you take questions from your readers about styling. It is such a great and fun idea and you always have really great, appropriate takes on outfits. I always enjoy reading those posts. :)

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  11. Hii thanks for keep following my blog<3Thanks for visiting my blog:) By the way! It is almost my first year anniversary for my blog and planning to make my own video. I am willing to answer any questions as possible from my readers. If you have any questions about me, my style, or anything. Feel free to ask! If you do have questions for me, please leave a comment and ask there, thank you so much for your time and def coming to your blog again!

    little K.
    http://lilkfashionista.blogspot.jp/

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  12. Hmmm that's interesting that the blogger would delete the comment. I personally think that there is nothing wrong with constructive criticism, it's actually really beneficial. Only when a comment is just plain mean that I think it's okay to be deleted. But maybe it's because a person can become so used to the comments that are like: nice shoes. That when a person gets what they believe is a mean comment that they can become defensive. Or maybe because it's hard for some people to differentiate between mean comments and constructive criticism. Anyway, I think this is a really interesting post, it's something I don't really think about but should.

    And about your outfit: that skirt! I love the teal color and the pleats :) I also have a question about your ae polka dot jeans. (ever since I saw them on your blog, I have really really wanted to get them!) But i'm not sure which length to get. Are they long-ish or do they hit at the ankle?

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    1. heh, I've retyped this afew times, so I guess Ill just get to the bare bones of it. (My computer is not liking the commenting boxes today.)

      I'm about 5'2 and the American Eagle polka dotted pants hit me right about a inch below my ankle, in the regular length. They're n clearence now as well, but with the coupon code 770423781, it also works for free shipping on the website and goes through to 9/3.) I can't wait to see if you do get them, I think they would look amazing on you and I'd be able to get great styling tip[s from you! (You are the queen of skillful remixing!)

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  13. Let me first say that I love you too! I actually popped over today to see if you had Twitter because I'd totally like to Tweet with you. I think your blog is wonderful. I think you're funny and smart and, most importantly, real.

    Now, let me say that I think you brought up some very interesting points. I don't think constructive criticism or even offering an unpopular opinion should be considered negative. I don't consider it negative and I appreciate that you don't either. I remember reading that comment about you needing to proofread your posts and I respected how you handled it. Just like I respect how you wrote this post.

    I, personally, am glad you're blogging and I'm glad to follow you and I promise to only tell you that I "love your boots" when I really do.

    Finally, did I tell you that you're fabulous? Because you are.

    Gracey

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  14. Very interesting post. I don't make negative comments - I've learnt that people don't like criticism (started my first blog way back in 2001), so if I have nothing positive to say, I move on. A lot of blogs I read have 100+ comments and I don't for a minute believe that they read every comment, so I usually move on from there too. I think part of the problem is that people can't 'hear' how you're saying something which leaves it open to interpretation. I think its much the same with leaving sms', text messages etc. etc. you can't tell the tone.

    I've enjoyed your blog and your view. I don't think you should not make comments when you see something 'off' ... I think when people ask, as I tend to do, I'm hoping someone leave a comment giving me an idea of how to better an outfit.

    Enjoy your weekend.

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  15. This is a really insightful post and I agree with you. It's hard to know where people you follow draw the line between constructive criticism and offence, and most bloggers seem to steer well clear of that line - which is a shame. Oddly enough, I was scrolling through your recent posts and this is the one that caught my eye because I quite liked the pairing of two flowy items. I think the pleats in the skirt and panelling in the top give it a bit of structure and the fact that it shows off some of your legs and arms gives it shape. That being said, I thought about your post and I have to agree a little something is missing. Maybe a more angular bag and a belt in a similar style?

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I always like hearing feeback! (It really makes my day!)