Sunday, September 14, 2014

Blog Comments Dos and Don'ts



As blog authors, we all love reading comments on our blogs. We all love hearing your opinions and getting your feedback. It makes us feel really happy that there are people out there who enjoy reading what we have written and appreciate the amount of time and effort we take crafting each post. In fact you would see this short description above my comment form:
"I love reading sincere comments and hearing your voice. While blatant self promotion of blogs and follow for follow requests are not advisable, I would love if you leave a mark here with a trackback link so that I could connect with you. I reply to comments here or on your blog so don't forget to check back on replies! =)"

After years of blogging and getting slews of cursory comments from bloggers who obviously do not bother to abide by my comment description (why of course, they don't bother to read), I'm inspired to write a post on this.


Disclaimer:
  • This post consists of my personal views though I know that many like-minded blog authors would nod their heads vehemently in agreement too. 
  • The contents here may possibly offend some of you. However if you're offended, it means that we shouldn't even be on each other's blogs anyway. 
  • I'm usually nice but I can't help my alter ego, the Mean Bitch to come out every now and then and she would be making a cameo appearance in this post. 
  • Notice how I use the terms "blog authors" and "bloggers"? 
  • I will continue to publish silly comments that commit all the don'ts here and let all of us have a good laugh at the irony. 


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1. I Follow You, You Follow Me




Eg:

#1
Desperate Blogger:
Such a lovely blog! Maybe you want to follow each other? Let me know on my blog and I'll follow right away!

Mean Bitch Jo:
If you find my blog really lovely, why don't you follow me, Hun?

#2
Desperate Blogger:
Nice blog. Follow for follow? [insert blogger's url] Follow me, when I see I follow you back. When you follow my blog, write me on comment.

Mean Bitch Jo:
Thank you. I wonder which part of my blog you think is nice or perhaps you did not even read my post at all considering the fact that you only landed on my page and left a comment 5 seconds later. Oh yes, and I don't do follow for follow.

#3
Desperate Blogger:
Would you like to follow each other on GFC? Please let me know on my blog so I can follow back. Thank you. xoxo

Mean Bitch Jo: What? Nothing about the contents of my post in your comment at all? Why should I even visit back much less follow you?! Ok at least you're polite enough to thank me. 

#4
Desperate Blogger:
I LOVE YOUR BLOG SO MUCH! Do you want to follow each other [bla bla bla...]

Mean Bitch Jo:
If you love my blog so much, just follow me and don't expect me to follow you since the feeling isn't mutual.

#5
[Insert one liner] Follow me at [insert blogger's url]

Mean Bitch Jo: I wish to delete your comment but I guess I would publish and leave it here for people to look at how shallow you are. 

~

I sometimes wished that my alter ego would reply as above but to most of these comments, I would continue to be the nice Jo that I am and reply something along the line of:
I love seeing newcomers around. I would usually follow back if we have enough meaningful exchanges and connections. Looking forward to seeing you around more often. =)

On top of that, I actually visit their blogs and read their post before commenting. Of course I couldn't help but to thank them for visiting my blog and to include whatever I have replied to them. I know that 99% of the time, these people wouldn't check back on my replies and so leaving a comment on their blog is the surest way of subtly putting across to them about how I appreciate meaningful exchanges.

There are tons of bloggers out there looking to gain followers on their blogs and leaving comments is almost a surefire way to gain followers. For some, gaining followers is just a number game --the more the merrier. However gaining followers does not always mean gaining readers. Do you really enjoy seeing so many followers for your blog with no real engagement whatsoever?

I certainly don't for sure and I know many of my loyal blog readers and friends share the same sentiments. To me, readership, 2-way interaction, connecting with fellow blog authors and building friendship all over the world are more important than merely gaining blog followers.

DON'T leave a comment only asking a blog author to stop by your blog and follow you.

DO instead comment on their post or blog SINCERELY, let them know you are following them and then you can then say something like "I'd love to have you stop by my blog if you have time". Personally, I would be touched by sincere comments like this. Most blog author would too and would stop by without you asking them to. I noticed and eventually followed a fairly new blogger after a few exchanges just because her comments were sincere enough. See below:

First of all, happy birthday!!! it looks like you had a great time with your family and friends :) loved your cute pictures!
I invite you to visit my blog and if you like it let me know if you would like to follow each other and keep in touch.
XOXO
[Insert blog url]

WOW the room looks wonderful! have a great time in such a beautiful place :)
I invite you to visit my blog and let me know if you would like to follow each other to stay in touch.
XOXO
[Insert blog url]

Hi Jo!
I love instagram diary posts!!! It is so cool that you can describe what you were doing or how you were feeling at a point of time with a picture and share it with your friends/followers :) loved your not so healthy breakfast and beautiful nail art pictures! you are so adorable. Thanks so much for your lovely comment on my blog, I understand if you don't want to follow for follow,I’m following you on Bloglovin because I want to stay in touch.
XOXO
[Insert blog url]


This is how you subtly get blog authors to visit your blog or even follow you back. I'm very sure if you practise leaving more engaging comments like this sweet lady, you would be gaining lots of followers in no time. And please, do not expect a blog author to follow you just because you followed.


2. Nice Post!




Eg:

#1
Nice post!

#2
Cool post!

#3
Beautiful post!

#4
Great photos!

#5
Amazing!

#6
Thanks for sharing!

...

Basically any adjectives could be replaced in those one liners followed by lines after lines of links to the blogger's latest post, the blogger's url, instagram url, facebook url, twitter url , pinterest url, giveaway... you get the drift.

It is effortless to leave generic one-liner comments and you could definitely "visit" 50 blogs in the same amount of time as a reader who writes a lot more but visit 5 blogs. However, whom do you think would get noticed by blog authors more? (See section above on how to get noticed the right way.) Many blog readers and I are now blog friends because either of us started off with leaving sincere comments and continue to do so even after a few years.

DON'T ever leave a blog promotion that's longer than your comment. In other words, don't blatantly advertise for your blog and all of your other social media accounts. It is a total lack of respect for the blog author and it is obvious that you are merely using the space to advertise for yourself with zero interest in the blog or post.

DO instead comment on their post or blog SINCERELY. The comment should indicate that you've read their post. Most often, blog authors would return a visit to your blog if you at least have a sincere comment followed by your links. They might even follow you if there's meaningful 2-way engagement. Be noticed for the right reasons!


3. Commenting Without Reading




This section would have the same contents as the above sections. But the difference is that your comment offended the blog author obviously because you did not read the post or did not get simple details right.

A couple of times I was writing about something rather thought-provoking but I included inspirational/malancholic/beautiful photos in the posts as well, and bloggers would comment about the photos instead. Nothing at all about my text contents. There were also times when I was writing about sad stuff and the comments received were totally unrelated. I do not want to embarrass anyone outrightly by quoting examples coz the posts and comments could easily be found should I quote their comments.

Sometimes little details like referring to my husband as my boyfriend when it is stated all over the post that he is my hubby or asking something that is obviously mentioned in the post would also irk me as it points out that you do not bother to read. I've been getting lots of such comments recently but upon visiting their blogs and realising that they do not write in English, I was more tolerant (not that tolerant towards English speakers). I mean it definitely took a lot for non-English speakers to write a comment in English right?

DON'T comment just for the sake of commenting. It could be a return visit and you feel obliged to comment back but if you've got nothing constructive to say, it would be best if you keep quiet and wait for another post which you could have something to comment on.

DO at least read that one post that you are going to comment on. You never know how stupid you look especially if your comment is left on the post for all to see.


4. I Love This Post!




What exactly do you love about this post? Is it the humorous style or the lyrical style of writing? The way the points are put across? Is it the photos that go along with it? What is it about the photos that you like? Perhaps you like the review of certain products and why so? Probably you like the warmth and fuzziness in this post?




DON'T leave generic comments. I understand that some generic comments come from non-English speakers but hey, if I could use Google Translator to read your post and comment sincerely, I hope you would be able to do the same too. No excuses for English speakers at all.

DO leave constructive comments. There is always so much more to say about a post. Show that you are genuinely interested in the post. A blog author always loves to listen to your views and connect with you. Be engaging! Oh yes, and it helps to address the blog author by name. That's how you get a blog author to notice that you stand out among a sea of "I love this post" and "Great photos".


5. Copying and Pasting the Same Comment On Every Blog




Honestly how do you feel when you are blogwalking and copying and pasting the exact same comment on the most recent post of every blog you visit? Do you feel exhilarated knowing that you've covered the quota of visiting and commenting? Do you feel a sense of bated anticipation as you await the deluge of return visits and possible following of people who think like you?  Do you feel accomplished knowing that half of these people you've spammed followed you back coz they do follow-for-follow just like you?

Serious blog authors who take pride in their writing would definitely not bother about you. They may be nice or feel obliged to visit you back but they have actually already formed a negative impression of you. But then what's there to worry when you've already achieved your goal of attracting people and gaining followers right?

DON'T be an insincere person. It is easily sniffed out.

DO be a genuine person.




6. Leaving A Comment In Reply

More apt to the title would be leaving a comment in reply to a blog author's comment on your page with totally no reference to the post you are commenting. This is kind of impolite. Yes, I get that you are polite in that you are replying to the comment but do at least make some reference to the post. This is not a cardinal blog comment sin but I do make the effort to talk about your post before replying you and I see many sincere blog authors do that as well. It would be great if you could do that too.


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Thank You to My Followers, Blog Readers and Blog Friends

To my followers on GFC and bloglovin',

I know some of you are silent followers and do not have interaction with me at all but I thank you all the same for finding interest in my blog and following me without expecting me to follow back.




To my blog readers who visit and comment on my blog regularly,

I may not be able to visit and comment on your blog as regularly as you do. However, I would always reply to your comments and return blog visits even if I'm weeks late as I really appreciate you for taking the time to connect with me. For those who comment regularly but with generic comments, I hope that we would be able to have more meaningful engagement. It makes the blogging journey a lot more fun as we get to know more about each other.


To my blog friends,

You definitely know who you are. I consider us friends coz we have been on each other's blogs for years or long enough to know a lot about each other even if blogging is only one facet of your life. You are those genuine readers turned friends and would always stick around no matter what. You are those who are connected with me on platforms other than blogging like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and we also send personal emails to each other. Some of you have stopped blogging but I still treasure our friendship.


To newcomers of my blog,

If you have the patience to read up till here and share the same sentiments as me on being engaging and connecting meaningfully through our blogs, make yourself visible and let yourself be heard. Feel free to follow me on GFC/ bloglovin'/ Instagram/ Pinterest but remember, I don't entertain blatant follow for follow request.


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What makes you want to comment on a blog? Have you ever commented on someone’s blog just because you felt like you had to, or because they had commented on yours? As a blog author, what are the types of comments you love to receive? What kind of comments drive you crazy? I would love to hear what you have to say. Leave me a comment and remember not to commit the cardinal comment sins up there. 

PS:
I've replied to all your comments on the previous post and would get down to visiting your blogs soon!  Have a lovely weekend ahead!

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Mummy's Birthday 2014

Last Sunday was my dearest Mummy's big Six-O birthday. She looked nowhere near 60 at all!




We had an advanced birthday celebration for my mum two Sundays ago. It began with a walk at Gardens by the Bay and ended off with Chinese dinner at 漁 Yú Cuisine where the rest of my family joined us.




My parents are quite the gardener and have lots of beautiful potted plants growing outside their flat. The plants outside the flat are so beautiful that on countless occasions, plant parts were plucked, cut and stolen from them by God knows which inconsiderate neigbours or passers-by.




Since my parents had never been to Gardens by the Bay (GBTB) before and August was the period of the Singapore Garden Festival (SGF), kh and I decided to take them there. It was coincidental that the SGF was held in GBTB this year.




It was the last day of the SGF on the day we were there. Prior to that, it was raining heavily and all the carpark around the gardens had long snaking queues that weren't moving. A dead snake would be the perfect metaphor to describe the queues. We had no choice but to park at MBS.




Grey clouds loomed over the ashen sky. Fortunately, the rain had fizzled to a drizzle with the long walk from MBS to GBTB.




Many people often liken the iconic Supertree Grove to a scene from the movie Avatar. I was snapping a scene of Avatar when kh photobombed.




The tickets for the Singapore Garden Festival included entry into the Flower Dome. It was the last day of the SGF but looking at the time and the distance to walk from the ticketing booth at the Flower Dome and the area of the gardens where the SGF was held, we decided to forgo the SGF and enjoyed ourselves in the cool air-conditioned comfort of the Flower Dome. Creatures of comfort!




Many people would very much enjoy the cool comfort in the Flower Dome too as evident here!




We merely walked a few steps and my parents were completely awed by the flowers all around. They stopped at every few steps to take photos. I felt like a tourist in my own country.




The Flower Dome replicates the cool-dry climate of Mediterranean regions like South Africa, California and parts of Spain and Italy. Home to a collection of plants from deserts all over the world, it showcases the adaptations of plants to arid environments.




The world of plants is really mysterious. We stumbled upon many curious-looking plants.




We were first greeted by a giant phallus, complete with a head and balls.




Then, we spotted alien-like plants whereby their mouths opened to reveal another mouth and another mouth and another mouth. See, some even had tongues!




There were other species of alien-like plants with tentacles too!




There were plants that had quills as sharp as a porcupine's.




There were plants that looked like stones.




Elephant in the middle of nowhere. Can you spot the elephant?




The Baobab tree which is better known as bottle tree in Singapore didn't appear as curious-looking as the other plants mentioned earlier on.




Clusters of flowers and that spiral branch.




Finally, we came across some normal plants that felt as soft as carpet. Oops... perhaps we weren't supposed to touch the plants.




Kh accidentally activated a mode on my mum's phone which showed the person behind the camera in a heart-shape, together on the same photo. I thought this was quite cute.




There is always something beautiful about lone single flowers.




When we reached the orchids exhibition area, we were shocked at the queue. Seriously, a queue to look at these exhibits? My mum didn't want to queue and thought we were quite smart taking photos from the outside.




Orchids out of the exhibition area had loads of people waiting to take photos too. It was so difficult to cut people away from these shots.




Orchid... possibly my parents' favourite flower since they grow them too.




Before we left the Flower Dome, we had to take a wefie coz we didn't have a 4 of us shot. Some of you might have already seen this on Instagram. There were no flowers in the background coz we had no selfie stick and my arms are short. I probably wouldn't laugh at people for using selfie stick and looking silly anymore.




We walked back to MBS for Chinese dinner at 漁 Yú Cuisine where the rest of my family joined us. Kh and I dined there once as a chance discovery (post here) and were awed by their food.




The stark EXIT sign spoilt the whole photo.




We ordered the set menu for 6 which was more than sufficient than the whole family since my parents do not eat a lot. The roast meat platter with mustard sauce was the favourite.




And because I did not take a photo of the menu, I could not remember exactly what we ordered.




This crab in the tank was HUMONGOUS. I cannot stand its mouth. Like some Sci Fi movie.




Photos of people finally!




CHEESE-y!




On my mum's actual birthday last Sunday, she prepared steamboat for dinner. There was an overflow of food like fishballs, meatballs, shabu shabu pork, pork liver, beef, prawns, cockles, abalone, sea cucumbers and green vegetables. The soup base was so yummy that I sat there and drank soup the whole evening. The next favourite activity was to blanch the hum (cockles) and eating them before everyone else since the hum wer right in front of me. We also enjoyed delectable pies from Little Britain Food Co. which is set up by my dear friend Cyn and her British hubby. It was quite a feast!




Every year, kh and I would buy a box of traditional mooncakes and snowskin mooncakes each for both sides of the family. For traditional mooncakes this year, we bought 美心 Mei-Xin. The SA told me that it has been the Number 1 bestselling mooncakes in Hong Kong for the past few years. There is even a unique product code on each box of mooncakes (botton left pic) for proof of authenticity since factories in China have started producing counterfeit Mei-Xin. Fake branded mooncakes!




For snowskin mooncakes, we bought from Fairmont. The box doubles up as a drawer and photo frame. Mooncakes packaging nowadays... I would look at the packaging and then sample the mooncakes before I decide to buy them and not the other way round.




This time, we also bought durian mooncakes separately. We could not resist the pure flesh of Mao Shan Wang durian in Four Seasons durian mooncake. Even after discount, it was $88 for a box of 4. We might as well be eating actual Mao Shan Wang durians!




Ending off this post with my new pair of sandals. It costs only $19.90 from TANGS and is soooooooooooo comfortable. It looks like those pretty but uncomfy shoes that cost thrice the price at Nine West, Aldo and the likes. Plus, it matches my current gelish turqouise nail polish. My left toes look scrunched coz my sprained ankle from weeks back is still hurting. If you notice, my left foot and calf are a lot thicker than my right now.




~

I would get back to replying your comments in the previous post and popping by your blogs soon!

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