Do We All Have To Be Critics?
Written by: Kuki
It’s the information highway, and everyone seems to want to hear from the people behind the wheel more than they do from the people in the helicopter above giving reports on the over-all view. That’s a good thing in many respects. They want to hear reports and opinions from “people just like them”, and they want the unedited opinions. It seems they are often willing to take those people’s words at face value.
As a result of all of this, it seems opinion reporting has become the more popular norm in all aspects of our lives, and simple reporting of the facts has been left by the wayside to a larger degree than ever before.
At first glance this trend seems to be a positive one; real people, giving real reports. However, perhaps expectedly, reports have been surfacing about “shills” writing for various establishments, merchants, and retailers, and posting them as user reviews. And it’s become a serious issue many of the user supplied content sites are battling.
Viewed in its totality, user supplied content is an outstanding asset for those wise enough to do research. The information, if valid, is always kept current by more recent users, and millions of people have become reliant on that up to date information, so it’s very useful. And all of this was virtually unavailable a short decade ago.
The concern I have, particularly in regard to cruising, is so many people are going on vacation with a mindset that they must be a critic, so they to can participate in the “review frenzy”. While even we at CruiseMates love to have people submit their user reviews, it does seem too many people attempt to look for things they can criticize, rather than living in the moment, and enjoying the vacation they spent their hard earned dollars on. I think it’s much more important to enjoy your vacation, then afterwards reflect on it as a whole, and write your review.
Even when I am writing live Virtual Cruise Reports for CruiseMates – which are really daily blogs from the ship – people will post asking me my opinions of the ship, even when I’ve only been onboard a couple of days. I don’t even begin to look at considering an evaluation of the ship, or even how I like the cruise, until it’s much closer to the end of the trip. And I won’t even begin to write a review of the ship until it’s over.
To do differently allows occurrences earlier in the cruise to become more important than they really are, when viewing (and writing about) the trip in its entirety. If there’s negatives, you absolutely should include them to share in your review, but don’t depart on your cruise intent on being a critic. It only takes away from your experience.
It’s probably also worth considering there is a difference between a report that is formatted as a daily diary (like the Virtual Cruise Reports I write), and a ship review. There’s certainly valuable information to share, and be gleamed from either format. But I think it’s important to decide which format you want to write in and follow through so it doesn’t become confusing. If you choose to write it as a daily diary, a conclusion with your final thoughts can be very helpful.
But… and a BIG but…. Don’t feel you have to write like a professional critic! The best professional reviews are not written by critics. They are written by people who know how to describe the ship and experience you’re most likely to find when you sail that ship. They report on the more factual aspects of the cruise experience, and don’t give as much weight to what well could be anecdotal incidents which later cruisers aren’t likely to encounter.
Most importantly, go and enjoy your cruise. You paid for it!! When you get home relive that enjoyment by writing a review, and of course post it for everyone to read in our Member’s Reviews.
What are your thoughts? What do you want to see in reviews? Do you think people over-use their reviews as a place to grind their axe? Do you prefer the daily logs or the just the facts approach?
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Posted: January 12th, 2010 under Kuki.