Feedback: information about reactions to a product, a person's performance of a task, etc. which is used as a basis for improvement.
Comment: a verbal or written remark expressing an opinion or reaction.
I'm sitting in the sun, outside a beautiful rented house near the small town of Lorgues which is a bit north west of Nice. We are holidaying with four old university friends and the partner, now wife, of one of them. Either the somebody who is taking the photograph - David? or somebody else has just said something funny, or, more likely, I am smiling at an email from somebody or a comment - less likely - on my travel blog. I doubt I had been writing my food blog. When I am away on holiday I vow to keep writing the food blog, but I am also busy sending news back home to the family in the form of some kind of journal, so mostly don't have time for both. The point here though is the delight that I always feel if somebody responds to an email or a blog post. We are social beings and we like to hear and be heard.
I used this photo on my Contact page - well the right-hand half, and I guess the left side is not that important. It seemed appropriate, because I do think that I am actually reading emails in it. It's also the last of my personal photos from the website, and therefore possibly the Moment in Time series. Although I could randomly pick some from my libraries. We'll see. Next time I get really, really stuck.
Each of my Moment in Time blogs have generated some thoughts that resulted in at least a remotely foodie post, but before I get on to that aspect of this particular Moment in Time, here are a few more photos from that week, that remind me of the good times we had with our old and dear friends, and the feeling of community that was established. There are many more of course, but I chose these to illustrate companionship - with old friends - and also with new passing acquaintances, such as the three French ladies we got into conversation with in a café where we stopped for a drink in a local village. They were just sitting at the next table, and somehow or other the men - who were at that end of the table started chatting to them and before long a lively conversation was in progress.
And that's really what I wanted to talk about today. How I hope that this post affords at least a small opportunity for conversations about food, life, the universe and everything. My writings are not well thought out, I just start and keep tapping away without much planning other than a vague topic - in this case feedback and comments - conversation. Mostly the conversation is one-sided - me rambling around this and that. But every now and then somebody comments on something I have said. No - every day my very loyal sister, in a similar manner to myself I have to say (could it be hereditary?) - offers her own thoughts on what I have said. And every now and then somebody else chimes in. Mostly, I have to say, they are polite appreciative noises rather than feedback on my literary skills, or comments on what I have said, but I do appreciate them enormously - not just because they stroke my ego somewhat - we all like that I'm sure - but also because they show me that at least a few people are 'listening'. It is enormously satisfying. So thank you. I realise I should respond more to them, but haven't quite worked out a quick way of doing this. I'm sure there is one.
“Without comments, a blog isn’t really a blog. To me, blogging is not just about publishing content, but also the two-way communication and community building aspects behind it.” -
says Pat Flynn who is an 'expert', I assume, on the subject of blogs. I'm not sure that this is what I set out to do when I started the blog. That was more for me to keep my brain exercised as I grow old, but I certainly wanted to include the capacity for comments - just in case somebody had something to add to what I had said. It was reassurance that somebody was listening - even if it was just the two Jenny sisters at first. And let's face it we all like to be heard do we not?
“There are two things people want more than sex and money … recognition and praise.” – Mary Kay Ash
Which is possibly rather a sad thought, but nevertheless it's also most likely true.
However, comments and feedback are two different things. Now do I want feedback? Because honest feedback might be a blow to the ego. Particularly for something as trivial as this personal lot of ramblings, tucked away in a very obscure corner of the world wide web. But no - feedback on what I am doing would be useful. I do sort of get feedback from the statistics I get from Wix. I can see which posts attract most readers and which don't although that doesn't tell me why that should be. Only one person looked at the post on Singapore Crabs for example. Which is sort of interesting, because I have no idea why this should be - even if you are not a lover of eating crab. Or why did 10 people look at The shock of the new with it's picture of the Mona Lisa as the drawcard? The statistical feedback does tell me something - people seem to like stories of dining out for example, but I haven't quite worked what is a popular subject area. So if you have any thoughts on this do let me know. And if you have any ideas for what I could write about I would like to hear that too.
"Outside perspectives are important for identifying mistakes and oversights that you yourself may be oblivious to, simply because you made the piece of content." Hubspot
Which is true, but then again I'm really doing this to please myself and certainly not to set myself up as an expert or a teacher in all - even some - things foodie.
I mentioned, as I wrote about Henkell Trocken, that I could find no expert reviews of this particular wine. However, as David pointed out, Dan Murphy's site, for example had several comments from 'ordinary people'. Here are a couple of examples of the kind of thing you get:
"This should be in a box or better still just drink straight from the bowl. A waste of money and if you open it with people other than people stuck on a boat for 6 weeks who would drink anything.... You will loose friends. Gargling your own" Paul
"Love this champagne. Doesn’t break the bank and is exactly what you want after a big week of work and 2 kids under 2." Kirsty
Just the sort of thing you find on Trip Advisor, AirBnb, etc. Not particularly informed but useful if you are wondering if something particular is for you. Useful too, sometimes, are the comments you find on popular foodie blogs such as Recipe Tin Eats. Sometimes they might point out a better way of doing something, or clarify something you also didn't understand about the recipe. I remember one of the Guardian's columnists - I think it was Rachel Roddy - saying that in time of COVID she had found enormous consolation in following conversations on Instagram through the comments that were left, and which sometimes opened little windows into people's lives. Mind you it seems that the comments and conversations on all of the popular social media sites have their problems, neatly summed up by Alex Hern - another Guardian columnist.
"If Facebook demonstrates that everyone is boring and Twitter proves that everyone is awful, Instagram makes you worry that everyone is perfect – except you." Alex Hern - The Guardian
Back to food though. I wondered whether there were forums on the net where you could have your foodie questions answered, but I have to say it was very difficult to find one - at least in Australia. In California there is Chowhound but that is just about all I could find. Maybe the Coles Cooking Club is actually the answer, although you have to have a Facebook account and you have to sign up to it. I, for example, can't just swan in and ask how to make puff pastry. There is a public page I think but I do not have a Facebook account and so I can't even access that. Well it's a club. But it could be the answer if you are a novice cook.
I ramble. Anyway. Do leave a comment, and I will try to be better about responding. Indeed I shall look up how to do it without going out of Wix now.
"Between what I think, what I want to say, what I believe I say, what I say, what you want to hear, what you believe you hear, what you hear, what you want to understand, what you think you understand, what you understand... They are ten possibilities that we might have some problem communicating. But let's try anyway..." Bernard Werber