Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Simone and I Discuss the Smelly Blogosphere

Simone aka +Q Perfume

I recently posted Google Trends data showing that the volume of online searches for “perfume review” has surpassed that for “wine review.” This led Simone Shitrit (aka + Q Perfume blog from Brazil) to observe that fewer people are commenting on fragrance blogs. She thinks it may simply be there are too many blogs to keep up with. I speculated that more readers are using perfume blogs for pre-shopping opinions.

Commenting on a different post, Simone chided me for not paying attention to her Facebook page. In turn, I offered Gilbert’s Social Media Conjecture:
FB is feminine, Twitter is masculine. FB is about hugs, positivity, sharing feelings, and hot tea with lemon. Twitter is about cramming a quick 144 characters into a tweet, firing it off and moving along. FB is a support group; Twitter is the spittoon of the Internet.
Today, Simone posted another comment/mini-essay which deserves more attention. So I’ve reprinted it below along with my responses.

SIMONE: Ok, I will answer to those question according to my very own experience:

When I did not have my own blog, I used to make a round in the most popular ones, read the articles and leave comments - engage into some of the discussions there, ask questions, etc etc. When I started my own blog I still used the others as reference in the beginning, but stopped to comment. Today I have very little time to read these blogs - I do maybe once a month, or once every 2 months. Some of them I just don’t read anymore. I have no time for them.

ME: I also have less and less time to make the rounds of other blogs. If I had any icky emotions this would make me feel bad.

SIMONE: About facebook - To me it became a micro blog. I noticed that the day I began to link my articles to my facebook page, many of the people who used to comment in my blog just started to comment there, because it is easier and faster. Some just became lazy and just fire a thumb up (like it) and that is all.

So I got more public - a LOT more, but less comments - so I have no idea if this was a good idea in the first place.

ME: It wouldn’t surprise me that people treat posted material differently depending on where it appears. But since I won’t touch FB with a ten-foot pole (all those icky emotions) I’ll take your word for it.

Perhaps this trade-off is inevitable: a bigger stage means a less intimate audience. It’s no longer a conversation—you are speaking to the blackness beyond the floodlights. It reminds me of doing live TV interviews. You talk to millions of people by addressing a red light above a camera lens.

SIMONE: I do think that perfume blogs have different objectives - therefore different publics. The ones who became “elle, vogue, marie claire” kind of blogs, with posts of new launches and reviews and top 10 lists for every special date or season - like all women’s magazines - are the favorite of perfume shoppers. The are very popular, sponsored and I am not sure if the opinions are 100% honest and not bought by the ones sponsoring them. You know, if you criticize you don't get the samples or the perfume bottles to review next time... Brands don’t like to pay/invest to get bad reviews. So they are good for shoppers as long as they sample before buying.

ME: I deliberately do not review perfumes here at FN. Why not? Because my consulting business is based on being a trusted neutral party, and because I am more interested in the science and culture of smell than the perfume of the moment. I do cover the business side of the fragrance industry, but that doesn’t make me a perfume blogger.

SIMONE: The ones that are discussing more than just reviews are the favorite of people who study chemistry, are in the industry, or see perfumes in a different angle rather than a good purchase.

ME: Exactly. So here is the paradox: broader content results in a smaller audience.

SIMONE: Some blogs became perfume magazines - so people are also liking this format better.

Too many blogs certainly decrease one blog’s public, but increase in the general graph of perfume interest.

Also quality x quantity is an issue - because now a days everyone calls himself a perfume critic. I have also seen new blogs translating from other blogs and adding a shop cart... that is the risk we are taking...to get our content stolen...

ME: There are certainly more voices and more noise. But the established blogs (like Scented Salamander, Bois de Jasmin, Perfume Shrine, 1000 Fragrances) remain high in the traffic statistics.

SIMONE: In general, I think people today are migrating to perfume groups in facebook, and leaving the blogs just as reference to purchase, which to me it is a pity indeed. I would get very bored just to review fragrances for shoppers. I need to write about fragrances in general - trends, advertising, a bit of chemistry, a bit of perfume bottle design, the sense of smell, and reviews...

ME: Me too! Variety is the spice of life. For a long time I tried to get smell scientists to do interviews for publication on FN. I figured it would be a way for them to tell the public about their work—a better way than university press releases and tiny quotes in magazines. Instead, I encountered extreme resistance—very few scientists are willing to discuss their research online. (I offer unedited, full posts of their email responses.) I’m disappointed and still don’t understand this.

SIMONE: I also notice that perfume blogging became a huge competition of egos - who gets more launches, who gets to go to the big events, who gets to have others writing in the blog for free (get a team of writers), who gets more sponsorships etc etc... since I am in the other side of the Equator, I live all that far from me. I am not competing with anyone. I find that ridiculous. But it does exist!

But this is IMO!

ME: Maybe I’ve been in the business too long, but gift bags are no longer a motivator—they are a pain in the ass. A dram sample to smell later is quite enough, thank you.

SIMONE: How to quantify? Well, you are the professor of database here, not me...I am the caipirinha and barbecue expert dear...we can have drinks and eat a good steak that I will prepare, while you do the math!

ME: That’s what I’m talking about. I’ll bring fresh data, you do the food. We’ll have a data party.

1 comment:

+ Q Perfume Blog said...

I like the idea of a virtual conversation!

Your blog stands out for its content and humor. It is a a must read to me. ALWAYS. I find time even when I don't have it!

About facebook being feminine and Twitter masculine - I didn't know social medias had genders...
I know one thing thou - too many social medias to follow and post is just like too many blogs - same issues...time, time , time...who has the time to be in so many groups, spaces, engines?