Forums and social networking: the good, the bad and the (I’m pretty sure they are) ugly

This may or may not come as a bit of a shock to those who know me, but I have very little confidence and possibly even less self esteem. I can often be heard to say “I hate people” but in fact I only really ‘hate’ people (in general; you are all lovely individually…okay, most of you are) because people are my biggest phobia.

I live in constant fear of new social situations; am I being polite enough, would it be best to make a joke, should I not say anything at all? When I’m out and about if someone I don’t know starts talking to me about the weather or road works or anything in general I tend to panic and have a full on physical reaction – racing pulse, shallow breathing, shaking and nausea.

Despite all of this, lately I’ve been attempting to branch out in order to reach a wider audience and also to seek advice, and talk to like minded people. So far, most of the experience has been positive. I’ve chatted to some very lovely people on Twitter through the SO project, and (hopefully) made some new friends. Unfortunately, I’ve also hit the downside pretty quickly too. Allow me to fill you in with a LONG (possibly dull) story…

I’ve always been interested in photography; I can’t go anywhere or to any kind of event without a camera, whether that be my phone or my point and shoot. It makes a good tool for blogging (as you other bloggers will know) and I also think I’m pretty good at it – composing shots and the like. I am however, a complete amateur and have recently decided I want to upgrade my camera to either a bridge or a DSLR in an attempt to learn the art of photography properly.

I went about it in what I felt was a sensible way; asked a few friends (by a few, I mean one) and once I knew what I was after and my budget, I looked at some forums. Several others seemed to be asking for similar advice to myself and I noticed a lot of responses were a bit harsh, such as there not being enough detail about budget or what the camera would be for. So, I took it upon myself to write out a fairly lengthy post, stipulating what I needed, what my budget was, my skill level (zero) etc. I thought I’d hit all the important ‘marks’; oh how I was wrong…

I mainly got cocky replies, very few being helpful. These included pointing out that bridge cameras are not DSLRs (I had noticed thank you, especially after specifying I’d prefer a bridge to a DSLR) as well as several cameras that I should buy instead that are out of my stipulated price range.  Thanks for nothing! I spent more time defending my position than receiving advice on what to buy.

I chose forums and specifically the boards aimed at beginners so that I might get patient advice from others who would appreciate I am a complete amateur and, considering the others on the forum should (in theory) also be amateurs (yes some a lot more advanced non-professionals, but still) I thought there would be some patience there. I expected some queries maybe asking for a few more specifics; am I prepared to buy second hand etc and a few suggestions of what features I should/should not be concerned with.

I went to bed on Saturday night incredibly upset, with what little confidence I still possessed battered and bruised. My husband, who is possibly one of the kindest and most patient people I know (especially with regard to my many ‘quirks’) told me not to take it to heart and try again in morning. Sure enough, when I awoke on Sunday morning, there in my inbox was a message reply posted on one of the forums. Some kind soul had taken my post for exactly what it was and offered me some constructive advice.

It was on the back of this that I then posted again in the forums and finally saw some pleasantries appear out of the woodwork. I then (in a shockingly brave move by me) decided, on the spur of the moment to join that evening’s LBloggers’ chat on Twitter. It’s (not really) ironic in that this week’s topic was positive vs negative posts, considering I’d already started writing this. There was a good range of opinion put forward and everyone was really nice. I thoroughly enjoyed the chat and spoke to some lovely people.

Roll on this morning then…I decided to put forward the idea of buying a second hand entry level DSLR, which is within my budget. On the first of the forums in question, everyone seemed to think it would be better than any bridge camera I would choose to buy. On the second however, someone suggested I should skip entry level and go for something more advanced, which I can’t afford. They have renamed my budget as ‘my self-imposed limit’. That self imposed limit, folks, is called my bank balance! Then finally, on the third, I got this:

Well, it’s not a bridge camera nor will you find it within your set budget.

Perhaps it would be better not wasting people’s time

Well **** you then!

I am incredibly frustrated, I used to enjoy posting on message boards with like minded people ‘back in the day’, but someone always comes along and ruins the fun, which is why I stopped. This was like a cold, bitter reminder.

It is a shame, as I’ve been a bit more adventurous by joining The SO project and participating in the Twitter chats on a Tuesday night, (and the LBloggers chat as well now on Sunday). This luckily for me has been a mainly positive experience (granted, I could probably be a bit more active in the chat rather than cowering overwhelmed as the links and posts roll in; but I find myself with a million tabs open, trying to read through and comment on as many as possible) and everyone has been lovely and pleasant to chat to, sharing ideas and suggesting new products to try. It was off the back of this new found confidence that I decided to try seeking help in forums. I mistakenly thought the creatures that inhabit them would be just as kind and friendly.

Has anyone else experienced this? Have you had some disastrous encounters on a forum or Twitter or other social network? Do you know anything about cameras? Please comment below!

In the mean time, I’m still very much looking forward to the SO project chat tomorrow night despite me not posting this week and to the next LBloggers’ chat next Sunday!

Advertisements

My break up with the Cambridge Satchel Company

It is with deepest sadness I have to inform you of my break up with The CSC.

On Friday after a very brief 24 hours notice, they ended their clearance section. What they didn’t warn customers about was their up and coming price increase which came into effect today. Their bags have increased in a rather bizarre fashion, The 11″ has increased by £5, the 13″ by £10, the 14″ by £12 and I can only guess at the 15″ as I didn’t pay much attention to this previously.  The embossing has increased to £7 a letter from £5, and the price cap has increased by £8 to £28 from £20. So the 13″ with embossing which should have cost £118, would now be £136, which is more expensive than buying a 14″ designer satchel at £133* with free embossing. The oxblood is now also £12 more expensive than the other colours as well. For a bag that was £81 or there about last summer, this increase is STEEP.

Had I known about this, I would have purchased a bag sooner, but I had the crazy idea that it would be more fun to buy in person from their Covent Garden store. Silly me, what was I thinking! Those of you who are regular readers of this blog (and indeed have to put up with me on a daily basis) will know how much I have lusted over these bags and driven you all mad talking about them non-stop and may understand exactly how hurt I am and how personally I have taken it.

I am most upset and went as far as to send them a strongly worded email, even including the fact they had failed to update their FAQ to indicate the price increase. They have since fixed their FAQ but no response as of yet. Considering they hold bloggers in high esteem and often thank them for their success, it would appear unless you have millions of followers and a rave review of their bags, they couldn’t care less. Hopefully, they will change my opinion of them somehow, but so far, it’s not looking good.

I am sure after copious amounts of chocolate, alcohol and drunken renditions of ‘All by myself’ followed by ‘Without you’, I’ll be able to move on and find a new bag from another company that will appreciate me more and treat me with the respect I deserve, but right now I just want that one *sobs*. Please be on standby for the follow up ‘what a f***ing liberty’ (anger) and ‘well it was just a stupid bag anyway’ (acceptance) posts.

*Since posting this, the cost of the 14″ designer has now gone up to £135. Only £2 and hardly worth mentioning, but still…

The big(ish) survey…

Hello again! Sorry for being so quiet of late, I’ve been busy busy busy! My main reason for being busy (aside from work) is that I’ve been working on the survey. So here’s the plan: to get as many people (over 18) to fill in the survey, and when there’s a sufficent enough sample, I plan to collate the results and send them with covering letters to retailers to let them know what you think and want. So please fill this in and pass it on to your friends. It can befound here at the bottom of the blog post, on the menu as The Survey <— or click on this link

Yet another clothes shopping rant…

This one comes courtesy of Tesco online. As you are all well aware by now, I have to order most of my clothing online, so for my birthday, I chose a lovely dress as a present from a friend. After trying for next to a week to order it and failed because of technical errors on the website and his brother the techo-whizz couldn’t even figure it out, he asked me to try as I already have an account. No problem, I would order it, he would collect it. However, having been married since last ordering from Tesco, I needed to edit my billing address and card details. I literaly changed my title and added one, yes ONE letter to my surname, but it canot be upated because ‘no special characters are allowed in the address field’. I added an ‘R’ to my title from Ms to Mrs and changed my surname. Clearly the letter ‘R’ is special – perhaps I should take it as a compliment?

Today’s dilemma…

The lovely, lovely boots...

The lovely, lovely boots…

So today, I have a new dilemma altogether. Shoes. I have a hard enough time with shoes as it is with my abnormally wide feet (once again, thank you mum for those) but once I find some I like I tend to obsess ’til they are on my feet and there’s a smile on my face. My current obsession is the stunning cherry red Dr Martens that happen to be on sale in Schuh. Its my birthday on monday and decided happy birthday to me, I shall purchase some. Under recommendation from the email customer services, the best option for me and my big feet was to reserve some. Our local store at this point was closed (but have since been informed it has reopened as of 04/04/13), but not to panic, my friend & I were off to an out town shopping centre for a spot of shopping on Friday (today in fact) so they suggested to keep reserving them everyday until Friday when I could pick them up. Champion. Except tonight, it tells me these shoes are unavailable to reserve. PANIC!!! The customer services told me via email the stock would be available again after midnight so to try again then when my reservation would be cancelled. Except I can’t, it keeps saying the same thing. The online helper though did tell me they have 3 pairs in stock but it would appear they are all reserved ’til tomorrow morning, so to try again then. So clearly, I will not sleep and will panic until morning when I can call up or go online. my last chance would be to order from the store for next day delivery (pay the delivery costs too, sob) and hope they arrive on Monday. Once again, my odd body will lead me to online shopping, damnit!

Come on Schuh, I found some fabulous jeans, let me have my fabulous boots to match!!!

UPDATE : I GOT THEM! I have just left Schuh with the lovely DMs And another pair of shoes, woop woop!