Tag Archives: opinion

Word Of Mouth

How do you know that what you want to buy is any good?

If you’re buying something from a nearby brick-and-mortar store, you simply go there, take a look at it, heft it in your hands and get a feel for the object.

Then you go back home and do the same thing you’d do if you were buying the object, sight unseen, from a store on the internet: you look it up and start reading reviews.

I realize that there are some folks out there who are making a mockery of the review system, in that they are either hiring people to write glowing reviews of their product or scathing reviews of the competitor’s product, but I can’t think of a better system — when it’s not being gamed — for getting the unvarnished truth about a product.

Purchaser reviews are like talking over the backyard fence to your neighbor about her new lawn mower, or asking your cubicle-mate at work what he thought about that new Ethiopian restaurant downtown. You get to hear what each dude or dudette really thinks about the purchase or the food or the service.

You know that the person you asked isn’t being paid to speak only in glowing terms about the new nose-hair trimmer she just purchased. If you trust her, then you’ll trust her opinion of the nose-hair trimmer.

The internet, however, is a bit bigger than only your neighborhood. Odds are, you won’t know who the person recommending a product is, but you can be reasonably certain they are reviewing this under their own initiative, not because it’s their job to shill for Company X.

This came to mind last night, when I received a note from Amazon.Com that my review had helped another customer decide to purchase an item I got for Hyper Lad. It made me glad because, for a long while, I’d been reading reviews, but leaving hardly any.

That is just bad form.

See, you might recall that I’m a writer. (See A Dude’s Guide to Babies: The New Dad’s Playbook by Richard Jones and Barry Robert Ozer, on sale at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Powells.com and fine brick-and-mortar stores everywhere for proof.)

Since the book came out, I’ve been begging people to read it and then leave a review on Amazon or Barnes and Noble or anywhere they think others will see the review. The more reviews we get, the more people will see it, the more people will buy it, the better I’ll feel about the whole thing. (Which might not be all that important to you, but is oddly high on my list.)

I still don’t think we have enough reviews, but as I was brooding over that, I realized that I wasn’t holding up my end of the bargain. That is, I wanted reviews, but I wasn’t giving reviews.

Now, I understand there’s no big review toteboard up in the sky that ensures if you leave a review, you’ll get a review. But I thought maybe it was time to practice what I preached.

So I’ve been going back and leaving reviews for most of the items I’ve purchased from Amazon.com and other places. It’s taking a long, long, long, long, long (I like to buy things on the internet instead of searching for them IRL), long, long time. But I’m sticking with it.

And I think you should as well. I know you dudes and dudettes have read the reviews others have left, but have you left one in return? If folks don’t keep leaving reviews, the system breaks down and then we have to depend on the paid flacks for their not-so-honest answers.

No one wins when that happens.

Do your part, dudes. Buy a product? Write a review. Read a book? Write a review. Watch a movie? Write a review.

It only takes a couple of minutes. You’ll be glad you did.

You can always start here, reviewing A Dude’s Guide to Babies: The New Dad’s Playbook by Richard Jones and Barry Robert Ozer. Just a thought.

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Second Chances For First Impressions Rarely Go Well

What does it take for a dude to change his opinion of someone else?

By that, I mean, if you start out liking someone, getting a good vibe off of them, is it easy to readjust your thinking of that person to consider him to be a jerk?

Is it possible to go from thinking someone’s a jerk to thinking they’re an all-right dude?

Or will the lingering stigma of the first impression still hang around no matter how much she’s proved to be one and not the other?

I asked because I’m in the midst of such a reevaluation right about now. See, there’s this person, I’ll call him Ken and he’s somebody who provides me with a service.

No, not that kind of service. Sheesh, dudes. Get your minds up out of the gutter. I’m only being a bit obtuse because he might be reading this. And he might not even be a he. Or a she.

Moving on.

Anyway, I started out thinking Ken was a pretty all right dude, quick on his mental feet, friendly and a good guy to be around.

But then he went and mispronounced something. Badly. Repeatedly. And now I can’t help thinking he’s an idiot.

Now, before you get all up in arms about me being so very shallow and far too nitpicky, let me explain a bit.

See, I have what might charitably be called a huge vocabulary. I have a large working vocabulary, in that I can extemporaneously call up bit words, use them correctly and actually be able to define them. I have an even larger vocabulary of words that, once I hear or see them, I know what they are even if I couldn’t come up with them on my own.

Now, most of those words I learned through reading that I did on my own time. I didn’t have anyone there to talk to about the stuff I was reading, mostly because none of the kids my age were reading anywhere near what I was reading. Not that I’m trying to brag. I’m not.

Anyway, when I would run across a new word, I’d try to understand it by context and would then sound out the word. I’ve never been all that good at sentence diagramming and those pronunciation guides in dictionaries are gibberish to me. So I’ll find that I will be pronouncing a word one way for years, but realize that I’ve been doing it wrong and never knew it.

With that said, I understand that people can mispronounce words all that time and that doesn’t mean they’re an idiot. But it’s the caliber of the word here that’s causing me difficulties.

See, the word Ken mispronounced was calves. You know, the muscles on the back of your leg, between the knee and the heel. Yeah, those calves.

Ken pronounced that word as kal-vz. That is, the hard k sound, short a and hard l sound, followed by a blend of the v and z sound. In reality, the words is pronounced kavz, with the l sound completely silent.

This wasn’t a one-time thing as he repeated the mistake several times over the course of an hour or so.

I know it’s relatively minor, but I just can’t let it go. Calves is such a basic word and I find my second impression fighting with my first impression.

Oddly enough, in the opposite of what usually happens, I think my second impression (the reevaluation) is winning out over the first impression.

Now that I’ve opened myself up for ridicule, what do you dudes say? Can the second impression win out over the first and, in this case, should it?

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Diabetes Becoming A Hot Topic

Every once in a while I like to take the time to step aside for a bit and bring in a guest blogger. Usually it’s somebody with something specific to pitch or to tell you dudes about.

This time is no different. John Doe (yeah, really) works with the Diabetes Care Community website, which is based out of our neighbor to the north, Canada. My quick perusal of the website showed that it does offer links to and information about a variety of products for dealing with diabetes, so I wanted to be clear on that. I don’t think it’s a for-profit website (not that there’s anything wrong with it), but I do like to make sure any financial ties are enumerated clearly.

Anyway.

John Doe sent in a nice post about the increased awareness of diabetes among the general population, along with some ideas for why this is happening.

Take it away, John.

In recent years, there has been a sudden surge of interest in diabetes, with new articles, magazines and cookbooks appearing on the subject every day. Why is diabetes suddenly such a hot topic? And is modern Western culture to blame for the rapid rise in diabetes numbers?

 This article explores some of the facts, figures and opinions that are intensifying the search for more effective diabetes treatments and, ultimately, for a cure.

 Rising incidence of diabetes

The first official definition of diabetes as a serious disease occurred way back in the 16th century in a report by Philippus Aureolus Paracelsus, a noted Swiss physician. Yet it has taken hundreds of years to become top of mind as a condition that we all need to be concerned about.

 This increased level of interest coincides with a sharp rise in the numbers of diabetics. Diabetes is becoming more common everywhere in the world, and has been referred to as a global epidemic.

 A recent study puts the number of diabetics worldwide at over 347 million. That is more than the entire population of the United States. Most troubling, the number has more than doubled since 1980, when incidence was estimated at 153 million.

I’m going to stop you here for a bit, John. We’ll return tomorrow with the wrap-up to John’s article, in which he contemplates whether or not there are connections between the rise of diabetes incidence and our Western culture.

I have a feeling the answer could be in the positive, mostly because we’ve been talking (as a culture, not necessarily all the time here) about how Americans are growing more and more rotund and that’s not a good thing. Especially when you consider one of the types of diabetes, which I’m sure John will cover tomorrow.

Anyway. We’ll see you tomorrow.

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