In my blogospheric wanderings, I have come across a couple of articles lately about the importance of niceness. Well, they didn't actually say that's what they were about, but I think they were.
One blogger wrote about recommending an online shop to a friend and feeling bad because the package arrived with no extras, no note. No 'niceness', in fact. It struck me as odd to complain about just getting what you ordered. But I must admit, I've felt the same when buying on Etsy. There is a culture of sending little extras, and when I placed a multiple order with a vintage seller, I felt a bit let down when I opened the parcel and just got my order. I wouldn't expect it with single items, but if I'm placing a large order, it's a nice 'thank you' gesture. (I always include a little extra with my Etsy orders - a badge or sweets or some pretty ribbon, whatever I think is appropriate.)
Pretty packaging is another expectation, I've found. (The disappointing package I received from Etsy was tied up prettily with thread. But I have to say I just found that mildly irritating. I'd rather have a free gift! Or a cool business card, at least.) I struggle with packaging. Sometimes literally, but mainly just with the appearance of what I'm sending out. Even if I try hard, I can never get my packages to look neat. I always try to keep postage costs down for my customers, so I use the lightest packaging possible - usually bubble wrap. It's practical rather than pretty.
For myself, I'm very uncertain about the value of a lot of pretty packaging. So long as what I buy is safely wrapped, I'm not sure I care. Certain packaging will appeal to me, but it's not a deal-breaker. However, I know a lot of people find it hugely important, so I'm trying to improve the look of my packaging for my new shop. Apologies to those of you who have received my lumpy parcels in the past - they were packaged with love and care, if not with beauty...
The other aspect of niceness I've been considering is about how to network. A blogger wrote an article about Twitter which advised how to tweet. Her advice is not to send too many tweets (makes sense), and not make them all about yourself, with links to your site. As an example of how-not-to, she gave an example of an Etsy seller who didn't respond to questions. However, she also said this person had over 30 000 followers. Apart from the logistics (how many questions might this person get in a day?). this number of followers seems to indicate that a lot of people were quite happy just to get updates about this seller's products, and weren't bothered whether they responded or not.
I'm in two minds about this one. I'm not a natural networker. I don't use Twitter (yet?). I'm addicted to Flickr and I enjoy reading blogs, but I don't always feel the need to comment. Sometimes I only comment, because I think it's about time I did! I can think of blogs and Flickr photostreams that I follow with interest to see what work someone has produced, but I have no need or desire to interact with that person. And I think that's okay.
On the other hand, I know that I like receiving comments, and I know that the blogosphere can only work through links and networking. This last fact has been preying on my mind for a while, because I never got round to having a list of blog links on my page. For one thing, I couldn't decide how to do it, what to include, etc. Shops I like? Other kinds of sites? The other thing was that I thought people could just look at my profile to see what blogs I follow. And the final thing was that I'm just rubbish at networking, like I said.
Anyway, I'm in the process of giving the site a bit of a facelift, and I finally got round to adding a list. It's fairly arbitary, but I've focussed on vintage/textile/craft blogs. I might look at other subjects later. How do you find blogs? Is it usually from other bloggers' lists? Or from blog posts about a particular person and their work? I want to do more on this, and I plan to start more regular posts about other people's work. However, for the time being, I seem to have just talked about myself again. Oops.