Sunday, September 02, 2007

CHAT FORUMS/MESSAGE BOARDS: TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING? PART II

I've been hitting up the boards the past few weeks in order to get a sense of what general themes/concepts I could glean from my on-line surfing.

What I found surprising is the polar opposite issue which I discussed in my last post: I've found the "oh my god I love/adore your wedding dress/bridesmaid dress/ceremony decor/wedding theme, etc. etc. etc." statements run rampant on the boards. So my question is: how do you know when a poster is being honest?

And honestly, should you even care?

In a sense, I guess some brides are trying to get opinions and honest feedback from hopefully impartial observers. Makes sense, I guess. But is this really the place to get honest feedback?

One can argue that people are shielded by their anonymous screen names, and people will speak freely. Sometimes, as Megan indicated in her comment, TOO freely (Megan, I think that is so crass from the poster who made that comment to you - amazingly classless).

However, for people who use these boards frequently, posters seem to "get to know" others in the same thread. There's a constant back-and-forth, and it seems that many of these women become on-line friends--which sometimes translates into "meet and greets" for those constant communicators -- whether it be at a neighborhood bar, or at someone's home (I'll get to that in my next post). With that kind of constant communication, I imagine it must be hard to do anything but be overly encouraging.

I think that the "ooohs" and the "aahhhhs" on these boards are frankly, a little bit tiresome. While I think it's great for brides to get honest feedback (in a classy manner), it seems like the boards have become more of a "pat on the back" type of forum than a place to get real advice.

Maybe it's an unfair assessment, but I found that dose of sugary sweet commentary to be a bit tedius.

There HAS to be a happy medium between obnoxious, in-your-face honesty posts and overly congratulatory ones.

If you find that somewhere, please let me know!

Stay tuned!

6 comments:

Dataceptionist said...

Great topic, forums.
I actually got RIDICULOUSLY addicted to a forum for Aussie brides, granted my job wasn't terribly busy, but I was on it ALL day at work, constantly refreshing to see new threads, then sometimes I would go on at night too.
I'm not sure why I was so into it, eventually I realised that the threads were all on the same thing, they just cycled around again and again.
There was quite a lot of bitchiness floating around too, one girl was attacked online and on her "wedding Announcer" site, and had to take it down.
Frequently I would find the girls would jump on a topic, that several people might quite legitimately have different opinions on, and the people who had a different opinion would be completely shot down.
Thankfully I stopped going on the site, but at the time I was really into it.
I didn't understand the girls who'd already been married who still frequented it. And now that I am married, I understand it even less...
I like your blog though WF :)

~so my final word, even though it was a bit intense sometimes, without the girls on the forum I would never have found a pic of my gown, which then allowed me to give it to my seamstress so we could rip it off for a fraction of the cost ;)

Sarita said...

I frequent the Destination Weddings board on TK and the girls there are refreshingly honest, respectful and helpful (for the most part).

Message boards can be annoying when people use the anonymity to be rude or as you say, yes people to death. Weddingbee just started up boards too, so exciting!

Belda said...

Hi Wedding Fairy,
I stumbled upon your blog after googling "sweetheart table" and was very happy to find someone else as puzzled about this as I was. It just seems self-absorbed and weird -- if a couple is putting together a reception and inviting guests, why don't they want to sit with them?!?

I love your blog. I find myself simultaneously fascinated and horrified by the proliferation of wedding planning. I really enjoy your posts and hope that you revisit some topics now that you're planning a wedding of your own and compare what it's like being the host rather than guest.

A said...

I have been reading for several months and have commented a few times before (I'm the one that commented on old posts as I was going through them!). I got married back in June.

This past Saturday, my husband and I traveled out of town for a wedding. The bride had nine, yes NINE, bridesmaids. One of them was my sister-in-law. With a total of 18 attendants, that is clearly more than one table.

As a result, they didn't sit with any of them. The wedding party sat scattered throughout the room, with their respective families/friends. The bride & groom sat by themselves at a sweetheart table. They were served their meal, while the rest of the guests went to the buffet. Nothing wrong with a buffet (we had one), but if you do it, the bride & groom should also use it.

At the ceremony, the full row of attendants stood up front only until the bride's father gave her away. Then all but the best man & maid of honor sat in the pews.

I think my sister-in-law felt like one of the herd, rather than a special person asked to be by the bride's side on her special day. Why did she spend all that money on the dress, etc., if she was just going to sit in the pews for the wedding and mixed in with all the rest of the guests at the reception?

Overall, the whole day felt sort of isolating. The bride & groom didn't form a receiving line or exit the church at all after the wedding - we didn't see them once from the end of the ceremony until they were introduced at the reception and went right to their sweetheart table.

Dataceptionist said...

That is SO bizarre!

Anonymous said...

For me, I prefer if the comments are not just to comment on what the poster put out there specifically but to have a conversation about whatever the topic is for the interest of the entire group of visitors. I agree that all the sugar-sweet bobblehead "yes's" are not useful and are tedious and not believeable. I'm always much more interested in reading what the dissenters have to say because they offer alternative perspectives and angles. I agree about being thick-skinned, especially because the more anonymous the poster is, the freer that commenters feel to criticize naturally, so that should be expected in an all-virtual space. Messages can be read in many ways (email is notorious for this) so it's better to give each writer the benefit of the doubt that disagreement or humor is not intended as as personal or an insult.

So, sincere opinion, critique, and exchange are the only useful kinds of content for me and it helps maximize my research time. For example, I would rather hear that some people found a certain venue "stuffy" or "creepy" because it helps me envision how others (my guests) might perceive the portraits hanging on the walls before I go spend time to see it with my own eyes, finalize my deposit, finalize my decorating, etc. That's information I can actually use or at least consider.

I've found the exchange on IndieBride to be useful to solicit genuine discussion and opinions, without editorial censoring, and the audience is pretty diverse, many with low budgets too. Sites like WeddingBee are more of a "pat on the back" place with more of a homogenous steady nice brand being crucial to maintain advertisers, so unfortunately time spent there is not as productive (though the older WB posts with DIY crafts are really useful -- they have little DIY now; just skip through all the "my engagement story" kind of stuff).