Thursday, 18 December 2014

Review this Product

Recently. a poem of mine was included in an anthology whose theme was 'lost voices'. It is the case that for every theme there will be an equal number of aspirational responses, each individually interpretative.

This thread is replicated in other, more familiar scenarios, where the individual response reveals as much about the "back pages" of the writer as it does the writer's initial thematic contribution to the group.

An example of this phenomenon is in customer online reviews of products and services. The customer has received the product or service and decides to offer a product citation, whether critically positive or otherwise. Curiously, the reviewers seldom limit themselves to the cold facts of the retail experience, e.g., does it work/how well does it work. Instead, they instinctively and, I think, unwittingly, offer insights into their personal lives that in other circumstances they would be loathe to share with strangers. The process probably has its orgins in story-telling and other rituals of tribal sharing, the traits of which are as old as the communal hearth.

From an ebullient 'Mags' we have, "Got as a prezzie for my birthday from my husband. Love it. Took it on holiday to Dubai. Didn't need my phone which was just as well coz I forgot to pack it !!!!" Mags clearly believed she is sharing her experience of her husband's gift to her of a Kindle Fire HD tablet, but cannot help but give the reader an insight into the private moment where the gift is given, together with the further experience of a trip to faraway places, so much so that she confides, too, that her usual method of communication, her mobile phone, is subconsciously relegated to a more mundane fate.

And from 'Mr. A' we have the heartfelt, "At eighty one, a lot of my friends have now gone, but now I have found a new friend, my Kindle Fire HDX. Wonderful!" In this brief statement we have a portrait of a lonely man, now elderly, who clearly reflects on a life without friends of long-standing, yet accepts without hesitaton this electronic link to new and wider experiences. 

It's unlikely, if pressed, that Mr. A, or other reviewers, would admit to an actual relation-rich friendship with a Kindle Fire HD tablet, one that would eclipse former friendships with those people now gone from his life, but nonetheless he recognises the importance of connections. These, after all, help us define our own humanity, and provide the compass points by which we navigate sometimes lonely seas.

And 'Karen' offers, "Bought this for my Mum's 70th Birthday. For someone who didn't understand the world of click and download...the Kindle made it so easy for her. She has now become pro. :-)"

Perhaps in the peaks and troughs of cyber-oceans Mr. A might find himself within hailing distance of Karen's Mum.

Ahoy...ahoy there....

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