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The mad cabbie was the trigger to write this review, together with bloody anger I will admit too, and frustration at myself for falling into the Sarah (Trampus) saga, with hook, line and sinker, with the hook firmly embedded in my throat. He wrote so eloquently and tactfully (Jillmurphy quote) and I agree, about addiction to Ciao that I thought I better add my two pennies worth.
I am afraid that for this one I will not be so tactful. In fact I am going to be brutally honest although I am not going to name names. All of you can attach names to yourselves or see if it applies to you.
I can not write this review any differently than I look at real life. That now involves being an (almost fully trained counsellor/Psychotherapist). It becomes part of you and your persona and instincts become honed and trained to reading between the lines of what people say and do. (The music behind the words I call it) On here it tends to be the “say”, rather than the “do”. However that clearly has its down side from my point of view as words written on here do not always truly convey how people are feeling, or what they are truly saying.
I look at life totally differently compared with ten years ago, because of that. I do not judge people any more and accept people for whom and what they are, and why they behave as they do, and are what they are.
When I joined ciao I had completed two years of a four year diploma level; course on counselling and psychotherapy. One year on counselling Skills, and one year on counselling Theory. I had not really entered the real self-awareness stages, or the really human personal level stuff that I have learned and experienced now.
I have also now been a member for over a year and I think I am experienced enough to give a good overview of how Ciao works and have seen enough controversy, bitching, back-biting, jealousy, incestuous ciao affairs, member abuse, and some down-right disgusting events to back that up.
I have been a limitedly affected victim of abuse. Although quite soon after I joined I actually had two reviews removed. I was called or inferred to, as being a racist. Ciao told me they were removing them because they could potentially cause an argument. I was going to leave but it was actually the now infamous Trampus that dissuaded me together with another (at the time) prominent member of Ciao to defect and resign.
Collectively I think we all have to examine what we actually get from membership of Ciao. Then we have to look at what prompted our membership, how it came about, how we found out about it, why some have left, why some are still here, why do some churn, others do not. What do we get from it? What do we want from it? Is it an addiction?
I will look at each one in turn. This gets more brutal as it goes on. It is only my opinion and some of you will clearly not agree with me, that is your choice and I respect it. So please respect mine.
THE MONEY EARNERS
The original real reason I joined Ciao. It was suggested to me by an obscure member of the public I met whilst cabbing. I soon learned that this was not the case and have only earned enough to pay for 40 cans of beer a year. LOL. There are members whom write nothing in the café, concentrate on product
reviews only, and earn a fair amount together with other income to supplement their finances. These members do not tend to get involved with the politics of the site. They are purely there to make as much money as they can. I believe these people make up quite a small percentage of our members.
Probably one of the largest groups on Ciao and definitely the most popular and widely available. This is the category where some members think they are potentially the new Steven King, (not me by the way and metaphorically speaking) for what they write. Many people think they can write, and see themselves as potential Authors. Very few make the grade but at least on here you can get a lovey dovey rating and comment on your review even if it is a load of crap. Then you feel you are a writer in bloom and continue writing more rubbish. All the time you get told” great review” full stop. What does that tell you apart from what a great writer you are? How shallow can we get eh?
Now these people are amongst the few on Ciao. They are usually competitive and have to stay “in the lead” so to speak. Some of them are excellent writers but most of them soon disappear. Watch as certain new and some established members write 3 reviews a day, every day to try to challenge the more experienced churners and attempt to beat them in the Ciao charts. (This was a clue to the Sarah saga and some of us should have seen it coming) I actually questioned in my COT review how the hell she could read, rate and write to such an extent. I know how long it takes me to really read a review properly, and to write one I feel is good enough. Hence the amounts of comments I have received outnumber my comments made by 2 to 1. So how many of you really read all reviews you peruse? How many of you skim? Now if you watch a churner whom lasts on here for any length of time you will generally notice that their reviews gradually deteriorate in quality, they make less rates and comments on other members and their ratings and reads get less. Personally I get little time as it is and would rather give three different members my time than one with three reviews a day. I can say with almost 100% certainty that the quality overall is better with the three, rather than the one.
These Ciao members join and write what they feel like. Generally they write reviews on products with the occasional review in the café. They surf the net widely and become members for fun or just as another internet hobby when they feel like it. They usually belong to other sites that resemble Ciao and you don’t often see them. They are another group that generally don’t get involved with the politics of Ciao. They go missing for long periods when they find another site of better interest. They generally have a happy life outside Ciao and can come and go as real life dictates their lives, not what goes on in here.
THE ONE OFFS These members write one review, get no praise, and resign. Alternatively they realise Ciao is not for them as they see all the shallow comments and recognise that Ciao can be a mutual admiration society. They don’t wait around to see the deeper side of Ciao.
THE CAFÉ WRITERS
This is the category I generally belong to. I admit I originally joined to earn money. I soon saw through that. I realised that it gave me a chance not just to write but to enter into critical debate with other members. I admit I enjoy the praise, and the valuing of my opinions and reviews and/or disagreement. However in this group I can also include the fanatics, and the preachers whom also turn up occasionally. I do not take kindly to having ANY religion or beliefs rammed down my throat, and have told several ex-members to piss off in the past. Some café writers, and I include myself, relate experiences not for sympathy, empathy, or care, but because we have handled the given situation and the relating of it helps people cope. They do not feel as if “I am the only one this has happened to”, and often that is enough to help them.
THE SOCIAL WORKERS
These I consider amongst the most potentially dangerous members of Ciao. A lot of them are alcoholics or Ciao dependent. Several members apparently cried all night at the apparent death of our dear Sarah. There was widespread hysteria at the news. Conjecture was rife, and I admit it upset me. But not to the extent it clearly affected some members. Cyber neurosis was rife as the supposed death spread around the site. I had numerous PGB messages asking if I was alright. I truly appreciate the concern, but how could I mourn over someone I did not know in person? I appreciate that some members have met Sarah in the real world and that puts a different perspective altogether on the picture, that is different. But how can you get so upset about someone you don’t know? The social workers tend to merge into a crossbreed between the former and the latter.
The needy ones join here because it gives them a sense of belonging. They may not originally join for that reason but that is where they find themselves and they feel they are wanted, valued and loved. So they stay. There are several members I could mention here but I won’t. There are many of them and they have there own reasons. But they don’t get their basic human needs met in real life, so they turn to Ciao. They get recognised, noticed, valued, and praised. All basic human needs, which can be met on here to an extent and fill that gap which is missing.
THE INVALIDS AND HOUSEBOUNDS
This is a special category. Some people are in wheelchairs, are housebound or suffer from other disabilities, and Ciao is a way of passing time and making friends. It is an opportunity to write and for these people to express themselves and to communicate with the outside world. For that reason alone Ciao is a massive plus in their lives, but even these people are open to abuse at times.
THE EXPERIENCED BALANCED ALL ROUNDERS
These are definitely the best people on Ciao. They don’t run around like whippets at a greyhound track trying to read, rate, and write at the speed of light, and spurt rubbish in their comments. They come and they go. Their participation in the Ciao community is balanced by their real lives. They read what interests them, and they rate and comment accordingly. They are usually longer established members but not always. There may be large gaps between writing reviews They have favourite members but don’t read all their reviews. They will speak honestly and rate realistically and justify it. They choose their friends wisely but treat Ciao for what it is, a cyber community, and just another part of their lives. They will have a debate, and argue the point but above all they will respect that member for their opinions and reviews and will accept them, whether they agree or not.
These people quite frankly are sad cases. Abuse in real life is bad enough but in this cyber world it is crazy but very easy. I have questioned why some Ciao victims of abuse have got so worked up about it but I realise it is a challenge to your self-concept, your pride, and your sense of well-being, and although we can remove PublicGB comments, and Private GBs, we can’t do anything about revenge ratings unless we bring it to the attention of Ciao abuse. That in itself is grief we can all do without. After all, we are here to write and be part of the Ciao community whatever group/s we are in. Revenge ratings and abuse are generally to do with jealousy or lack of acceptance of another person’s views and opinions, and on here sometimes review related life experiences.
I believe that almost none of us are in one single group I have written about. (There are always exceptions) I believe that we each belong in at least two or more groups to an extent, and as I have thought more deeply I probably belong to three. I have probably even missed a few more categories I could write about or one of you could think of. As “the mad cabbie” said, Ciao addiction does exist and I agree.
However what is an addiction? Usually it is chemical, like drink or drugs. It is a temporary, sometimes permanent (which usually results in health problems or death) escapist solution that fulfils a need, and as alcohol and drug addiction fulfils a basic human need so does Ciao. The difference being that Ciao has only been here for four years. Alcohol and drugs have been here for a damn sight longer and are chemically empowering means of escape, rather than purely mental.
I would wager a large bet that some of you sit at your computers and combine the power of the alcohol/drugs, and the comfortable feeling you get from being a very active member of Ciao late at night and in your own cocoon.
No one knows you are on your 10th Vodka or your 4th joint do they?
We are not physically there to judge or condemn and you can pretend to your hearts content that you are a genuine you. We can’t see each other, that is the difference. You can pretend to be anything you like. You are only judged on the words you write, and the sentiments you convey. Who is to say you are not sitting there calling us all wankers and idiots?
Well come on think about it? What proof do we have?
That is what Sarah done, and how many of us fell into that trap, hook, line and sinker, including me?
Ciao can clearly be an addiction to some people. It is an addiction to meet human basic needs. One interesting observation I have made in my years membership, usually Ciao addiction is temporary, it fulfils the need and these people move on. Real, life takes over eventually……………………………
I may not have given direct advice but I certainly think I have given you food for thought. Look at yourself and see why Ciao is important to you? What group are you in?
Oh looks like one of you will change my colour on this one as well!!!
Very astute Tony. I know where I'd like to be, and I also know where I probably was...I broke my addiction and left, but am back for more now hopefully older and wiser. Thanks for the timely reminder.
Seresecros 20.03.2007 19:00
I guess I'd be a Hobbyist, although I have spent one or two late nights on here with a bottle (of Lucozade, mind). I guess it comes from doing a degree which involves very little work, I get lots of free time during the day and Ciao's always there for me...
kevthrev 12.08.2006 22:46
Very interesting reading,i consider myself a Hobbyist,just popping in now and again and using the site to find product information and,when i get time,write a review.Really didn't realise it went deeper than that.Thanks.