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For my 500th review on Ciao, I was somewhat stuck as to what I could write the review on. Of course it being a part of the Ciao Café and so therefore not being a review that would offer me anything in the way of monetary rewards afterwards (though this is of course NOT why I write on here of course!), I just thought that I would like to write a little bit about some of my own experiences of being on Ciao over the years.
I actually joined Ciao sometime back towards the end of July 2007 through a friend who had referred me to the site, although sadly she is no longer on the site - I am unable to even remember what she called herself on here, and neither can she when I asked her!
I started to write reviews almost right away, and as many people who first start out on the site can say that some were OK; others were better, but others were worse! Of course it was a slightly new thing for me to be doing, writing reviews on different things that would be helping people to make an informed choice on whether to buy something or not.
But as with anything, as the saying goes ‘practice makes perfect’. However with this said I know that I am still not the best at writing reviews and that there are people who are much better than me at it, but I must
be doing something along the right lines if people keep on rating my measly offerings to the wider community that is Ciao!
When I write a review, I try and think of all of the things about what I am reviewing and write about them as I have never used the product before and it was going to be me that was going to be reading a review on it. I realise that there may well be little things that I may miss out as I am sure we all do at different times, but I would just like to think that I have included enough detail in it to allow the person reading it to get a fairly decent picture of it.
I also hope that I rate other people’s reviews in the same way, although I do still get things wrong even in this department - as is pointed out to me on the odd occasion! After all, I am not perfect but it is also nice to have other people point me in the right direction - even if it means that I have to go back and re-rate a review that I THOUGHT was god but it turned out to be a copied one!
I must admit though, that when I first started I thought that the Circle of Trust was for people who wanted to help and support one another (although this is something else that I shall pick up on in a minute). But for a lot of the time (and this appears in my own opinion to be especially true of the more recent times), that people will now only add me to their Circle of Trust because I have been nice to them and have either given them a bit of advice or I have rated them well!
But as briefly mentioned just now, this is a site that appears to go through certain stages in terms of helping and supporting one another. I along with other people at one stage had people ‘revenge rating’, as we had been open and honest about their reviews (or so we thought in any case!). However with this said, on the whole I feel that (depending of course who you are and who you are talking to at the time!) the site is quite welcoming and supportive of other people. I will always try and point people in the right direction if I am able to, and if somebody has given ME what would be a really useful piece of advice then I hope that I have passed it on in some way. In any case, surely the whole purpose of a community such as Ciao is to encourage one another to help each other to get better at what they are doing rather than being put down all of the time?
I know that it doesn’t take a lot to confuse me (as I am sure many people have found out now that I have been a member of this site for just under five years), but there are still some things that I don’t understand how they work (such as setting up to receive e-mail alerts!?!?!?!?) and I am quite sure that I won’t be able to work these things out for years to come yet still! Although for some unknown reason, one of the things that had appeared to come really easily to me was not only referring other new members to the site but also the ability to report new items to the site - all of which became accepted and a part of the site (apart from one odd one which was already on here but in a different capacity which I couldn’t find).
I would however in conclusion just like to thank those people who have been with me throughout my journey on here so far to date, you know who you are! You have seen me talk through things such as alcohol issues; depression; coming out as being gay, and all sorts of different things besides these - and have somehow through now having written 500 reviews, have made it to being a silver dot so far.
It has not been an easy journey, as I also know that it hasn’t for other people who have also been through and talked about other such things that are similar to my own experiences - I just hope that in some small way I have been able to help out somebody, as others have of me too.
I hope that I have given you all a little glimpse in to my time on Ciao, and I just hope that things won’t get changed too much now that we have been taken over by ‘the dark side’. But I guess that time will tell, unless there is somebody who can look in to the future and tell the rest of us what is going to be happening!