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Ratings, Reviews, and Stars

I’m going to venture into what is, for some, a delicate topic.

When you are an artist and you have a product that you’ve dared to put yourself into and then out into the public realm, if ratings, reviews, and stars are involved (no, not the twinkling kind that appear in the night sky), chances are, you hope you receive the most stars, best ratings, and reviews possible. I know I do, as a writer. However, I think we all know the number of stars or the type of reviews a product receives does not necessarily equal the quality or value of the product. The fact is, the number of stars chosen by an individual is subjective. Perhaps they’ve had a bad day. Maybe they read a book, watched a movie or listened to a song outside of their typical genre of interest. Maybe they didn’t know how to use the product (for example, a water softener) correctly. Maybe they are biased in some other way. The list could go on and on, regarding subjectivity. And, sometimes, maybe they are spot on if they give a product 5 stars or 1 star–maybe it deserved it. Once again, who’s to say? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and this applies to the quantitative rating of a product, also.

Sometimes I love a book that someone else couldn’t even finish because they disliked it so much. And I’m thinking, when I see their review, “Wow, I loved the book. How could they not love it?”

To be honest, I’ve often wondered if maybe some reviewers are just plain mean or grumpy. Maybe they dislike everything. But then, there are some reviewers who are good at the rating system, knowledgeable, and who try to give an honest review, whether good or bad. Kudos to them!

For those of us writers who have received 5 star reviews, it sure is exciting! We are at the top of the world. We are grateful and humbled. For those of us who have received a 1 star review, it sure is a bummer—but it does wear off. We pick ourselves back up again, along with our pen, and we begin writing again, and again, and again, because that is what we do. And then we remember we are not writing for the ratings, reviews, and stars. We are writing because it’s in our blood. We must write.

The next time you read a book, watch a movie, or hear a song, even try a product out, and you LOVE it, why not write a review. Artists and companies truly appreciate those who take the time to write an honest review telling how much they like their product. And, if you honestly do not like a product, take the time as well to rate it and maybe even briefly explain why, in a constructive manner. I have read some reviews that are downright mean and hateful. I think constructive criticism would get the points across much better.

Ratings, reviews, and stars are part of how we view products and perhaps even decide whether or not to buy them; remember, however, they do not completely define a product. It’s best to try it out for yourself, remembering that those who are using this quantitative (number of stars) system are indeed subjective, and beauty usually always ends up being in the eye of the beholder after all.

Until next time,

Susan

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