Thursday, December 1, 2011

To Comment Or Not To Comment On Cake Photos

There are many online cake sites where people post photos of cakes that they've made. Add flickr and facebook into that, and you have a tremendous number of pictures to look at or to comment on.

Having said that, who really has the time to comment on pictures? Personally, I hardly ever look at pictures of cakes online, unless I'm looking for something specific to show a client, or if a friend has posted pictures.

When I post a photo I really don't expect to get comments. They're nice if people feel like they want to take the time, but I'm not insulted if people don't. I look at posting photos of cakes as a type of advertising, not as a way to get compliments.

Plus, when I see some of the "awesome cake" comments that people have put on photos of cakes that were clearly made by a blindfolded monkey, well, the "nice cake" comments lose some of their luster.

One cake forum will periodically have someone post that nobody is making comments on their cakes, and they're sad because of it. I usually go to look at the photos then, being curious as I am. Many times, though, the reason why there are no comments is pretty clear.

If a cake looks like it was dropped off a building, and nobody comments on it, it's probably because nobody wants to say that it looks like crap. Count your blessings if nobody comments.

I was watching Kitchen Nightmares, and the owner of the failing restaurant was saying that people were always telling the waitstaff how good the food was. Gordon Ramsay responded that the servers in his restaurants were trained to listen to the bad comments, not the good ones "where people are blowing smoke up your ass."

If you're asking for comments, then comments about things that you can improve can be more helpful than smoke up the wazoo.

People generally don't want criticism, though, they want everyone to gush over them. It's obvious to me that there are enough people who are willing to post "that cake is amazing" on a cakewreck that you can usually get one or two gushy remarks on even a horrible cake.

It doesn't mean anything, though, if all you're doing is cutting out cartoon characters from a color printer and slapping it on a monkey-iced cake.

If you really want people to comment on your photos because you really want to get better, you should spend more time practicing and less time fishing for compliments. If you're just wanting to hear people tell you how great your pile of cake is you'll find that, but it means nothing. So figure out before you ask WHY you're asking for people to comment. Then be prepared for when they do.

Or maybe you should just go practice some more and not worry about it so much. That's a lot less stressful.



 Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC in Richmond VA, and cake supplies online at www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com

4 comments:

Audric Montuno said...

Interesting post, Kara. To be honest, I don't go on many cake forums or discussion boards, but that may also be because I don't make cakes often nor do I rely on it as a source of income.

However, when I do make a cake (and am reasonable proud in my efforts), I do like to post pictures, the process, the thoughts behind the design etc. and make it public. I typically do a blog post and then link it on my Facebook page, so my friends know when I've done an update - but that's primarily because I am not nearly as prolific or as regular as some dedicated bloggers (such as yourself) are. (Frequency and consistency is key when maintaining a blog readership - two things that I don't have).

The main reason that I do it, and this is not to discredit any other motivations - is really just for documentation. Yes, sometimes a friend would like to show a friend of theirs a cake that I did. But since I'm still really in the early learning stages, it's primarily for me to track my progress and build up a record of decent, presentable cakes. At least, I'm hoping that I'm moving in that direction.

Kara said...

That's basically the point of posting photos, IMO. I see it as a form of advertising, as I mentioned, but it seems like a lot of people just want to get compliments. Anyone who posts that they want comments is opening themselves up to what they probably don't want, which is criticism.

It's interesting how some of the most constructive criticism that I've seen on some comments (people will point out things that could be done differently, or just say something like "try it this way next time") will be met with responses that basically call the commenter nasty names for being honest. I think that most people do follow the "if you can't say something nice..." rule. BUT...if you ask for comments, you have to be ready for real feedback. Maybe the cake in question IS fantastic, but they're usually not!

Kara said...

I also just followed your blog :)

The Liberty Fabrics cake is gorgeous. Not a fake comment at all, either! I might steal a similar idea for something that I need to do for a photo shoot soon.

Audric Montuno said...

Thank you for the compliment! Please feel free to steal away - but also note that the inspiration was strongly derived from the Caketress's style here in Toronto.

I also frequent some landscape forums, and a while back some bonsai forums as well - and there was plenty of negative reactions to what was fairly constructive criticism. A common comment made at some of the bonsai forums I went to were "Put in the ground, let it grow for 5 years, then come back." It's difficult for people just starting the hobby to hear that they should wait, wait wait.

To be honest, I sometimes have a hard time accepting criticism - but the internet allows for time to step back and rethink what was said. That's both its beauty and its danger - that the emotion typical of a discussion can be manipulated or variable. Just because the speed of the internet can allow for cross-continental knee-jerk reactions doesn't mean that they should be done.

P.S. I used the acanthus leaf mold that I won from you on the Liberty Art Fabrics cake - it's hard to see, but they're there!