Sometimes I wish I was an anonymous blogger..

Don’t get me wrong,,I love being transparent..and I think the fact that many of you know me personally..or can at least get in touch with me easily is what keeps you coming back, but honestly?..Sometimes being soooo transparent stops me from being 100% honest about how I feel..and other times, forces me not to write about certain topics altogether!!

Anonymous bloggers

Am I the only blogger who wishes they were anonymous at times?

credit

Case in point:  I’ve just come home after having had one of the worst meals since I moved to Lebanon.. and I’m just itching to divulge all of the details so that none of you ever have to experience the same.. But at the same time, I’ve found myself in a conundrum over whether this is the right thing to do for the following reasons:

1.  I know the owner and see him around frequently..(even though he was very defensive when I told him how poor the quality of the meal, the cocktails, and the service were tonight..and despite the fact that I carefully chose to start my sentence with.. “I love your restaurant, I really do..and I must’ve eaten here at least 50 times before, but……)

2.  This restaurant doesn’t have a website nor any social media presence to speak of, so I know that if I write something about it (whether good or bad) it will come up in the first few search results whenever people search for it..and, as a result, might negatively impact the way people view this restaurant in the future.. (As a test, I just did a Google search for the restaurant..and lo and behold a (very positive) post I wrote about them over a year ago (which I had completely forgotten about btw), is 3rd in the search results!  See what I mean?)

3.  At the end of the day, I am very aware of the fact that I am a foreigner in this beautiful country, and oftentimes feel that I don’t have to right to criticize a particular establishment if there is a chance I might cause that establishment any harm..don’t get me wrong.. I have questioned and analyzed (and sometimes criticized!) a lot Lebanese customs and cultural/social norms (and posted my fair share of negative reviews too!)..but I really do try my utmost best to do so objectively..  Yet, an experience like what I just had is almost impossible to describe objectively!!

Ughhh..I’m STUCK!  What would you do if you were me,,taking all of the above into consideration?

31 Comments

Filed under life in Lebanon

31 responses to “Sometimes I wish I was an anonymous blogger..

  1. There will always be a compromise either way. There are always benefits to each approach. But also downfalls. It’s a choice you make. I chose to remain anonymous.

  2. Fadi

    Well how about you post your review but without naming the restaurant but while dropping a few hints, that way its management would feel obliged to correct what went wrong today, yet their online reputation wouldn’t be totally shattered

  3. I started a FB page specifically to point out cases such as these. Am sick and tired of poor products an services in the Arab world. I created this page just a few days ago so it’s still empty.

    I am a marketeer and I know the perils of the business, but it’;s time to move to “Name and Shame” I might be forgiving or tolerant if it came to me, but if something like this happened to my son, I would not be so forgiving.

    The above FB page is just an experiment, just to see how it goes, will it have an impact or not? I’m not promoting it, am just pointing out that as consumer, we should make a stand.

  4. Well, even if you were anonymous the review would have the same effect, no?

    • Well, if I was anonymous I wouldn’t be as conflicted about writing the review. The place that I’m speaking about is actually very popular with a lot of people..and I run into the owner frequently, which is what’s stopping me from exposing it’s name.. Also, people tend to take anonymous bloggers not as seriously as people who are completely transparent about their name/history/where you can find them, as Youssef commented below.. sooo all of this to say, I don’t think that a negative review would have as much impact if I as anonymous!

  5. Your approachability is definitely what keeps people coming back and your honesty gives credit to what your write and your opinions. There will always be the fools who will think you are just bashing their culture, as evident by certain comments on previous posts. I would say that you do not owe us anything, so you do not have to tell us what happened or which restaurant it is if you feel conflicted about the situation. But also, just like Fadi suggested, you can describe the events and what happened without specifically naming the place. Many will go for the ‘name and shame’ route, but you don’t have to. Also, if you have eaten there many times and been very happy with it, you could treat this instance as an exception so you do not need to warn everyone else, since hopefully this will not happen again. But at the same time, if the owner wasn’t responsive to your complaints, maybe he deserves it. The diplomatic way is to try with the owner again, since you seem to care not to hurt his reputation, and hope that it could be taken care of internally. But then resort to telling the world what happened if that doesn’t work out.

    I know I haven’t given you a decisive answer, that’s up to you. As I said, you do not owe anyone anything and thus do not have to do something you’re not comfortable with.

  6. barbie

    Tell about the experience, telling first how good it has been in the past.

  7. Ranya

    Long time reader, first time commenting…
    I agree with what has been said above. You can always post a review without mentioning the place..Maybe at least you can get it off your chest.
    I don’t quite understand why you feel that you cannot negatively criticize an establishment since you are a foreigner. Whether you are Lebanese or not doesn’t make the restaurant or its food any better! If it has shitty food/service, then say it as it is.
    I used to live in California (I’m Lebanese) and I used to always post reviews about restaurant/hotels without feeling like I was offending the country or its customs/traditions. But then again, Lebanese are more sensitive to negative criticism and the idea of reviews isn’t as common yet.
    If this restaurant is consistently failing to meet the standards, then in my opinion writing a review about it is more than fair. And if you don’t want to post the review on your blog and would rather do it anonymously then you can use http://www.beirutrestaurants.com or http://beirut.ayna.com/

    • Thanks for your comment Ranya!! (You should comment more often btw!)..I agree that in the States they are more open and accustom to the idea of criticism than they are in Lebanon..which is what makes writing a very harsh and negative review difficult for me! Thanks for the website suggestions as well, I will definitely be looking into them as they provide a neutral platform on which to voice my opinion!😀

  8. LoL, I’d be doing the same thing you’re doing with this post.😉

  9. Hi, been following your blog only recently. Great writing style🙂 You mention you know the owner? You can have a word with him face to face about what went wrong, I don’t see why this needs to be a dilemma. You’d be doing him a favor I think. I mean how else do we expect to improve anything if we don’t criticize it first, (when the need presents itself). I fear you’ve become too Lebanonized ya habibti without your realizing it🙂 This is our greatest downfall, we don’t know how to criticize ourselves, or each other, or we fear doing it because we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. What’s worse is that when we DO criticize we tend to it aggressively, never constructively. I’ not saying that’s you by any means, I’m saying that’s the overall attitude, and I’m also saying that somehow you’ve found yourself in a dilemma you probably wouldn’t have found yourself in back in the US.

    I say if decide to write about it, you can do it CONSTRUCTIVELY. IF we don’t criticize, we won’t get anywhere. We’ll remain as stagnant as we are. I honestly think you will do your friend a favor if you highlight his GOOD points, while mentioning the negative points that need enhancing. The negative points must be mentioned!! While you’re at it, you can encourage him to get a website😉

    • Hi Rewa, thank you for your comment. I had a word with the owner! Right then and there! I debated not saying anything to him, but in the end I thought he had the right to know how unhappy me and my friends were with the quality of food, the service…everything!! And instead of being understanding and accommodating, and trying to rectify the situation, he was defensive!!

      Trust me girl, I’m always the first to complain or send back food when I’m unhappy..I don’t have a problem voicing my complaints to the wait staff or the owner (so much so that my friends are sometimes embarrassed to go out with me!)..but when I know that thousands of people may read my review which may negatively impact how they view the establishment, I definitely think twice.

      I agree with your comment about Lebanese people not liking to criticize themselves, or be the subject of any criticism whatsoever..you have no idea how difficult this fact makes it for me as an American blogger living in Lebanon. I’ve had my fair share of ‘Who do you think you are’s/You have no business saying what your saying’ but that doesn’t stop me from voicing my opinions objectively and constructively.

      And you are absolutely right – if I was living in the US I wouldn’t have thought TWICE about it!

  10. Writing a negative review does not have a devasting effect to the restaurant if you mention how great the food has been in the past. What is the purpose of your review? To criticize or is it more that you are surprised of the change of quality? The restaurant might have has a new chef (happened to me, i told the owner that we were very disapointed and we never returned).
    Bad meals happen and a restaurant needs at least ten good reviews to make people forget the bad one!
    Have a great sunday!

    • The purpose of my review would be to explain to management/the owner/whoever is listening that I am surprised at how the quality of their food and service has diminished since I first came to their restaurant over a year and a half ago. I think what enraged me most is how the owner dismissed my comments by saying, “This is just how we make those dishes..” which forced me to come back with, “I am with a table of four people, none of them liked your food.” I was also really surprised that he did nothing to rectify the issues, except offer us a dessert,,and left us with a 100,000LL bill! So disappointing,.

  11. alex t

    As someone who really supports consumer rights, there’s one part of me that wants to say its a moral MUST to let people know what happened. but the other half which is very sensitive to context and people networks says, don’t do it as you could be harming more than you are fixing.

    this would actually be a great opportunity to let the restaurant owner know how SEO and social media can help drive more sales (or keep customers away) show him your original post on the Search engine result pages. and then open the conversation about managing content.

    then give him a cupcake .

  12. CBK

    If it’s like you mentioned, that it’s a one time thing, and you’ve had a good experience except for this time, it might be a mistake on the cook/bartender/manager’s part, and one mistake isn’t enough to write a negative review about the place. Sure, the owner would jump to defend his establishment (contrary to what would happen in most high end restaurants abroad), but it’s expected from a Lebanese manager. If its a new trend though, I would encourage you to write about it so that the owner realizes he’s losing customers and shapes up, and so that the consumers are warned about it.

  13. Fadi

    All this conundrum over a restaurant review ? really ?
    Here’s a suggestion: Write about your experience, mention all the stuff that you actually like about the place as well (sounds like you go there quite often), and even link to your previous post about the same place. That should give a balanced view of what to expect for people who are planning to go there.
    Besides, seems like you’ve already made your peace with telling the owner what you thought, now it’s just a matter of actually doing what you do, blogging.

    Oh and i think it’s a terrible idea to give the review without naming the place, you might as well not write at all.
    “There’s a restaurant in Lebanon that gave me poor service” – How is that helpful/useful to anyone ?

    Cheers !

    • The idea for the post may have started over whether to write about my experience,,but it grew into something much more than that. As I stated, I really think twice before deciding whether to mention any place specifically in a negative or critical context! Thanks for your suggestion tho..😀😀 Some previous comments suggested that I describe the restaurant without overtly stating the name to protect its image online.😉

  14. Dani you are not alone in feeling that way, being known a lot of the time prevents me from writing more openly about certain brands due to possible conflicts of interest that may occur or because I may know people involved in the businesses personally .

    • I knew you would understand where I’m coming from! And I’m sure that stops you all the time (like me) since the market is really small and everybody knows everybody!😉

  15. Well girl in my opinion anonymous or not you have the right to write what you feel about the restaurant especially that you mentioned you wrote a good review about the resto a while back. So saying something negative isn’t really that bad I mean it could be a good kick on their tush you know what I mean. Every critic should be taken as constructive and never personal. And at least you are being honest with yourself and to those around you, your community, others who might want to try the restaurant, so to me a head’s up would be grand! Also as Fadi mentioned you could write your review and maybe not name it but put some hints here and there so maybe people reading would somehow guess what it is.

    Anywho good luck girl and I wish you overcome this dilemma🙂 XOXO

  16. What I like in this post, is that you tried to get it out from inside without harming the brand/restaurant and keeping your professional way.

    What I didn’t like how the manager was defensive. I think he should read this post.

    The web is a good tool, and only those who know how to respect it, can have their message delivered.

    Keep it up Danielle.

    Cheers

  17. elias

    i think you are discussing the wrong topic. The correct one is why lebanese horeca owners are not open for criticms or feedback ? some feedbacks are subjective such as i did not like the taste of the pain perdue, this can pass. other feedbacks are objective like the meet was not served to the requested “cuisson”

  18. tony E.

    Start a new blog,
    or throw the spicy gory reviews in a “friend’s” blog

  19. Pingback: [Blogging 100] You Want to Start a Blog | Jacqui

  20. Pingback: Being Anonymous « The Rebel

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