From the Editor: About Thursday's Patch Picks

How an article about stylists generated angry mail, and how I plan to address it in the future.

See the bottom of the article for a top-five list based on readers' suggestions.

I’ve been doing this job for just under a year now, and I got more angry responses yesterday than in all the months combined since the site launched last July.

Clearly, I underestimated how much my readers care about their hair stylists.

Some of you called my Patch Picks column “pathetic.” One reader said I “slighted” some of the stylists I didn’t specifically mention, and several of you expressed exasperation at my inclusion of the detail that one stylist helped a local business owner clear a virus off of her computer.

Allow me to explain what happened.

I often ask readers for suggestions for Patch Picks. Usually, that request goes partially—if not completely—unheard.

Several weeks ago, I had to scrap my planned Patch Picks column because not one reader responded to my request for input.

In this case, I received . I knew that the request article had gotten a lot of attention, but I didn’t realize until I sat down to write the Patch Picks column Thursday that those responses were approaching triple digits.

That was at 1 p.m. Due to a pending Patch meeting in Boston and my 3 p.m. deadline, I had about 30 minutes to write the column—which is usually more time than I need.

It was not, however, enough time to tabulate all the responses in a scientific manner.

Some of you suggested that I didn’t read the entire thread, but I did. At the time, there were 90 responses, and I read each of them.

Knowing that I didn’t have the time to properly tabulate the votes, I instead looked for the comments with the most color. While not strictly hair related, I thought that the computer virus anecdote was colorful and, in the short timeline, worthy of note.

So, I apologize to each of you who thought that Thursday’s Patch Picks column gave short shrift to your favorite stylist. That was not my intent. My intent was to write a quick, light, fun article that touched on your responses.

In the future, I will list a deadline on my requests for input so that you know when I will stop accepting responses. I will also aim to sit down to this particular task when I have more time available.

I have heard your complaints. I apologize for not properly addressing your outpouring of support for local stylists, and please, continue to participate. Reading Patch works better when more people contribute to it.

I should be so lucky as to get this much participation from my readers each week.

Thank you,

Matt Casey
Reading Patch

Top Five Stylists in Reading (according to Reading Patch readers):

  1. Amy at Lumina Salon
  2. Stephanie at Em-Belle-Ish
  3. Ramonits at Lumina
  4. Jen at Em-Belle-Ish
  5. Tara at Em-Belle-ish

Order based on comments including only one stylist received by 8 a.m. Friday.

M June 03, 2011 at 02:42 PM
Matt, your Patch picks column was fine and I enjoyed your anecdote. This is a local website with an informal story, for heaven's sake, and it was clear that to get the inside scoop on why a stylist is so great, one ought to read the comments. That was the point of your story, I thought, to give all those who love their hair & stylist a place to spread the news. The Em-Belle-ish and Lumina cheerleading squad needs to lighten up. I noticed that the Em-Belle-ish facebook page yesterday included an exhortation, with link, for followers (of which I am not) to go to Patch and suggest their favorite Em-Belle-Ish stylists, so that "might" (maybe) explain the many responses you got touting that particular salon. They made their fans aware of a place to further publicize/brag about their services, which is precisely the point of a facebook page. These fans might not have been aware of Patch's question yesterday, but for the facebook posting --hence the "anger" at your story! The corollary to this is, of course, that other fans of other salons, whose salons were not advising them of this story, also would not have known to post.
Amy June 03, 2011 at 02:52 PM
Matt, I work at Laschi Hairstylists and Day Spa. I must have missed the day to vote or comment, and so did all of our loyal clientele. I think the Patch and you are doing a great job. Why did people get so mad? We are not mentioned, but that's ok. Who knew people got so angry!! Great job and I am a dedicated Patch follower. Amy Stylist / Co manager Laschi Hairstylist & Day Spa
peter lucci June 04, 2011 at 02:30 AM
wow, censorship by AOL when they don't like when a "regular blogger" who happens to be a self promoting advertiser gets exposed....very sad.
John Carpenter June 04, 2011 at 01:58 PM
People need to understand the difference between a casual request for comments (like the Patch request), and an in-depth Consumer Reports-style analysis. One of those would be interesting, too, but would be time consuming to prepare. One interesting thing about the hair stylist question, was that it brought out the loyalty that some people have for their stylists. It also pointed out that some salons have good communication networks with their customers. Maybe the woman who posted the inquiry about social networking would be able to explain it. For my hair, in case anyone was curious, I go to Mr. Glenn. jc
Priscilla nix June 04, 2011 at 07:37 PM
Matt, you owe nobody an apology.. Keep doing the amazing job that you do!! Actually, you may have inadvertently revved up your readership!!! Patch is open to commentary and some smart marketers took advantage of the forum. Keep up the great work. Priscilla from Georgia ( a Hollingsworth supporter)
Karl Weld June 05, 2011 at 04:01 AM
If you feel this strongly about Erin's participation here on Patch, at least have the stones to use your full name. It's easy to be hyper-critical when no one knows who you are "Peter".
Brenda June 07, 2011 at 12:09 AM
Matt You do a great job, day in and day out. I'm sorry you felt it was necessary to write a follow up apology article.


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