Why I broke up with my blog
Who's saying what
I have, as most bloggers do at some stage, decided to abandon my hobby. I’m into the fifth year of my relationship today, but I just stopped altogether at the beginning of this year, with little intention of updating my blog in the near future.
Then it hit me: I have to leave it. My blog has been with me for the most formative years of my adolescence; ushering me into adulthood, celebrating my off-kilter swearing and absolute honesty, but the magic is gone. I started writing a break up letter to my food blog, but then it became exhausting speaking to myself in first, second and third person without sounding like I was rewriting a Phillip. K. Dick novel.
So, I have done the second most clichéd thing in a break up, I've written a list (with blame).
Please note that this was not written on butcher’s paper with permanent marker...
Why things aren’t working between us:
1. I don’t share the same views as you anymore
You represent the younger, immature, obnoxious, foul(er)-mouthed, third-person internet projection of myself. You are holding me back by standing as a record of my less-educated reactions to food, culture, teenage-angst, restaurants, shitty part-time jobs which debased my soul (and perpetuated my teenage-angst), nostalgic recollections of dumpster-diving and political cynicisms.
I’ve always advocated economising language. Twitter has opened up conversation and created a more transparent community. Our tiny little brains are also losing the capacity to concentrate or read anything longer than a sentence, so it has forced everyone to adapt. We're now more capable of good one-liners. Blog comments have dwindled because of Twitter, and let’s face it; discussion and finger pointing is so much more satisfying in a public stream.
3. Instagram/ Insta-spam
Food blogs are like old porn magazines, no one reads the articles because they’re too busy drooling over the images. Instagram has taken this a step furthre by almost altogether doing away with words. Unless you’re Pat Nourse and leave insightful reviews in the comments of your own photos. This is not normal behaviour, but it is welcomed.
4. PR companies
This is evident on food blogs, but I assume it could apply to anything from technology to fashion and what I am talking about here is the freebies. Having product sent to you is one thing, and something you can’t control unless you passively-aggressively write what you really think about inferior product or ignore it altogether, but having organised outings with fellow bloggers with the aim of coverage is tiring. Emails are out there for everyone to use and receive and I know of quite a few people who decline free dinners to maintain integrity. The sad thing about these dinners is that they result in dozens of poorly-written posts (which leads on to my next point) with information lifted straight out of a media release, accompanying photos taken of the same dish from different angles, outlining a very tailored experience: one which a diner of the general public wouldn’t receive. This tactic doesn’t just assume the blogger is naïve and a tool, but is the approach of a lazy PR company. It is an easy sell as the PR company knows the everyday blogger puts a lot of time into something they can’t monetise and offers the blogger a small feeling of relevance in the industry, and in return, they have a footprint to show their client. Certain PR companies do it right by presenting limited opportunities to the right people rather than cattle calls, but they are few and far between. Whether the blogger discloses the freebie is another issue.
5. Poorly written blogs.
I remember the days when I could count all the food blogs on my fingers, but due to the recent oversaturation of food/restaurants/cooking shows in the mainstream media there are probably only a handful of food blogs I would still read (many of the part of the original crew) out of the hundreds that now exist in Melbourne alone. I feel like I am filtering through junk mail, where my entire collection of take out menus are written in bad English and all the photos are inadequately taken with a smart phone. Unfortunately, a crappy take out menu isn’t far from a lot of food blogs where little or no opinion or insight is offered. The photographed items are sometimes incorrectly labelled and despite being out of focus and full of noise, are watermarked. In terms of text, the hashtags at the end of the blog take up more word count than the post itself. There is a lot of talk about the threat of the Internet encroaching on the modern-day journalist, but it’s hard to even find a journalist’s opinion or style of writing you enjoy, let alone someone who has never studied the craft of writing. I’d consider the journalist safe if their opinions are happily published in another medium after the collapse of print.
6. Conflict of interest.
It’s no secret that I work for a restaurant group and was in part hired because of my foul-mouthed Internet presence, but having a review-based blog, I no longer have a place in offering opinion on other restaurants or general dining experiences. Not only have people in other restaurants become better friends, as they are the nightwalkers I drink and rant with about so-and-so making ridiculous requests, but also making judgements on competitors isn’t fair for the reader.
Words can be bought now, and that is exactly what is happening here. I am cheating on you with a publication that has an established voice and a purpose. When I was a child I always dreamed of selling out, so seeing as I have sold out, you could say I am living the dream.
In short, I think we’re over. I can safely say it’s not you, it’s me, but we’ll be better off for it. Maybe we can still be friends.
Image via Shutterstock.