Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Essence of Food Blogging - Discovering and Sharing, Not Bragging Rights

There are all kinds of reasons why people blog, especially about food.

Just this week, one Singaporean blogger put up a post on the cost of blogging to perpetuate the reasoning that there is no such thing as a free meal.

And that has led me thinking, have we as a nation become so pedantic as to put a cost to everything?

Let me take a couple of steps back.

I said that there are many reasons why food bloggers do what we do, and there are all sorts of food bloggers as well.

There are those who literally make a living out of doing this. To these bloggers, I don't begrudge them for using social media as a means of income. Especially if they are wildly popular and have great advertising potential. I just tend to read their posts with a tinge of cynicism.

Then there are bloggers who use it as a means to publicize other areas which they are in. Even F&B establishments come up with blogs to promote their business. This is just commerce, and blogging is just another form of marketing.

But the most common category of bloggers are simply folks who have read other blogs and people who love to take pictures of the food they eat. They are the ones that started out posting on Facebook and Instagram, and decide that they can go the next step by going into blogging.

Unfortunately, most of these never last. I often come across blogs that only has less than 5 posts before they disappear into the social media wilderness. The fact of the matter is that it is not easy to maintain a blog.

JK was just telling me, whenever he makes a trip to JB, there is a vested loss of monies due to the expenses that will inevitably be incurred there. But that is also the thing.

He does not see it as a loss. For him, it is the passion that drives him to seek out eateries and tell the stories of the people behind them. This is something that is immeasurable and cannot be perceived in monetary terms.

There are times when we have media invites where the food is complimentary. Yes, we do feel compelled to write positively. At the same time, if it was a truly bad experience, I think we will never write about it. At least, those who uphold a certain integrity will not do so.

Other times, we go into a place with every intention to pay for our food, but the owners will end up refusing our money. It is not just because we are armed with DSLRs and blogger reputations, but because we form a genuine bond with the owners after talking to them and it is just genuine generosity on their part.

It is ultimately this bond between customers and owners that mean so much more. Not every blogger does that it seems. Talk, learn and bond. Some bloggers' main aim is to chalk up as many places as they can.

Some even go to the extent of wanting to do "scoops" like newspaper tabloids. Some will even refuse to visit places simply because their peers have been there first. This idea of exclusivity has become an obsession of sorts.

To such bloggers, I hope it dawns on them that blogging is not about us bloggers. We do this because we want to share a personal view of food that we have discovered and simply want to share with the greater masses.

It may be naive of me, but I always feel we are doing a little community service for those that cannot afford agencies to help them market their food. We are their little windows to the culinary world.

At the same time, bloggers should not spend time lambasting food and outlets that they dislike. And that applies to Facebook posts and other social media platforms too.

Whether we like or dislike a place, it is never a nice thing to criticize a stall or eatery in public. They may be rude, or provide bad service yet we can always vent over coffee without going online. Negative vitriol for the sake of controversy or sensationalism is just so wrong in my book. 

There might be underlying reasons why the food or service is bad on a given day, but we should not be making assumptions without having the ability to fully comprehend. As Singaporeans, we are often quick to criticize yet slow to praise.

One notable foodie has the sensible notion to always eat 3 times at a place before making a judgement. Whilst we may not always have that luxury, we can at least choose not to write things we find disagreeable, and focus on the good that we can do instead.

After all, what gets written will end up being read somewhere, somehow. I personally do not think bloggers should end up damaging or worse, causing the end of a small hawker simply because we had one bad experience there.

Food blogs are meant to be personal, not serious food reviews. We do talk about the food, but it is always from one person's personal experience. That is the reason why I never put up ratings, for I find ratings redundant if you can read what I have to say in detail.

For me food blogging is unique to every blogger because everyone of us is different. Each of us has a different palate and a different perspective of life.

There is so much good food and simply so much good to write about. And life is short. Spend your time being positive, and being less calculative.

Discover and share. The good stuff.

5 comments:

  1. Thanks Ian for sharing your thoughts. As a still new blogger, I learnt lots from you about food and blogging.

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  2. haha JK, u not new lah ... u oredi more seasoned than me, its me who has greatly been inspired by our trip to JB recently and looking to be further inspired in the near future :)

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  3. Seriously, meeting bloggers and passionate foodies like yourself and others makes me feel very fortunate and humbled. Lots to learn! I am happy :D Thanks for the ride buddy.

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  4. I don't think Daniel Food Diary is bragging lah. A few people have complained to me about that post but I always defend him. I know him as a person and he's really passionate about food. He really puts in a lot of time and effort for a write up.

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  5. the title was not meant to single out any individual. i hv no doubt that he is passionate about his blog and the efforts he puts into it. its tat sometimes, we do this without any need of acknowledgement, jus like we do charity without any form of reward. we do this mostly becoz we enjoy it, and that should be gratification on its own. but reread my piece and u may realize my point is more on being more socially responsible with what we write, especially those that has a greater degree of influence within the community. :)

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