Saturday, February 01, 2014

Is food blogging dead?

This question has probably been asked countless times before so excuse my lateness to the party and those seeking evidence that I am not one of the worlds great noticers need look no further than my query.
All that aside, it does appear that many of the food blogging alumni whom must take credit for piquing my interest in the craft, back in 1996, have all but fallen off the perch or in the very least post about as frequently as Scott Morrison gives us arrival updates or Tony Abbott praises our ABC.
Many of these bloggers had been blogging for quite a few years already and through their observations, writing, wit and taste for the iconoclast, I, like many others sought their alternative views on what had become a fairly stifled and beige reportage of current food trends, reviews and profiles.
This is not to say I don’t admire much from the scribing of printed food-journalists but an emerging edgy counterpoint to balance their sanctioned and paid for opinions, bought a fresh dynamism to the genre and we’re all better for it too imo.
Before the food bloggers splintered into factions, fizzled, became a Catherine Wheel caricature of themselves or lap-dogs for PR there were a disparate group of people I identified with who bought an interesting perspective to this emerging oeuvre.
I suppose for me its parabola arrived at the first ever food bloggers conference, EAT DRINK BLOG event held in Melbourne in 2010.
It was here I got to meet people from my own tribe, people with whom I shared a common thread. They were a disparate mob and because of this I suspect collectively they shone a lot of light into a dark space very quickly. This kind of energy is not without consequence and sadly I think it could never be sustained long-term with the intensity required and so, we are now here.
I must also mention that in 1996, there was a lone but prolific Tasmanian food blogger, The Hobart Restaurant Bitch, who’s pithy and at times snarky style I enjoyed and who inspired another Tasmanian, Helen Ellis, to start her own blog, Rita’s Bite, which still continues albeit infrequently, to date the HRB site hasn’t been updated since 2011.
I won’t name everyone at the conference for fear of missing somebody out, you know who you are, galvanised by a last hoorah in that tiny Sth Melbourne bar when nothing else was open.
After this, we all went our separate ways, some stopped blogging altogether, others still limp along and yet some continue to thrive.
What passes for food blogging these days is a foreign to me as another language. In fact, I question whether I identify as a food blogger at all, certainly not by recent standards.
2010 was a time when the term didn’t sound quite so trite.
Initially, the conduit to interaction with peers was through blogs but the baton changed when Twitter arrived. Established bonds and friendships forged by blogging have morphed into twitter followers and succinct conversations. Whilst I have a love/hate relationship with Twitter (we were separated for a time) it has enabled me to stay connected. On the other side of the ledger though, I lament the passing of some really engaging articles penned by some sharp, observant and very witty people.

All things must come to an end I spose?


Rita said...

Once again, a great and thought-provoking post. I too have pondered the state of food blogging occasionally, and have to admit to rarely seeking food blogs out as actively as I used to. I'm not quite sure why, and I suppose everyone has different reasons for starting a food blog, but in my case my health which in turn led to my enforced 'imprisonment' at home for a few years and being unable to eat, made for a distinct lack of writing material over the last few years, hence food blogging being out of vogue for me personally!
I feel many of the hipper, trendier food bloggers of the past maybe did it for the attention-seeking thrill, and keeping up with some perceived 'in' crowd. That's not to say I didn't enjoy reading their blogs, but they didn't really fill me with a lot of enthusiasm to go out of my way to visit any of the restaurants they wrote about.
Personally, I have turned to Facebook as I find it easier to whip up the odd paragraph or two, as opposed to a lengthy review of somewhere. Without my having done anything much to promote my Rita's Bite Facebook page, it has slowly gained momentum and daily attracts more followers. As many people are avid Facebook followers, it is a lazy way of blogging for me now.
I will occasionally return to the blogging arena, but only if I feel particularly verbose about something!
I DO miss my informal banter on the blog though, with such luminaries as good old faithful Sir Grumpy, HRV (Hobart Restaurant Veteran) and Cartouche, to name but a few. Also miss my closeness with your good self (at that time known in the blogging community as The Gobbler), and remember well our first face to face meeting, after having read your blog for a few months. I truly felt I knew you well after having been exposed to your deepest thoughts on the blog, so found it easy to approach you as if I was your best friend! The flashes of your varying emotions on your face were a wonder to behold! First, perplexedness, then, as I explained I was a blog fan, enlightenment, then as I introduced myself as Rita, the sheer delight on your face!
Heady days indeed!

Michael said...

As a side note, that Sth Melbourne bar has now since moved into the city. It's got the same crap on the walls, just a different venue.

steve said...

nice response Helen. your legion of followers await your return. perhaps you took the baton from the HRB? Maybe its time you passed it on to the tripping clowns? hobart needs, deserves, must have, an impartial dissident voice of least until we can corrupt them anyways! ha ha!

G'day Michael-lovely to hear from you + nice to know you still read my blog-my stats are so low these days I can work out my readers now by name alone! Mate if you can remember that bar you were a) not there or b) not going hard enough.
the only reason i remember it is I had a tattoo of it on my forehead that night-ROCK'N ROLL!

Zoe said...

I can remember that bar because Matt took aicture of me and Tresna in the toilet with him, since disappeared from the flickr feed, thankfully!

steve said...


Andrew said...

mmm...tasty baton. Oh, you mean I wasn't supposed to eat it?

Just stumbled across your blog Steve. At the risk of sounding like a fan boy, it's writing like yours that reminds how much of a beginner I really am.

I'll be following your musings with great interest.

steve said...

Hi Andrew + welcome. Thanks for reading and your kinds words. I've been reading your posts with great interest too + welcome more independent food/resto reportage and opinion in Tassie. Cheers Steve