The Contrived World of Blogging

I like food. I like writing. I like a laugh. I like my family. There we have it; my sole credentials and manifesto on starting up a blog are right there in four short sentences. A long standing pipe dream of writing about elements of life that I enjoy, imagined and realised one afternoon on nothing more than a whim.

Is that enough to sustain a blog in a modern world of immediate information, social media & short attention spans? I like writing about food, but does anyone still read 1,000 word review blogs of places they might never visit when they can go to Buzzfeed and find a bullet-pointed article about the food they must try, in any particular city, right now. Like RIGHT now! Immediately! (Buzzfeed is very big on immediacy).

Similarly, I enjoy eating food. A lot. My expanding waistline and bonafide dad-bod is testament to that. As such, when a smartly dressed waiter brings my food over – food that I have fawned over ever since the menu left my mitts – I want to eat it. The last thing on my mind is to find the dish’s best side, ensuring I showcase all the ingredients, make sure the better half’s arm is not in the background and take a bloody picture of it! Not forgetting the obligatory Instagram filter of course.

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest – all geared to deal with the immediacies of life. A picture that says; ‘Look what I am eating world, it tastes great!’. Except, nobody has sodding eaten anything yet! Apart from taking a picture of my half eaten mouthful, I don’t think I can become any more immediate. Maybe that’s the way the world is going, an Instagram account of wide open mouths full of half eaten steak, captioned with ‘OMFG!!!’ or ‘YOLO!!!’ and filtered obligatorily so as to leave out all the nasty saliva – we don’t want to be too vulgar now!

But here’s the major problem; I have to admit to some hypocrisy. In my short time blogging in what is, let’s be honest, an over-saturated market, I have felt obliged to follow the crowd in order to get my blog noticed. Did someone say Baa?! A Twitter post about nothing in particular, a picture posted on Facebook with, at best, a tenuous link to my blog or a tweet to that company who you hope against hope might re-tweet it. Shameless. Maybe it’s because I’m not too good at self-promotion or maybe it’s because I find it all too contrived but nobody tells you why and how to do things when you start up on a whim, so the learning curve has been a steep one.

My epiphany however, came this weekend as I tried to take some images of the stalls at Wentworth Woodhouse Food & Craft Fair. As I tried to get a shot of some details of one of the stalls, my little daughter ran into shot in order to have a silly photo taken. And I did something I am not proud of; I asked her to move out of the way – a little girl who was only trying to enjoy a jovial segment of interaction with her dad.

That isn’t me. I’m a grumpy cynic and a throwback to simpler times in many respects, but I’m not usually an arsehole (no comments please Mrs Hangry!). So, from now on I vouch never to steer into that darkened, manipulative corner of blogging again. I’m going to enjoy my food if I want to without fear of photography (and you’ll just have to read about it instead). I’ll blog about things that I enjoy and ignore the crap stuff (a wise man, namely Jay Rayner, once said that if something isn’t memorable it probably isn’t worth writing about anyway). And lastly, I’m going to go home tonight and play Hello Kitty board games with my daughter, as I know that is something she will love!

I’ll keep the Instagram filters though. I like those. 🙂

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