Food blogs are finally in fashion.
After several years of having to explain a) what is a blog and b) why I photograph my meals, it seems that finally, finally, people get it. At least in the UK, anyway.
On Wednesday of this week, the UK Times Online headlined their Food & Drink section with the article The Art of Food Blogging. Far from a quirky personality piece about eccentric foodies, Lynne Robinson delves a little deeper into the sociology of food blogs and why they appeal to readers. It probably helps that Robinson runs her own blog (design blog Tea for Joy) but it's a welcome change to see the importance and relevance of food bogs finally being recognised and appreciated.
It's often been felt that traditional print media and restaurants themselves, have been dismissive of food blogs, reluctant to take them seriously as valid forms of media or capable of social influence. In today's digital age, where Google is any researcher's first port-of-call, businesses that ignore blogs, online forums and social networking tools like facebook and twitter, do so at their own peril.
Robinson reports a latest figure of 33,000 food blogs around the world according to Technorati, the online search engine for blog tracking. That's a lot of people potentially writing about your business--in praise or condemnation--whether you like it or not.
The immediate conversation between writer and reader is intrinsic to the appeal of food blogs, explains Robinson. Personality is also a key factor. The little bits and pieces of bloggers' lives that filter into each post, the insight into their psyche, and the culmination of regular ongoing posts creates a relationship with readers that gradually earns trust and a perception of integrity, priceless attributes when it comes to product endorsement.
Not that food bloggers can be necessarily bought.
Most food bloggers hunch over keyboards, toiling over photo edits, battling with html, responding to comments and dutifully uploading posts for the sheer love of food. There's not much money and few freebies. Often the most one can hope for is a comment from a reader, and perhaps a strange sense of validation if mentioned by mass media outlets.
Yes food bloggers can be a little bit obsessive. Yes they may stab you with a fork if you don't wait for the obligatory food photo. And yes, they do love their food. Wholehearted and unashamedly so.
And because the Times Online seems to have an obsession with lists lately, Robinson has included her list of 50 of the World's Best Food Blogs. It's a commendably comprehensive collection that includes many long-serving food blogs that I've come to know over the years. Even better, it features two Sydney food blogs: Souvlaki for the Soul lands at a very applaudable number 23; Grab Your Fork happily scrapes in at number 48.
Long live food blogs. We're here to stay.
NB. Follow grabyourfork on Twitter here
Related GrabYourFork posts:
What restauranteurs thought about foodblogs and the internet at Restaurant 07
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2/20/2009 12:43:00 am