Wednesday, November 29, 2006

[content] an Amateur on 'How to Food Blog'

Will you, or won't you agree with Adam's take on "More Blogging Advice"? Does he make points that make you feel umcomfortable, or is he simply airing publicly what you have been secretly thinking all along?

Agree or disagree, have your say here or continue the conversation over at Adam's blog.

This Post was written by "Cheeky & Charming"


cookiecrumb said...

I'm thinkin', I'm thinkin'.
I only agree with some of his tripe.
(Ooh, boy, that was not specific, eh?)
Put another way. Who does HE think he is?
Or, who does he think he IS?
I know who I think I am.

Unknown said...

I think, too, that some of his points are good.

It's just the way they were made that sort of annoys me.

What ever happened to tact and manners.

Maybe I'm just kind of old school

Anonymous said...

I've never read Amateur Gourmet before ... that post doesn't really make me want to go back. The way I figure it, live and let live. If someone wants to write the blog they're writing, why should anyone call them out on it? But what do I know ... I'm not nearly as popular as he and certainly not any kind of gourmet.

Unknown said...

Well, I can see what he means by wanting to get to know the blogger a bit, so Iiked that idea. Also, he put in a plug for substantive posts, and I certainly agree there.

Overall I've see a lot of very intelligent commentary among bloggers so I am not certain to whom he refers.

My father always said you catch more flies with honey...

Dolores said...

I think he's got a point.

The blogs I return to are the ones that draw me in, sharing something of the writers behind them and the reason that food means something to THEM.

I think he rather beats that point to death.

The way I see it, be who you are. You'll draw a readership who appreciates you for just that.

Jeanne said...

Tricky one.

I think he makes some good points, but I think the way he makes them rubs a lot of people up the wrong way, so they say "oh he's talking trash" and disregard the rest - kinda throwing out the baby with the bath water!

On the one hand, I like his honesty. He didn't start out saying "oooh, I'm only writing for me". Who are we kidding - anybody who is ONLY writing for themselves will do so in a Word document or a paper journal. The very fact that we blog means we have some aspirations of having an audience, however small. He is open about that, and he is happy to tell you how he promoted himself (the Janet Jackson breast cupcake, for one!). Some of what he said still holds true - if you can get a topical post up that gets people talking beyond the food-blogging world, chances are you will increase your audience very rapidly - but only if there is good material to keep them coming back.

I also like his point about wanting to know something about the author. When I go to a new blog and see something along the lines of "I'm just a guy who likes to eat and here are my thoughts", with no context in terms of where they are, what they do or any kind of distinguishing feature, my heart just sinks and I move off elsewhere. I don't think a photo is necessary, but please please, give me a little bit more about yourself than what you had for dinner!

I don't think I agree with his harsh view on blog design. I originally fell in love with blogs that had very little by way of design, but a lot of personality. Yes, I love photos and food porn, and I deeply envy some people's site designs, but I don't think a flash design is necessary to make a name for yourself.

Of course, like many debates, how you view Adam's post comes down to a fundamental question: are you blogging as a hobby, to have fun and to meet people; or are you blogging in the hope of building a brand for yourself and hopefully moving on to paid work from there? Both are perfectly valid reasons, but how you answer that question forms the philosophical underpinnings that will determine how you view Adam's post. If you are blogging for fun, you will probably be slightly (or very!) offended; but if you are blogging for commercial results (however cynical that may sound), Adam has a lot of sound advice.

nika said...

have not read it yet but I just wanna say that putting flash on a blog is like putting silk knickers on a sow.. just a bit much. Flash is so.. 96. Blogs are about accessibility and communication (as well as some eye candy but food is still primary). And I used to do Flash design, figure that huh.

Scott at Real Epicurean said...

It all seems reasonable enough. Sure, it's arrogant, but I think it's done in a stylistic enough way.

I'll have to read more of his stuff before I can make up my mind fully, but at the moment I'm not offended.

MizD said...

I rather like what Owen said in Adam's comments -- The beauty of blogging is that it is NOT one size fits all -- because, honestly, didn't we go through all of this during the Great Cheese Sandwich Controversy of 2006? There's no need for more lessons from on high about the right way to blog and the wrong way to blog. It all comes down to what each one of us wants out of what we write and what we read.

Adding to that:

1) Niche blogging is seriously overrated. If a blogger's got enough personality they can blog about anything they damn well please and still keep an audience.

2) Scolding a blogger for using a generic template when they might a) not have the money to hire a designer and b) not have the time to learn design themselves, is just plain rude.


3) Nika, you crack me up. I still (on rare occasion) have web clients who ask me for blinky things. Gah. Talk about so '96!!

Anonymous said...

I don't want to put words in Adam's mouth (he's already pretty good at that) but I think what he was writing were his opinions and they were probably in response to the emails that many of us have gotten, "I like your blog. What can I do to make my blog better?"

I know I get a certain amount of those and instead of being 'direct' and criticize, sometimes it's better just to do a general-interest post like he did.

Plus, these are his opinions. I don't agree with all of them. For example, Heidi and Clotilde have done pretty well without their pics on their site. Then again, if you 're looking to attract people who have a thing for nice Jewish boys, then a picture may be appropriate.

But just like some people don't like nuts in their brownies (those weirdos), and some do (the smart, in-crowd), that doesn't mean that you need to add nuts to your brownies just because someone thinks you should. It's merely a suggestion.

That said, I think his comments were intended for people who wanted to improve their blogs. I recall a thread here a while ago with someone inquiring about how to improve their writing. Some of the responses offered suggestions, including mine, while others just felt that you should write however you want. Both are valid responses, but if you're looking to improve your blog (or your writing, or your brownies) and you ask for suggestions, you have to be willing to look at a variety of answers.

Which is why I never ask...I don't want to know what I'm doing wrong...

kitchenmage said...

David, if I do want to attract people who have a thing for nice Jewish boys, may I use your picture? laughs You're so much cuter than Adam and I'm not a nice Jewish boy. (oh my, I wrote "Jewish oy"--which would be incorrect because I may be that.)

I've got two issues with the picture of myself. Maybe three. First, my blog is about food, not me. Second, I'm the only photographer around my house and I DON'T want one of those coy "me with a camera in front of my face" pictures. Last, I also write on technology, including security, and I'm always telling people to be careful about what they post online (like pictures) so it would be sort of ignoring myself to do it.

If someone wants to come over and help me set up wonderful action shots of my hands (hey, hey! not those kind of action shots! *kitchen* action shots) I'd reconsider.

Cate said...

I don't think a lot of what Adam was saying was directed at bloggers necessarily, but rather seemed like he was answering a bunch of questions that people have been posing. Sure, it could have been toned down a bit, but if that's the way he writes generally (not a regular reader, so don't know), then if it was toned down, it might not ring as true, you know?

Not to say I agreed with everything he said, I don't, but he made some good points and what he wrote were his opinions.

Nika - I'm with Mrs. D - you crack me up. :)

kitchenmage said...

Nothing says "I just got my first web site" like a blink tag!

Maybe I'll put up a blinking picture of a cat in my profile; maybe a cat I stole from BT. grin