Scrolling my Facebook feed, a post caught my eye from an Animal Rights Activist I really admire. In the midst of political chaos and discontentment, it was a nice change of topic – food photos! Of course I stopped to read the post that was somewhat innocently venting about how annoying it is when food bloggers post a million different angles of the same food which requires endless scrolling to get to the recipe. Normally complaints of this nature come from folks who don’t actually create anything, in every case, it’s easy to be a critic from the sidelines but the original post came from someone who does create a lot of free content, it was a little surprising. I really dislike the style artwork of their content and find myself not sharing the good messages they contain because of it but it’s what they want to create, who am I to say they should do something different especially when I’m just grateful it exists in the world for others to see the message? Plenty of other folks share it, so my opinion isn’t the be all end all.
What ensued was a long list of comments in support of being anti- too many photos but even more so, anti- the commentary that often proceeds recipes. I really don’t personally care, I don’t consider myself a food blogger or even a serious blogger at all, relatively speaking. Blogging today is serious business and I can’t be bothered with the seriousness of it at this point of my life. Needless to say, my feelings weren’t hurt, it wasn’t even about me but a well-known and successful food blogger, still I found myself really, really annoyed. Partly because I DO have legitimate food blogging friends from which they make a living, obtain other opportunities, or in many cases for activism purposes providing useful content entirely for free and I know how much time, effort, and money they put into it inevitably with such little thanks. Very often with many complaints – how dare they use sugar or empty carbs!
I found myself most annoyed at the fact people feel slightly inconvenienced at others creativity and creations. Yes, there is an art to editing down your photos, but I haven’t come across many blogs that are doing a massive photo dump. Yes, there can be some strategy involved where adding text can boost SEO and adding photos can add more sidebar space for ads. But this is their art form, their creative outlet, and maybe they are trying to get it to be more than an unpaid hobby, or just to cover the expense of hosting a blog, but folks want people to churn out recipes like robots – how absurd is it for a food blogger to also want to write a little story, right? Now people have to scroll! Here’s the thing, maybe their blog ain’t about us? Maybe, just maybe! They do it for themselves and do it in a way they enjoy.
This isn’t the only complaint that triggered an entire post, I’ve seen many. I’ve seen comments that say “stick to food” when a food blogger posts the lone nature shot. I’ve seen popular food bloggers threatened with unfollows if they dare talk about anything but food, and God forbid anything semi-political. Like the nerve of a popular vegan food blogger talking about why it’s beneficial to everyone that we are vegan (not just eating vegan). We really need more vegan food bloggers like that even if you get this guy talking about your recipe post on Reddit. It took all I had not to respond and explain the fact that a non-vegan only wanting to come for the vegan recipe and not learn anything more is *exactly* why vegan food bloggers need to speak more of this world-saving, I mean vegan “agenda”. Major thanks to the person who did share my recipe on Reddit with good intentions!
We really like to enjoy putting people in a box and keeping people one dimensional. If we learn of someone as a food blogger than as a food blogger they must only remain! Unless they post 4 pictures instead of 3 or write two paragraphs instead of one then they are out of here. In a world where people are so dang self-deprecating and paralyzed from putting themselves out there, if you have an interest, go for it and go hard. You don’t owe anyone free recipes dangling in front of their face, void of your own personalizations. My only comment in response to the Facebook post was “I write commentary because I want to write and don’t want to be limited to what I am allowed to create.” I like to write, not particularly well, but I like to put a lot of words together, I find it really satisfying and my life is better when I do. I will not limit those words to save someone from scrolling. Of course I don’t do it to be annoying, not at all.
The thing is, I prefer the blogs that write stories with their recipes, I prefer many photos. I rarely am happy with multiple photos I take of one subject but I post a few, if I have them, because I prefer to have photos break up a lot of text. For every person that hates a particular style is someone that loves it. I think we really just need to stop making other people’s creative outlets about us and let them do their thing. We currently have a U.S. Government that is trying to take away funding of the arts, let’s encourage folks to create what they want to create how they want to create it while we still can. If you want recipes with very little commentary and one photo max, there are cookbooks for that. No scrolling necessary.
Today I saw this quote posted by Kim-Julie Hansen (you may know her as @brusselsvegan on Instagram and also the brains behind @Bestofvegan)
“No matter who you are, no matter what you do, no matter who your audience is: 30 percent will love it, 30 percent will hate it, and 30 percent won’t care. Stick with the people who love you and don’t spend a single second on the rest. Life will be better that way.” – James Altucher
Definitely something to keep in mind as we create anything or even just exist in the world. Of course being mindful about not doing anything at someone’s expense and being truthful to ourselves is important, but in general, this is a great rule of thumb. We just need to make sure we are enjoying the process.