Tuesday, 7 May 2013

How has blogging changed: reflections on my blog and my fellow bloggers

Blogging means sharing food.
A common topic of discussion with fellow bloggers is the changes to the blogosphere since I started blogging.  After celebrating my 6 year blogging anniversary last week, I have had a spate of navel gaxing posts.  Today I wanted to continue a little self-indulgence with my reflections on changes to my blog and fellow bloggers. 

Blogging means enjoying an interesting journey.
Changes to the blogosphere:
When I first started blogging, there were lots of blogs that were of the what-I-ate-for-dinner-with-a-blurred-photo variety.  I barely knew what I was doing.  It took me a while even to find out how to take close up photos.  These days many blogs seem to start with a glossy design, high quality photos and ambitions to be a success.  Perhaps this is a result of so much information about blogging.  Or maybe they are just the new bloggers with the higher profiles.

Changes to technology:
When I first started blogging, I remember tossing up whether to use Blogger or Wordpress.  I can't remember why I chose Blogger but I am still using this platform.  Sometimes I think Wordpress might have a cleaner look but I really like how Google continues to develop Blogger, even if I don't agree with all the changes.  Back when I started, the options for the side bar were far more limited and so were the design options.  Back then, no one who hosted blog events use the Linky tools. 

Blogging means you never have enough time in the day.
The rise of social media:
One of the biggest changes to blogging has been the rise of social media.  Back when I began blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Eat Your Books were unknown.  Now they have made a huge impact on blogging.  It is not enough to enjoy reading a blog these days - even if Google Reader is closing so you need to find another feed reader for the RSS feeds.  Nowadays you can follow many blog on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest.  You might say that old bloggers never retire, they just are found on Facebook.

Changes to my blog:
I started my blog with intentions of merely sharing recipes but not my life.  Six years later I still like to write down my recipes but this blog is more than a large index of many vegetarian, vegan and gluten free recipes.  I now also write about places I have eaten and travelled (though I don't as a rule accept freebies and advertisements).  I have also created an excellent resource of nut roast recipes, discovered an interest in food history. and shared more of my life than I ever expected. 

Blogging means sharing old family favourite recipes
(this is the chocolate pudding that I loved as a child).
A large and gradual change is that I am less wary of revealing some of my life online.  And so my blog reflects my life far more than I had ever planned.  One other change is how death and birth have been reflected on the blog.  It has become a memorial and a celebration of a childhood Update: and I forgot to say that the blog is a place to record some of the craft that we do.

Lately the blog seems to have been recording some of the places we have enjoyed.  In fact I might be so bold as to claim that it is not just a food blog any more but also gives an insight into my Melbourne.  This is assisted by better photos that capture some of the sights around me.

However, I am still wary about sharing too much of my life.  I still resist sharing photos of myself and the faces of those closest to me.  But I am opening up in other ways.  I now share my cookbooks, my bookmarked recipes and even recently have started a page of recipe planning.

Another big change on my blog is the photos.  At first I was stingy with photos and struggled to find the close up button.  Then I found that bigger photos looked better, I collected more food props, our kitchen space improved for photos, I bought a DSLR camera and now I just like putting is esoteric photos that record our day and not just our food.  In line with better photos, I have made quite a few improvements to the blog design.

Blogging means lots of photos at a fancy meal.
Changes to other bloggers:
It is fascinating to look around at other bloggers who I have followed since around the start of my blog and see all the changes in their blogs.  Some have become more professional, learn to take better photographs, accept advertisements, hold giveaways or promote products.  Many but not all now post with less regularity than when they first started.  Best of all, they still continue to delight me with their recipes as well as sharing some of their life.

Most of us have had many life changes: travels, babies, illness, deaths, marathons, graduations.  There have been celebration cakes and cleansing detoxes.  Many post round ups of ideas for traditional feasts because we all have such amazing archives of recipes.  Some fellow bloggers have had dietary changes that influence what recipes they post.  Katie and K have been diagnosed as coeliac.  Ricki has embraced an Anti Candida Diet.  Lisa has found her wheat allergy has abated since her pregnancy.

With all the fantastic recipes being published, it is not surprise that many of these bloggers are becoming published authors.  Ricki has self-published a cookbook and many e-books, and she now has a cookbook soon to be published by a commercial publisher.  Lorraine has just had a book published  about her journey as a blogger.  Anh is writing a commercial cookbook with a fellow blogger from another country, Lucy and Kathryn publish a cooking e-magazine. Kathryn also writes a column for Readers Digest and Jac writes regularly for Baby Centre.

Blogging means more colourful food.
Many of the bloggers whom I knew from the start of my blog are now hosting blog events.  Susan started My Legume Love Affair and Black and White Wednesday.  Lisa and Jac co-host No Croutons Required.  Jac has resurrected two events: Bookmarked Recipes and Pasta Please.  And Jac also started the Food Blog Diary to keep track of blog events.

There are so many contributions and achievements by bloggers.  I have only focused on a few that I met at the beginning but there are many more great stories of those I have met since.  If only we had the time.  But I can tell you that I am lucky to have met bloggers at potlucks or just for a meal, to have exchanged emails, comments and parcels, and to have found friendship and support in this community.   And if I ever need to think about where to eat in Melbourne, I can consult the amazing list of reviews by Cindy and Michael.

As an aside:
This is the last of my self indulgent blog anniversary posts.  I have lots of recipes to share and will be posting some soon.  However my internet has been slow for the last week or so and will be for a few more days so it is all slow going here.  

20 comments:

  1. Nice look-back, Johanna. I haven't been blogging as long as you but the same trends have emerged here: still a focus on recipes but more on my life too (I suppose one can only say so much about food), moving to whole food eats and well, I just can't put enough determination to become a professional blogger. I have been fascinated by the cookbook goal when I do not feel like it is a financial win.

    This was a recent post by Joy that was interesting: http://bring-joy.com/2013/05/03/why-blogging-is-bad-for-business-but-good-for-people/

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    1. Thanks Janet - the article on the cookbook goal is a great read - people have suggested a cookbook to me but I don't feel I have a new angle. I do sometimes think about making a file with my favourite cookbook recipes that might then morph into an ebook but finding time is not a priority.

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  2. I think you've summed it up perfectly, Johanna. So many changes--and so many of us have followed the same path! It's interesting to read along as people's lives and diets change. I don't find this navel-gazing at all--it's fascinating to me! And I read Joy's post that Janet mentions here--a great read, too. :)

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    1. Thanks Ricki - looking back filled me with admiration of how many I know have developed - not everyone has their heart set on a food career but long term bloggers seem to find a niche - and yes loved Joy's post

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  3. I agree with everything you said. its amazing to look back over your (and my) blog and see the changes. Also, the changes to the blogging world as a whole. When we both started, blogging was still fairly unknown and now most people I talk to have a blog of some kind.
    I love your blog and your openness and family recipes. Long may you continue :)

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    1. Thanks Katie - I don't know lots of others with blogs but I think that now so many larger organisations have blogs that the whole meaning of blogs seems to have changed. Thanks for your kind words!

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  4. I completely agree!! Particularly the rise of social media!!!

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    1. Thanks Lisa - I am wary of social media but I am also fascinated by it

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  5. I can identify with a lot of your reflections. I think what is most striking to me is the diverging purposes of blogs now - plenty of them are as glossy as a food magazine, many cross over into people's professional lives, some are clearly money-making or promotional ventures, and a lot of bloggers connect socially with people in the food industry, while others remain determinedly amateur.

    I catch myself questioning more frequently what our blog's niche is, making comparisons but trying to avoid any sense of competition or obligation or fear of missing out. That there are so many of us projecting such a variety of perspectives is really quite fabulous.

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    1. Thanks Cindy - I find it interesting that there are so many people making money and careers out of blogs and then you find some that are so proud to be ad free blogs. I think some people feel they put out a lot of money for blogging and should get some back but I actually think it is possible to blog with putting out very little money.

      I think your blog has a great niche with the vegetarian reviews of melbourne cafes - getting a vegetarian perspective is really valuable - I started following your blog for the recipe and now value it as much for the reviews

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  6. I'm enjoying your reflections Johanna so don't feel like you have to curtail them too much! It is interesting reflecting on changes not only in my blog but in the blogs I read, and in how they have changed too. The blogging world never stands still. It is also full of differences, and I like that a lot.

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    1. Thanks Kari - I love writing these reflective pieces but I think I still feel my main raison d'etre for the blog is recipes because I was so set on this when I started. The blogging world does continue to fascinate me because of the constant change.

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  7. 'You might say that old bloggers never retire, they just are found on Facebook'. Genius. Is GGG on FB then?
    I really love your reflections on blogging (and other topics) and enjoy your considered, thoughtful approach. Don't feel you can't be self-indulgent now and then - isn't that the point of having a blog?!

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    1. Thanks Kari - I don't have a GGG facebook account but I have one for just a few people I want to catch up with - I wonder about expanding it but am so wary about it. I did think a birthday was a good time to be "self indulgent (and I did feel tempted to say "it's my blog and I will write what I want to" but then there is the feeling I should set some boundaries)

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  8. I like looking back at my blog posts - it reminds me of things long forgotten, and even though I have not even tried to be more professional, I think my photos are better just because of practice. I have not embraced publicising my blog on social media - I enjoy segregating things.

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    1. Thanks Cakelaw - your photos have improved - I think that is the punk spirit of blogging that I love - anyone can have a go and will get better with practice. I too like to keep parts of my life separate but it is hard sometimes to decide what side of the fence things fall!

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  9. I really enjoyed this post. It's not often I can find the time to stop and reflect upon things but I've been making much more of an effort to lately... most likely why this was such a hit with me.

    I find it really interesting the journey other bloggers take, who knows where we will find ourselves in the future! I know for now I'm going to concentrate on blogging for fun rather adding more pressure to my life!

    p.s. the clocks made me smile :) It's so nice reading another Melbournians blog.. I'm so used to seeing things that seem completely foreign.

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    1. Thanks Claire - I find that I often wish I had more time for these reflective posts and they start as an idea and grow and grow until I feel compelled to write them. Glad you recognised the Flinders Street clocks - they are such a great Melbourne icon!

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  10. Congrats on turning 6. My desire to blog is waining, so I admire your tenacity. I now know I write purely for myself, to document my own original recipes so I'll be able to remember how to cook them in future, or to remind myself of places I've been to on my travels. It sounds a bit ego-centric to say, but my blog-as-cooks-journal is my most turned to 'cookbook' these days. And so much more legible than the handwritten scrawls on scraps of paper that I used to use (and easier to search).

    The best thing about being a food blogger in Melbourne for over 7 years? Meeting wonderful people and being part of a diverse community. The worst, all the email spam from PR people that I've not signed up for.

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    1. Thanks AOF - it is interesting that your blogging mojo is on the wane and yet your aims are similar to mine - to keep a journal of recipes and travel - though I guess I like to journal recipes whether original or not - I often make changes to recipes and (as recently written on) my oven is slow so this all gets recorded and is useful to go back to. I use my blog as a resource often. Being able to search my notes is invaluable

      Glad you keep your blog going even if you don't write in it as often as you once did - I think most bloggers blog less after a while. Unfortunately the PR emails just seem to increase!

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