Advice for Bloggers

For some reason, I enjoy reading food blogs. It’s kind of inexplicable, because food blogs are the most likely to drive me insane. If you’re thinking about starting a blog – especially a food blog – please read this before you start:

HIRE A PROOFREADER – If you want to get payed for riting on you’re blog, yoo shuld hire to proofreeder, or at least have sumone reed you’re stuff before yoo post it up their. I mean, come on, folks… I’m the King of the Rambling Sentence, but I *do* have a firm grasp of grammar basics like “there\their\they’re” and “your\you’re”. It’s amazing to me that some people want to write, but can’t even get past minor stuff like this. There’s a snack blog out there where the author constantly uses the word “yea” (as in, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death”) instead of “yeah” (as in, “yeah, these are good.”). I want to stab that guy in the eyeballs… repeatedly. To cope, I have to read all his posts in a mock English bishop voice: “Yea, though Frito Lay hath given unto man these Cheesy Garlic Bread chips, I enjoy them not, for thy flavors offend every living thing that creepeth.”

GET TO THE POINT – I’ll admit that I like writing stories where the first couple of paragraphs seem to have nothing to do with the title. I haven’t actually checked, but I’m certain that every History Blog article starts that way. But the other day I was at a site that reviews Trader Joe’s products. The average review seemed to be around 1,000 words, and 100 to 500 of those words often had nothing to do with the product. If the review was about a frozen food item, then half the review might be about being stuck in traffic, and how traffic has gotten much worse since Barry Schoch took over as state DOT secretary, and why can’t our state have FastPass lanes on toll roads like other states, how SiriusXM has gone to hell since the merger, and why Subaru can’t build a reliable transmission, and.. oh yeah, getting home late was why they were reviewing the frozen item… which was “just OK”, by the way.

DON’T LECTURE PEOPLE – A while back I found another food blog where the author seemed to enjoy lecturing people… for using the products he was reviewing! No joke, many of his reviews went something like this: “Americans eat waaaayy too many processed foods and fat and salt… so you shouldn’t be eating these frozen TGIMcFunster’s Bacon-Wrapped Mac and Cheez Stuf’d Jalapeno Poppers… but if you do choose to eat them…” Condescend much?

ACT LIKE YOU’VE BEEN THERE BEFORE – It’s AMAZING how many ignorant food bloggers there are out there. Hey, I don’t expect you to be a globe-trotting foodie like Anthony Bourdain, but when you write things like “who knew there was something called RUSSIAN DRESSING?” or “they put this weird new stuff called ‘cilantro’ on their nachos”, you’re really just making an ass out of yourself. I’m not perfect… there are probably a million dishes in the world that I’ve never tried… but I’m not going to write about it. I don’t want to look like Marilyn Hagerty at the Olive Garden.

SOMETIMES, MAYBE YOU JUST SHOULDN’T BOTHER – There was a local food blog here in Charlotte, written by a husband who often went out to eat with his wife. And between the two of them, they ate… nothing.I swear to God, one of his reviews would say something like, “We went to Pinky’s Westside Grill. Of course, like any normal person I hate pickles, mushrooms, onions, pimento cheese, chickpeas, cucumbers, green beans, blackeyed peas and artichokes. I’m also allergic to all seafood. My wife hates chicken wings, corn on the cob, red peppers, veined cheese of any type and hummus. So we skipped the appetizers. Of course, I gave up red meat last year, so we passed on Pinky’s famous burgers and most of their sandwiches… especially since my wife is Jewish and can’t eat pork. So I had the ‘Camp Greene House Salad’ while the wife had falafel”. No, I’m not kidding: their reviews really were like that. There was another blog that reviewed suburban Atlanta restaurants. The author was diabetic, a fact he mentioned in every single review: “I wish I could have tried the cakes or pies, but they’re not diabetic-friendly”. Of course, if you read that once it’s no big deal. But if you read several reviews in a row you’re like “OK, WE GET IT. YOU CAN’T EAT STARCHY STUFF AND DESSERTS!” So, I guess my question is… WHY BOTHER HAVING A GENERAL-INTEREST FOOD BLOG IF YOU CAN’T OR WON’T EAT EVERYTHING? I mean, the Charlotte people should have just given it up completely, but maybe the suburban Atlanta guy could start a diabetic food blog, something that might actually be useful to some people.

PICK SOMETHING WITH STAYING POWER – This applies to just about every blog out there, but seems to be especially relevant with food blogs. Don’t start something like a “Charlotte Dim Sum blog”, because there are only two dim sum places in the entire city. Don’t bother registering a domain and paying for hosting when you only have two possible things to write about. Even the Charlotte Burger Blog seems to have run out of places to review: although the latest review is about a Charlotte restaurant, the entries before that are about places in Raleigh, WIlmington, Durham, Davidson and Indian Trail, and often weeks go by between posts.

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