What is expected of a food blogger?

Being  a food blogger can certainly be a full-time job. It involves cooking, photographing, writing and that doesn’t even include planning, editing or searching for that one nowhere-to-be found ingredient. All these steps should be done with pleasure, otherwise, why bother blogging at all, right?

There is one thing I have struggled with lately and it’s a by-product of being part of a wonderful community of food bloggers in the ever-expanding social media world. I want to support as many bloggers as I can in a variety of ways but that too seems to be turning into a full-time job.  So I’ve recently asked myself what is the expectation of one food blogger to another food blogger? Or better yet, is there even an expectation? Let me paint a scenario that should be all-too familiar for most of you.

Blogger X posts an entry on his/her blog. You may subscribe to the blog on Google Reader so you read it there or they may they tweeted it, so you click and read. After taking the 3-5 minutes of reading the post, you are inclined to leave a comment. The comment may be as simple as “Looks great” or it may be something more in the form of a follow-up question or recounting your own memory that was triggered while reading the post. Afterwards, you may have the option to click on any number of social media “share” buttons. You can Tweet it, Facebook Like it, StumbleUpon it, Reddit it, Foodbuzz it or do “it” to any number of sites that you’ve never heard of. As far as these buttons go, this blog isn’t that fancy…yet.

For me personally, I love comments on my blog. I appreciate the time and effort people put into sharing something that sparked something within them simply from them reading my words. Recently, I weaved the eulogy I gave when my Bubbie passed away into a post. It was a story I’ve wanted to share for quite some time and I was overwhelmed with the responses and the raw emotions that people friends shared with me in comment form. For me personally, I’d take a heartfelt comment over a retweet. However, if Jamie Oliver, Ree Drummond – the Pioneer Woman or Lady Gaga want to retweet me and expose me to millions of people, who am I to say no? (1 of the 3 names there doesn’t quite belong in a food blog, does it?)

The whole process of commenting and sharing may not sound overly daunting when it’s crammed into a few sentences like I’ve just done. I do my best to comment and retweet, but sometimes there are just not enough hours in the day and when you fall behind, there is no catching up. When it’s multiplied by the 10, 20, 30 blogs that you follow, it’s just not possible to give them all their proper due, is it?

1st note – I do get the irony that you may comment or “share” this post.

2nd note – Tastes Better With Friends will be getting a facelift soon and there will be additional “share” buttons on the new site. And yes, I get the irony there too.

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53 Comments

Filed under Jamie Oliver, Lady Gaga, Pioneer Woman

53 responses to “What is expected of a food blogger?

  1. hehe I just RTed this!

    But it’s b/c I feel the same way!

    This is something I’ve been struggling with lately. To me, I’ve never been one of those hip or popular food bloggers so I’ve never done it for the ad revenue, the popularity, or the stats. I cook because I love it. I take photos of it b/c I want to share it. And I post to combine the two.

    Recently my stats and my comments took a hit. The stats have climbed back up, but the comments never did. It’s been heartbreaking for me. I’ve blogged regularly for 2.5 yrs and to now post and be LUCKY to get 1 or 2 comments on a post is crushing. The comments have been my favorite part through this whole journey. I love the community and the people I’ve “met” – both online and IRL. Our interactions and recipes and stories shared have impacted my life and heart in such a big way. To feel like part of that is now missing just feels weird.

    I’m not sure what is going on. I’ve seen people complain about Blogger comment forms, so perhaps that’s it? I’ll have to explore about maybe switching to WordPress if that will help.

    • Jennifer A (Bread and Putter)

      Hi Christina – I’ve experienced the same sort of weird swings with comments and I feel your pain. It is disappointing to lose that interaction. I think that’s the part that we all enjoy the most.

      I do agree though that Blogger comment forms are frustrating. It seems like I have to hit submit or preview at least two or three times before it will even think of letting me post. So, if you are thinking of making the WordPress switch I vote yay! Good luck to you. 🙂

    • I found this blog from a Casual Kitchen link. I understand both of your points.

      I love food blogging (over 3 years now). I’ve never gotten a lot of comments, except if I get a link from Casual Kitchen. Links from other bloggers are few and far between, based on how good my content is. And, my really good content is rare.

      It’s sad to only get a comment, or zero. But for me, I take it with a grain of salt. I have a full time job and a hubby and a kid, and I don’t have the time to read and comment on every blog that I subscribe to. In fact, there are weeks that go by that I don’t read a single food blog. I think that everyone else is going through the same thing.

      If it were a business for me, I’d be more concerned. But it’s not. I expect to get out of it what I put into it.

  2. Orly @yumivore

    Great points, and food for thought,  especially for someone who might be contemplating starting a foodblog. (The upside as you note is being welcomed into an incredible community.) But as a foodblog fairy (I  like to sprinkle bits of love when I can) and blogger or not, overwhelming amounts of content means people don’t  have the capacity to generously or frequently share feedback or appreciation. As an inadvertent “blogger” but Twitter fiend – I  will share I appreciate your work and art. As long as you’re wiling to share, I’m willing to consume (even though there isn’t always a nod to go with it) 😀

  3. Baker Street

    I completely agree with you. A comment is much so much more personal than a retweet.

    However, i am going to retweet it so that more people can read about the way we feel. teehee.

  4. Excellent thoughts. A comment means so much because that is an indicator that you have made a tiny bit of a difference, an impression.

    But sometimes it gives me the feeling of ” you scratch my back and I scratch yours!!”

    Hope I am wrong.

  5. Jennifer A (Bread and Putter)

    The flip side of this is when you do keep up and you do comment and you do retweet regularly and Stumble and all that for other people regularly and some rarely if ever return the favor. You feel like a hamster on a wheel just trying to keep up and getting nothing from it.

    When I get to feeling that way I try to remember what Christina said – I do it because I love food and I love sharing it. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t care about the interaction.

  6. For me, it ebbs and flows. I always try and keep up with posts through my reader. But I’m absolutely guilty of skimming posts or “marking all as read” when I’ve fallen behind.

    Some I read because the writing engages me. These are the ones that I always try and leave comments on. Usually the comments I leave are just quick notes so that the blogger is getting that validation to say yes, this thing is on. Because I know the frustration that comes from seeing site traffic but no feedback. It’s disheartening. We can’t all be {insert favorite superstar blogger here} with legions of followers who will ooh and aah over every little thing we write. I would much rather have someone take 30 seconds to leave me a “looks good” comment, even if they never print the recipe and try it themselves. It would at least give me a chance to respond and try to engage them in the hopes they will return and become a regular reader.

    Others I follow because I love looking at their photos…and couldn’t care either way what the narrative is about. These are the blogs that I use for inspiration to try and improve my own craft.

    I know that everyone has their own opinion on the subject and what’s right for me might not be right for anyone else. I bet if you bring this topic up at Big Summer Potluck, you could start a very lively discussion.

  7. I couldn’t agree more. I think I will send this to some of my friends who think that blogging is just writing and taking photos. In fact, some days I spend more days reading other blogs than I do working on my own – I have well over 300 blogs in my Google reader so if they all have one unread post.. well you get the idea.

    Since I have posted less this past month due to illness, my stats have plummeted and it’s crushing and heartbreaking. Sometimes I wonder why I am doing this – especially this month when writing a post has taken so much out of me then hardly anyone visits my blog. But I know these things come and go, so hopefully it’s just a phase.

    At the end of the day, I do this because I like it but writing out to the void can sometimes feel discouraging…. Ethan, you’re NOT writing out into the void, believe me!

  8. amen. i feel the same way. if i’m busy or get sick for a few days, there is no way to catch back up. great post; my feelings exactly.

  9. I agree 100% with you. I was out of town last week, and I didn’t have internet. All of the sudden I had over 1000 stumble-upon messages. I can’t keep up sometimes, and it makes me so overwhelmed trying to blog, run a company and deal with 3 children (let alone have free time). I try my best to comment on blogs I truly love, and I hope people will check out my site as well. I don’t have an answer, but I completely agree and love your post. Any advice is more than appreciated on how to do it all.

  10. Wow! You just gave words to my thoughts as well 🙂 Indeed sharing and commenting on fellow food blogger makes a huge difference to both the blog owners.
    Am going to share this article om my Fb page, Twitter..and wherever possible. Very beautifully written article indeed.

  11. I completely agree, and your just putting it out there feels like a breath of fresh air.

    I was just thinking about this last night – how writing is my passion, but it takes so much work and every now and then, there are people who don’t appreciate the effort that goes into it. The other day I had someone refer to my food blogging as a “hobby”. It’s definitely a career choice that can go unappreciated.

    Reading all of the comments on this awesome post makes me think that we’re all in the same boat, and it’s so comforting! I’m pretty new to having my own blog (it’s only been a couple of months), but it’s nice to see I’m in such great company.

    Keep at it, Ethan, you’re clearly doing a great job 🙂

  12. When people ask me how much time I spend each week on my blog (including reading, commenting, tweeting and retweeting, facebook “likes”, Flickr uploads… oh yeah, and posting).

    And you’re love for comments is a valid one… it’s less about feeling “popular” and more about feeling like you’re a part of a community. And that’s a huge part of what blogging is about.

  13. Wow… I didn’t actually finish my first sentence before moving on…

    What I meant to say was this…

    “When people ask me how much time I spend each week on my blog (including reading, commenting, tweeting and retweeting, facebook “likes”, Flickr uploads… oh yeah, and posting), they’re absolutely shocked when I tell them it’s close to 40 hours a week.

    And you’re love for comments is a valid one… it’s less about feeling “popular” and more about feeling like you’re a part of a community. And that’s a huge part of what blogging is about.”

  14. Amy

    Ethan you rock. Once again showing why your blog is so awesome – posting the forbidden topics that everyone thinks, but never wants to say publicly. You hit the nail on the head. My Facebook status yesterday was tied to this subject exactly – working, raising two kids, and then blogging. Only so many hours in the day and when it stops being fun, it needs to stop. Because feeding my kids breakfast is far more important than writing “That looks yummy!” a hundred times.

  15. I really enjoyed this post.

    It’s nice to hear another blogger talk about how blogging is a full time job. Many of us also work full time jobs during the day. But supporting each other b commenting, retweeting, etc. is important.

    Thanks for sharing!

  16. Ethan, you are so right on! I too feel that this post is so timely. Lately I feel very overwhelmed with everything that blogging seems to entail and I have had to take a step back and a long deep breath from it all. I spend a lot of time on my posts (from the recipe development to the photos to the writing) and when added to the time required for my family and other stuff I do outside of the blog, it doesn’t leave opportunity for reading all the blogs I enjoy and leaving comments on each one. I am sporadic with comments on blogs because I just don’t have enough time and I always worry people will resent me for it. I do try to thumb up everything I enjoy on SU and promote posts I love on twitter but again, I still worry it’s not enough. Sigh…

  17. Great post and comments too. I agree with others that supporting each other through comments and sharing posts is important. Looking forward to your site redesign. Fun days!

  18. So much to think about here. I think we all feel this way one time or another. I know I do. The other day I was just saying, wow, I miss the simple days of blogging where I just cooked, posted my post and enjoyed the comments I received. I also spent lots of time visiting all my blogging buddies, reading and commenting on their posts. It was so new, simple & fulfilling. Enter social media. I love love love social media, but it has almost in a way added a whole other layer of busy to blogging hasn’t it? I guess it’s all about balance. I could seriously spend all day with this wonderful community of bloggers. I love finding new blogs, and actually spending time reading, browsing and bookmarking recipes and articles. So much out there!

    Anyway, I’m rambling. Thanks for bringing this up, very thoughtful post and it is so appropriate for so many of us I think. In the end, to me, it is all about why you started your blog in the first place, it’s about the food, the recipes, the sharing with others, the community.

    🙂

  19. For years I kept a website with recipes on it that I shared. No photos, just recipes and no commenting ability at all. I did that for me, for my kids and for my friends and neighbors who might want a recipe of mine and it was an easy method of categorizing and making them available. When I had the time and the inclination.

    Enter the world of ‘food blogging. Now sharing recipes requires that I be a writer and a photographer and a measure of my success includes expectations that people will comment? A lot of work and a lot of pressure for everyone involved because most often those comments are expected from the same folks who are doing that same degree of work!

    I heard someone at the TechMunch event in Austin say that 20% of the time you spend blogging should be devoted to commenting. For someone like Brian, who says he spends 40 hours a week that would mean a full day, each week…who can do that, really, who has that time?

    I comment as often as I can when something draws my attention and most importantly, when I feel I have something to say. I don’t want comments for the sake of comments. or me, the ‘Great Post’ type comments are unnecessary on both ends and often are more used to the advantage of the person commenting. I could leave a whole lot more comments if I did two words than if I put thought and time into expressing something real about the post, the dish, the story…anything.

    There is no easy answer…I try to comment a fair amount and RT a fair amount but if it’s a tit for tat obligation; how meaningful is any of it, to any of us?

  20. This is a fabulous, well-thought-out post. I’ve been struggling with the same thing as of late. I had some of my best months ever in January and February, but the last few weeks have taken a dive. Vacation, my full-time job and other life events happen, and sometimes blogging has to take the back seat. It’s crushing though when you see the numbers go down. I often wonder why I get so upset, though. So many people and bloggers I love (like you!) and respect follow my blog, support me, and have welcomed me into their communities. For me, that’s the biggest reward in all of this. I’ve fallen behind on commenting lately, and that makes me sad, because I love the amazing work all the bloggers I follow do…. it’s just hard to get back into a commenting/reading routine sometime. Keep writing, Ethan, you’re doing amazing work! 🙂

    Good for you on the face lift, btw, I’m trying to finally get some pennies together to do some stuff later this spring, it’s pretty exciting!

  21. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed lately as well. There are so many blogs I enjoy reading, but there are only so many hours in the day, and I’d like to spend some of them away from my computer. Sometimes even if I really enjoyed a post I don’t have the time or the energy to comment, that’s when I’ll tweet or like a post.

  22. every now and then, a post comes along that generates a great dialogue that makes you wish the world wasn’t so virtual and that you could sit down and have a coffee not just with the person who wrote it, but with the people who have made thoughtful comments. That is what great blogging does. This is one of those posts.

  23. You sure are right, blogging is a full time job and keeping up with my blogging friends is a second full time job (but pleasant nonetheless!)

    We all find our methods, but as for me I have a few things that help me prioritize when I get busy. Since I am now employed I will have to use my little tricks just to keep in touch with everyone!

    I have my top 10 blogs on my RSS and I try to keep up when I have a minute by checking to see if there is a new post. These are people I interact with or connect with the most. Then there is people I connect with on Twitter & Facebook. When I see a new post I click it, read it and leave a heartfelt comment. I do my darndest to return comments left on my blog since it’s sort of a comment-for-comment gesture and besides I love meeting new people and looking at what they’ve made.

    I enjoy your blog because I feel as though you write from your heart and it’s as if I am sitting down and having some coffee and deep fried Oreos with you as we chat.

    Thank you for being you and for blogging the way that you do! I hope you are having a good week.

  24. I think you’ve struck a cord Ethan. You’re definitely not alone. Thanks for a great capture of the “day in the life of a food blogger”. Very nice work!

    Heather

  25. My food bloging activity is like the tide, sometimes I an really “in” and sometimes I am “out”, right now happens to be one of those “out” times, and it is mainly due to other pressing concerns. Which means that when I am getting paid 10X to do my real work, the fun foodie “hobby” bloging takes a back seat!

    Bon appetit!
    CCR
    =:~)

  26. Pingback: A Rebuttal to Food 52 | Bon Appetit Hon

  27. I think anyone who has followed/stalked me for any length of time knows of the struggles I’ve had with blogging, my frustrations and moments where I felt like a total blogging fail. I focused so heavily on commenting, being a food blogger, stats, views (or lack thereof), how many actually noticed my blog, etc. I became so consumed by it that the fun of it disappeared. I’d go into panic mode if I didn’t get a comment or my views hovered at an average of 15 per day.

    Now? Now I don’t care…at least not as much as I used to. Sure I still track views, get giddy over a comment, and sometimes feel a little sad when a post doesn’t garner the attention I was hoping for. But when I stop to think about it and the work I have put into blogging I’m reminded of one important thing: The friendships.

    Maybe not all of you or many of you comment or even read my blog on a regular basis but I have the pleasure of interacting with you on Twitter. It’s there that I can laugh, commiserate, share, reach out to support a friend in need, and simply have a good time. At the end of the day, that matters a lot more than 500 page views on a post and 40 comments.

  28. Man, does this topic ever hit home.
    I have a serious love/hate relationship with comments.
    I’m not a particularly popular blogger, so it’s a good day when I get more than 10 comments on a post. Every single comment I get feels like a personal victory, like I’ve managed to connect with someone through my blog.
    The thing is, I sometimes feel like some those comments aren’t motivated by my post, but by someone else’s desire to promote their blog. They’re posting because I’ve left a comment on their blog a few days before, or because they’re hoping I’ll visit their blog and leave a comment in return. It’s like a never-ending cycle of scratch-my-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours.
    And don’t get me started on those “looks yummy” comments. Again, love the fact that someone took the time to comment, but if that’s the most they can find to say about a post, then I feel I haven’t done my job. I don’t know if that’s fair, though… it’s still better than no comment at all, especially if that person is feeling a bit overwhelmed by the sheer number of blogs they’re catching up on.
    Anyway, that’s my rant. 🙂 See what I mean about love/hate?

  29. Ethan, you’ve definitely struck a lot of cords here with your honesty.
    I, too, want to be fair and support fellow bloggers the way they support me.
    And so, I will retweet this so others can read your words and know we’re all in the same blogging boat.

    Cannot wait to meet you IRL.

  30. A great reminder that we belong to a great food-blogging community. It is certainly a full-time job but we enjoy the camaraderie. Comments, retweets, it’s all good. Thanks for being part of the blogging process.

  31. Long ago I made it a personal policy to leave a comment on posts that I had read the whole way through. The deeper meaning here being that if a post held my attention for that long, engaged me enough to finish it, the least I could do was leave a comment. And I strive for more than the “Looks great!” variety, simply because if I’ve read the whole post, usually that means I have been inspired to say a bit more.

    However, your frustration with how time-consuming this can become leads me back to a point I’ve been trying to make for a while now on my own site. Food bloggers (and perhaps other genre of bloggers as well) should re-think the notion that they have to post every day. Not only will it wear the blogger out, but I think it is detrimental to a blog’s readership and traffic. If you over saturate the community with your posts, eventually your readers are just going to move on, feeling that there is too much pressure to keep up with their list of new posts to read. Once or twice a week is probably sufficient to be consistent and keep a steady and beneficial dialogue going. Perhaps if all of us took a step back together, the collective pressure to keep posting and reading and commenting might actually recede enough to let us enjoy one another’s work!

    Best,
    Casey

  32. I totally agree with you. I was gone for a few days last week and over the weekend and when I came back I was alarmed at all of my stumble upon posts. You’re right, there just isn’t time to do everything, and hopefully everyone understands that. You at least made me feel less guilty about skimming through my friends posts instead of taking time to leave a meaningful comment and share. Sometimes you just have to get caught up.

  33. This post was fantastic for me, as a fairly new blogger, to read. AND…I saw it because of a RT by @drwinnie. Thank you for sharing through your post and also for all that left comments. I read many blogs and enjoy them so much, but very rarely leave comments. When I receive one comment on my posts I am super excited. I guess since I am so new to this I feel awkward and therefore do not comment. I am greatly touched by many posts that I read and will let the author know from now on. Thanks again 🙂 P.S. I will RT!

  34. Looks great!

    …j/k 😉

    I am terrible at commenting. Really, really terrible. If I can write a dozen comments a week I consider that a success. It’s partly wanting to say something more than “looks great” and not coming up with anything, partly not having enough time. I do suspect the number of comments I get on my blog is low because I’m so bad at giving out comments, but I can’t over-analyze that. There’s already so much pressure on food bloggers, and that’s partly why I stopped sending my posts via Foodbuzz, hardly ever submit to photo sites anymore, and try not to tweet a post more than three times total.

    I do get really lovely feedback in private and in person, which thrills me more than 20 “looks great” comments do. We don’t all have to shout to be heard 🙂

    Looking forward to the redesign!

  35. This is a meaningful post for so many of us. I get shrouded in the duplicity of blogging: I like it and don’t want to be defined by traffic and comments, yet look at my numbers and let them define my confidence. I have to give myself a little talk and tell myself to write because I want to and because i want to learn from the blogging community. I don’t want to use people to promote myself and I don’t want fans but friends. Thanks for writing this post because it’s just what I was thinking!

    As for your blog design @tentblogger has a great template with flawless code and active forum for self hosted WordPress sites. Looking forward to your new look and to visiting sites by your commenters!

  36. I try to be diligent keeping up with my commenting, but it can be difficult when you’re trying to work, and blog, and cook, and you know, live. I also really dislike those “looks great” comments because I know they are thoughtless and the person probably didn’t even read my post.

    For me, my blog is about speaking and being heard but other blogs I visit (and Twitter) are an opportunity to listen. I don’t necessarily feel like I need to weigh in every time with my two cents. Sometimes a “like” is enough, or an RT, or a well-placed click on a link, another post, or an ad.

    Getting thoughtful comments on my blog is like getting mail – you know, real mail in an envelope with a stamp (that’s not a bill). It’s a major warm and fuzzy for me as a blogging fairly-noob.

  37. Saw a RT of this by Daniel Koontz and decided to check it out. You’ve raised really good points that I struggle with every day. But as long as I am not yet earning a living as a food blogger and there really isn’t a handbook of must-do’s since the whole social media arena is changing daily, I am just doing the best that I can. My blogroll is woefully short compared to the number of blogs I really do love and aspire to read. My Google reader falls short too but does it really matter because I could never read all of the post anyhow. But, when I do leave a comment, I make a point to leave a real comment, not just a “looks yummy” comment.

    I have found Twitter to be my best method for staying on top of what is going on quickly and trying to offer a helping hand to spread the word when I see something of value for the community.

    Thanks for raising any interesting aspect of this ever-changing democratic form of communication. And I am now following you on Twitter 🙂

  38. I’m a relatively new food blogger so when I get comments, my heart flutters and I get all excited–they’re rare and very much appreciated. A re-tweet would be nice, too, but I adore when someone takes the time to jot their thoughts down–and it isn’t spam. The community is a huge bonus that comes along with the package that I didn’t anticipate at all.

    It’s a lot of work but it’s worth it. And even though I commented, I will re-tweet, too. 😉

  39. Hello hammer, you hit the nail on the head.

    I’m still so so so new to the blogging world, that every day I find something that is “duh” to everyone else, but that I didn’t know about. One minute I thought I was riding a leprechaun of rad because someone made a nice comment about a dish – then all of a sudden I suck because I’m not using klout, or stumbling everything I read. I had someone admonish me for leaving a nice comment, but not following up with a retweet for their post.

    The sense of community I’ve found has been really helpful, warm and supportive….and I try really hard to focus on that…but it’s certainly not always easy.

  40. Ethan, this is an awesome and EXTREMELY relevant post. Just in reading the comments I am reminded of two people I pretty much adore: Jenn from With Bread and Putter, and Wendi from Bon Appetite Hon. I love their blogs! But I haven’t visited them lately, or left comments. And now I feel like a bad friend. They always retweet my stuff, and they’re always quick to comment on a new entry.

    I think the important thing to take away from this is as food bloggers, I think the thing we’re really looking for is validation in the form of a comment. If you have time for nothing else, LEAVE a comment. I’d rather have a comment than a tweet any day. And above all else, always be nice in any way that you can. This is how I try to blog. Am I the most popular? no. Do I have incredible traffic? Heck no. But I have an amazing group of friends with likeminded blogs, and the ability to appreciate that at the tip of my fingers (oh hey there, keyboard) – so I should do it as often as I can.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  41. It’s definitely hard to keep up but I recently got an email asking how I got so many comments…I told her it begins with leaving comments on other blogs. But I also mean meaningful comments. I think this how we create our community but it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed by it all. Now, I’m going to go share this post. 🙂

  42. Another great post E (when did I start calling you E?:) I sometimes feel guilty for chatting with so many talented people on Twitter and never going over to leave a comment when I see their posts come through. I try to visit people that visit me, but like Alison said, w/little kids and other things going on…it can be overwhelming. I know how Mardi feels about the stats. I decided to not get consumed w/views. I reminded myself why I started my blog. It was for me mostly. Also for my family to enjoy one day (I hope)by using my recipes. It then became a way to cultivate friendships with incredibly talented people. I feel that those friends know I support them w/a RT or a SU. Maybe I won’t always get there w/a thoughtful comment, but at least that is a show of support. I know how good it feels to see your friends taking the time to tell you how fantastic you are. Comments (on my blog or Twitter) are the fuel that keep me encouraged on days when I wonder why I am doing this. Then when my family or friends get excited over a dessert I just made, that really confirms that I need to post it and share it. It may not win any awards or get in the Top 9…it made people happy and hungry (maybe even drool ) and THAT’s why I do it:)
    Keep up the great writing and recipes E. We’re all big fans.

  43. You said it all very well. I have only been blogging about a year and just recently have started getting a few comments. Each one means something to me and it is a sort of validation. I really enjoy the sincereness of your posts.

  44. Great post!
    I love the connections I’ve made and love it when I get the opportunity to meet my blogging friends in real life. I wish there was more time in my day, I do find I read more and comment less, but try to retweet for others to see all the great posts.

  45. Your thoughts are right on the money and applicable to not only food bloggers but to anyone who blogs or who follows them. It is getting harder and harder to find the time to read all the blogs I want to and to take the time to leave a comment. For me, the comments I leave are like my little calling card. You wouldn’t take the time to visit a friend and then just *sit* there not saying anything would you? So, I try to make efforts to let them know I dropped by, that I liked what I saw, but some days I only have time to read and then hit the *like* button which I don’t care for much but at least they’ll know someone came to visit and appreciated their efforts. Personally, I love getting a comment on a post but mostly, I love it when someone who visited did a tweet on it. This to me, means that they liked what they read/saw enough to share it with their friends. It’s quite flattering. If I can’t leave a comment when I want to, I will often retweet their post.
    Social media is wonderful, I’ve met so many people I would otherwise never have and I’m so grateful. It’s funny though, that the more accessible we are becoming, the harder it is getting to stay in touch!

  46. I couldn’t not get into food blogging when I realized what a wonderful community it was. I love to cook, create & share….and felt that without my own food blog, I had no way to establish the 2-way street of communication between myself and others that share my same passion (cooking & food).

    At times it can seem like a chore or you can get overwhelmed. I got quite a bit obsessive last year, and then I took a 6 month hiatus…cold turkey!! I couldn’t believe I did it, but I needed to. Other more pressing things (like my 3 girls and hubby) needed my attention more & it didn’t feel right to take from them. I started back in January with a more balanced (I hope) approach & I feel much more refreshed as a writer and blogger 🙂

    In order to keep my sanity, and keep up with reading the blogs I enjoy while discovering new ones…I keep a goal of posting one blog post a week. It will be nice if some weeks I get in two posts, but I am happy with one. Since starting back I haven’t missed a week…yay 🙂

    Thank you for sharing what most of us feel at one time or another. Love this community!!

  47. Ethan – your thinking out loud is pretty darned awesome! 🙂 It does sometimes feel like we’re in a big circle spinning our wheels as fast as we can, doesn’t it. Looking forward to reading more of your thinking.

    Now, I’m off to stumble ya. 🙂

  48. Thanks to everyone who has left their comments. Reading through them all has been enlightening.

    I subscribe to 200+ food blogs in my Google Reader and I have three folders to organise them: big blogs (like The Kitchn and 101 Cookbooks), medium blogs (they get between 10 and 50 comments on every post), and small blogs (people who get less than 10 comments per post). I try to leave comments on all the small blogs posts that I read. As a small blogger myself, I want to become friends with the other “little guys”. There’s better community among those people, I think. 🙂 They’re a very genuine bunch.

    I post comments on the medium blogs posts about half the time, though I usually read most of them. I rarely comment on the big blogs; they are already overwhelmed by comments and I have no desire to joint the gushing hoards. I use the big blogs as a way to keep up with trends and get tips and ideas.

  49. I’m here because of Wendi above who wrote a great post regarding the recent Food 52 piece on Google recipe searches and love the lively thread here. What is expected of a food blogger? I hope the expectations are self-imposed and reasonable. I think we’re not often good at that, however. I’ve often wanted to turn off my comments just so it isn’t something distracting to me, but have never gotten around to it. Right now, it’s one of the ways I’ve been meeting new people to my blog, which is fun. Ultimately, enjoying the unique aspect of it — bringing together three of my interests in one place — is why I continue blogging. On-going learning about writing, cooking, and photography, among others, is sustaining.
    I enjoyed this — best to you for putting your opinions out there for others to consider.

  50. Ethan, I absolutely love this post!! It’s funny that this is the one I’m commenting on, considering I’ve probably read all of your posts over the last couple of months and commented only once or twice. Speaking of irony… Sometimes we are too judgmental of what someone is or isn’t doing. We are all at diiferent points on the crazy food blogging path and the path of life. So no two situations are alike. We do the best that we can, right? I only wish my best was better sometimes! Just know that this mama values your work, reads your words, and thinks you rock. Here’s hoping I figure out a better system for giving you your due!!

  51. Looks like I’m a latecomer to this party! Fantastic post, and one that hits the food blogging dilemma square on the nose. Here’s how I see it. I love reading blogs, they’re like novels to me. Once a week, I get into bed with my laptop and a glass off oce water with lemon, and just read and read, discovering new or smaller blogs along the way. My reader doesn’t work, so it’s all favorites, friends and random blogs. I love reading how recipes came to fruition, the stories behond them, and just stories about the blogger in general. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve snickered. I’ve stared in awe at the gorgeous photos, cursing my dumb luck of living in a place where there’s not enough natural light to take photographs. I’ve stumbled across blogs that don’t have phenomenal photos or write-ups, but am still intrigued by their food and who they are.

    When I read through these blogs, I can’t help but leave comments. No matter how big or small the effort, it’s still an effort, and it was shared with me. Nothing feels better than to be recognized for something you made or created.

    As for popularity, I blog because I enjoy cooking, baking and writing. I’m not looking for fame, I’m not looking to be liked, I’m just looking to have fun and make friends with others who share the same interest. I used to get so caught up in comments and the number of hits per day, but a giveaway I had on my blog last summer changed all that. I was giving away an electric ice cream maker. A more popular blog was giving away a plastic apron. Another popular blog was giving away a t-shirt. The apron and t-shirt blogs got 300 – 500 comments, I had to go to other blogs to beg people to enter my giveaway – resulting in 80 comments. I was saddened that I wasn’t even ‘good enough’ to give away a really good electric ice cream maker! LOL This is when I realized that I was losing my original reason for food blogging, and snapped out of it. I only blog about once every two weeks, though I’m sure that may increase when things ease up for me, and I have kids to cook for (knock wood). But for now, I love it, I nurture it, it’s my baby. That ‘nurturing’ extends to my ‘baby’s’ friends and acquaintances (fellow food bloggers), and will continue for as long as I can do so.

    Oh, BTW, I just opened a Twitter account (@parsleynsage), so I can ‘nurture’ via RT too! I swore I’d never social network..pfffft to that, I guess!!

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