It’s 3:00am. I’m still sick and can’t sleep. I know this routine pretty well by now and I’ve given up any hope of rest in favour of getting house chores done. I’ve already washed all the dishes, sharpened all my knives, watered the house plants and now I’m going back through my lists of old Foodblogs and clearing out the deadwood. *sigh*
It’s a quiet, melancholy experience skimming through Blogspot’s remaining roster in 2018. Every click of the “Next Blog” button takes my lonely cursor to yet another shuttered storefront or a tearful goodbye post from many years ago. They always start the same: “Well, now that the new school semester has started I have to focus on other things.” or “Little Wendle has grown up so fast, I just don’t have the time I used to.”
Most hobby blogs had a lifespan of four years during the height of the Blog craze (circa 2005-2011) and now that our collective attention span is shorter than ever it seems no-one’s hanging around ‘ol blog town to share their thoughts and feelings in longform. What keeps this increasingly empty blogosphere online and viewable by nostalgic, sleep-deprived weirdos like me is anyone’s guess.
The pros are still out there. The big-name bloggers I have at various times admired and admonished as, “bored housewives with thousand-dollar cameras” are still churning out beautiful food porn and racking up subscribers to their newsletters. The really savvy ones made their money on ads, or paid bonus content and turned that into a cookbook or two… I wonder how many hits they get nowadays.
They saw the shift from the “day in the life” stuff to the clickbait and recipe cards early on and adapted well past the ‘aughts. They modified their layouts for easier, faster browsing. Some hired slick designers when they needed a new coat of paint. KitchenAid giveaways! Detox chia bowls! More videos and less text! Optimize Your SEO!
And they all stopped calling themselves a “blog” a long time ago… Even I got that memo.
The crazy thing is for a while there were enough people making a living off photographing strawberries on their hardwood floors that whole online industries grew up around the minutiae of the scene; Blogging groups, advice forums, “How To” gurus and Pintrest-style sites for disseminating your photos like FoodGawker and my beloved Tasteologie. There seem to be more sites dedicated to the business of starting and promoting a food blog than there are functioning food blogs.
But the great, neglected blog monolith (“blogolith”?) remains fed with a trickle of traffic. Each blog, abandoned or not has at least one particularly obscure recipe or a really well worded title that will draw the attention of Google or one of its bastard offspring. One or two other blogs will appear as a runner up, but they’ll be buried waaaaaaaaay down underneath the big guns like Allrecipes or Foodnetwork if they even get on the front page at all.
Oh look, there’s one of mine!
I got to this party late and it seems like I’m one of the last few reprobates left once the lights come on. Or maybe I’m just being maudlin from all the lack of sleep… I’m sure there’s more people still blogging than I figure, but not many more.
And even if I am the last poor shmuck out here shouting into the void, I’m not particularly abashed about it. I never had any dreams of being some Cookware-hawking online celebrity, I already have a full-time job. From the jump I knew that this whole thing was for giggles and if I met someone who’d actually read my blog (that wasn’t a family member) I’d consider the world a weird, small place.
Whatever, I’m still going to keep at it until it isn’t fun anymore or that Yoga Studio from Kentucky buys me out! *laughs* Maybe then I’ll try my hand at a food-related Youtube channel or podcast and be the last one to ride that trend into the ground.