Has blogging lost its charm and appeal, three years after taking off in a big way? It would appear so, if the blogging habits of some of the longer-standing food and wine bloggers are analysed. I have observed, for example:
* Dax Villanueva, of Relax-with-Dax Blog, recently Tweeted about taking a blogging break. Some food bloggers identified with the sentiment of the ‘blogging holiday’, but Dax does not appear to have reduced his frequency of blogging.
* Spill Blog has reduced from one blogpost a day at its start last year, to infrequent blogging on weekdays, and does not blog on weekends. Their infrequent Tweeting (@MackSpill) has rendered them almost invisible. One wonders how advertisers view the reduced Blogging activity.
* David Cope’s The Foodie Blog now sees one blogpost a month, compared to many more when he first started blogging. He almost exclusively Tweets.
* The Jamie Who? Blog is interesting, as blogger Andy Fenner closed down his blog by this name last year, and incorporated it into a joint lifestyle blog called Aficionado, with two other bloggers. Its clean and neat design, and top level brand endorsements, did not attract enough advertising revenue for the three partners to live from, Fenner blogged honestly, and therefore it was closed down last week. Now Fenner will have to start from scratch in building readership, an expensive price to pay. Even Fenner’s blogging frequency on Aficionado dropped significantly, only blogging once in the past month. Fenner may have lost interest in blogging generally, announcing that he is opening Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants in the next month.
* Matt Allison of I’m No Jamie Oliver Blog has not Blogged since the beginning of this month, and will be moving to a new blog he will call ‘Planting Thoughts’, reflecting his new passion for urban farming.
It would appear that Blogging Burn-out may be occurring amongst more established bloggers. Either they are making good money out of their blogs (or not), or they are making money from other sources. Those bloggers who do not accept advertising on their blogs, blogging for the love of it, appear to be more frequent bloggers. Serious bloggers spend a good two hours in writing a post, and it is the posting of the photographs that is time-consuming, especially those taken with a better quality camera. Attending the function that one blogs about, driving there, and then writing about it, can take almost a full day, a luxury for bloggers who have a ‘day job’.
Recently a ranked list of lifestyle blogs and websites, some incorporating food and/or wine, and almost all accepting advertising, was published by Wyncc (linked to Spit or Swallow and Winetimes), based on daily page views (on 17/10):
- food24.com – 126 592
- 2oceansvibe.com – 104 158
- winetimes.co.za – 47 539
- watkykjy.co.za – 25 105
- capetownmagazine.com – 19 763
- imod.co.za – 16 558
- wine.co.za – 14 956
- bangersandnash.com – 14 422
- lifeissavage.com – 8 546
- jhblive.com – 6 944
- missmoss.co.za – 6410
- cooksister.com – 5 341
- capetowngirl.co.za – 4 807
- winemag.co.za – 3 739
- aficionado.co.za – 3 205
- relax-with-dax.co.za – 2 671
- whalecottage.com – 2 671
- kimgray.co.za – 2 671
- whatsforsupper-juno.blogspot.com – 1 068
- spill.co.za – 1 068
Using The South African Food & Wine Blogger Directory as a guideline, I checked the Blogging frequency of a number of blogs. Pendock Uncorked and Sommelier Miguel Chan Wine Journal Blogs post daily or even more frequent blogposts in general, while Cook Sister, Just Food Now, Food & the Fabulous, Hein on Wine, Batonage, Cape Town by Mouth, Betty Bake, and Scrumptious South Africa blogposts appear more than once a week, on average. It is a shame that Sardines on Toast blogger Kobus van der Merwe last blogged in August, and that Pete Goffe-Wood, with a sharp wit, only blogs once in six months on the Kitchen Cowboys Blog.
The annual S A Blog Awards entries closed at midnight, and appears to be a non-event this year, if the low-key Tweeting about it, and the large number of Bloggers who could not be bothered to enter, is an indicator. Every year the SA Blog Awards attracts criticism, and this year is no exception. The biggest surprise is that only ten Blog categories will be contested, compared to 24 categories last year, benefiting more focused Bloggers, and not those writing more generally about a diversity of topics:
- Best Business / Political Blog
- Best Entertainment / Lifetstyle (sic) Blog
- Best Environmental Blog
- Best Fashion Blog
- Best Food & Wine Blog
- Best Music Blog
- Best Photographic Blog
- Best Science and Technology Blog
- Best Sport Blog
- Best Travel Blog
There is very little consistency and comparability with the SA Blog Awards of 2010. Noticeable by their absence this year are the Most Controversial Blog, Best New Blog, and Micro-Blogging (Tweet) categories. The rules have changed too, and for the first time the Blog entries are limited to Bloggers residing in South Africa, automatically excluding regular past-winner in the Food & Wine category, London-based Cook Sister Blog, and the Indieberries Blog winner of last year. Only two categories may be entered per Blogger. Voting will be limited to one vote per Blog, and closes on 9 November. Judges will only evaluate the top three publicly-voted Blogs per category. Judges will choose the Blog ranking in each category. The judges vote will decide the overall winner of the SA Blog Awards. Radio sport presenter JP Naude will be running the organisation, not being a blogger himself, with support of last year’s Award’s organiser Chris Rawlinson.
It will be interesting to see how Blogging evolves over time, and whether the rate of new Blog start-ups will reach saturation. Loyal Blog readership remains at a high level, readers being more active supporters of Blogs than their writers, it would appear.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage