After last year’s triumphant foodcamp, organisers Dani and Nina managed to step it up a notch again at this year’s event.
At a splendid palais in the middle of Vienna, they set up an unconference centered around food that was filled with, well, great food by very generous sponsors, interesting (sometimes a tad corporate) talks and the opportunity to meet members of the rapidly growing foodblog scene in Austria.
My friend Iwona touched upon an important topic we discussed during the conference though (read her review and thoughts here): it seems that after the surge of popularity blogging has seen, especially in the lifestyle areas, foodblogging is the new darling of aspiring bloggers and companies alike. It’s easier than ever to start a blog and instantly connect with companies that are willing to pay a good buck to get their products reviewed or mentioned (or just tie bloggers to them in order to create a network of sympathetic writers).
Now, that’s a big step up from where blogging was still a few years ago, but it also means that the reasons for many new bloggers to start a blog are already somewhat questionable: where a few years back people started writing about food because they simply liked talking and writing about it, today it seems that many get into it with the sole intention of being able to earn some money and reach some sort of stardom in their respective niche.
We’re all vain people, bloggers probably more so than others. We want people to read what we write, we care about feedback and we wouldn’t mind at all to see recognition for what we do (especially those who spend far more time on their blogs than I do). But I find it somewhat sad and disconcerting, that so many people unquestioningly pander to the interest of sponsors, just so they can quickly and easily boost their reach and earn some money. That’s the exact thing that’s plagued mainstream journalism for years and helped blogging gain the reputation of being more authentic. It seems to me we’ve gone full circle now and are risking to go down that exact same route. I’d hate to see blogging becoming another venue to sell out quickly, as opposed to being an opportunity to write about the things you love and care about.
But hey, maybe I’m just jealous.