And the Lord spoke to Moses.
No, not really. These are these Ten Commandments of Food Blogging, from the The Gospel Gastronomique by St Fouad the Bewildered. The following are my own personal feelings and opinions on the dos and don’ts of food blogging. Do you share my opinions or are you against them? I’m not claiming to be perfect here, but I think a set of guidlines could be useful. Let me know your thoughts.
1 – I am the Lord your blog; you shall have no other interests before me
The first teaching of the Gospel is perhaps one of the most important. The core message is, however, quite simple. Your blog should be about your most favourite topic. Do not write a blog about something you have little interest in, as your lack of knowledge and enthusiasm will be apparent.
2- You shall not make yourself an idol
Here, the Lord tells us to keep it real. Do not try to be omniscient or omnipotent, and do not think that you’re a deity. Thou art human, and your blog should celebrate your experiences as a human being. So share your successes as well as your failures, and do not take yourself or your blog too seriously.
3- You shall not make wrongful use of the name of your blog
This commandment relates to the subject of comments. Do not comment on someone else’s blog just to get a link back to your blog and don’t write idiotic comments. Your comments should be constructive and honest. Do not say “Oh that looks so good, I want to eat it” or “Oh, I’m salivating” as these comments seem like a copy and paste job, and they leave the blogger with an empty, hollow feeling. Give thoughtful remarks and ask questions, and expect the same in return. Show the blogger that you have read what they’ve written and give their content its due respect.
4- Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy
Every once in a while, take a break from blogging. Go to an expensive restaurant and leave your camera at home. Experience the food like the good chef intended you to. It’s nice to have a meal without a 5 minute photo session delaying each course.
5-Honour your father and mother
Here, your father and mother symbolise your heritage and past experiences. Share your culture and your knowledge because they make you who you are, and who you are is what your blog should be representing. A blog is after all, your online diary and it’s where your story is told.
6- You shall not murder – the English language
Seriously, you don’t need to be Shakespeare to write a blog, but spell checking and proof reading are the least you can do to ensure your writing has no or little errors. It is so much nicer for a reader to be presented with a well written piece of text. Remember, writing is not the same as putting your thoughts on a blog. Thoughts are usually badly composed and chaotic, but a piece of writing should be balanced and well considered. Luckily, writing a blog is meant to be conversational and down to earth, so keep it simple. But remember, your blog is a medium for you to learn and better yourself, and improving your grammar and vocabulary can be easily achieved with the right level of attention.
7- You shall not commit adultery
The Seventh Commandment holds many truths, and should be kept at the forefront of our thoughts whenever we perform any blog related actions. Do not prostitute your blog. The integrity of your blog is of the utmost importance, so do not use your blog to get priority seating, free meals or to gain access to unrelated events. Using your blog to get free stuff means that you will inevitably owe something to someone, and that jeopardises the credibility of your writing. People look to bloggers to get an honest point of view, and plugging advertorials on your site to get a $7 burger is not worth the loss of your credibility (neither is a $1000 burger). On the flipside to seeking out freebies, it is ok to accept freebies you did not intentionally and purposely seek. We spend considerable effort writing and maintaining a blog and to get a small reward every once in a while is quite satisfying. But always, always disclose the fact that you did not pay for something you are reviewing. And under no circumstance should you feel obliged to give a glowing review to a mediocre restaurant or product. Simply do not write about something if it’s bad.
8- You shall not steal
This one may cause intense burning in hell if not heeded. Do not steal reviewing ideas from other bloggers. Do not steal content from other bloggers. Do not steal recipes from other bloggers. Do not steal photos from other bloggers. If you have benefited from reading another blogger and your blog entry is the result of an inspiration they have given you, give them the credit they deserve and attribute your work as inspired by them.
9- You shall not bear false witness
The Ninth is one of those open for interpretation, and scholars are in dispute as to the exact meaning. I personally think that it relates to leaving a comment on someone else’s blog where you dishonestly say something nice when deep down you know that the blog entry you just read is wasted time that you will never get back. Be honest instead of just being plain nice. If my recipe is shit and you know it, tell me and maybe I can improve it, or just don’t tell me at all.
10- You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife
Last but not least, the Tenth Commandment is there to remind you to be content with what you have. Do not look at other bloggers and covet their number of visitors, the amount of comments they receive or the freebies they get. Be happy for them and do your personal best for your blog, always focusing on the content. After all, unless I’m wrong, you started blogging to fill in a void. You started blogging because it was a means of self expression. You wanted to say something you cared about. It was never about the numbers, it was always about you. Don’t turn your blog into a full time job. Chances are, you already have another full time job and that’s why you started blogging. Right?