Friday 3 August 2018

6 Years of Blogging: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Exactly six years ago today I started French Foodie in Dublin. This little blog feels like a proper long-term relationship now, filled with love as well as its ups and downs. I'm happy to say that my love for this little corner of the Internet is still strong but it has certainly changed since the beginning I have to admit. It's been a while since I've posted a personal/opinion post and it seems like my 6th year blogiversary is actually a good time to post a few thoughts about the blogging world and tell you where I'm at with FFID.

The good

I'm still blogging

I feel like the fact that I've been blogging for the last six years is an achievement in and of itself. With what blogging is turning into and the rise of social media and video content, many people don't really bother writing anymore. I've seen so many people abandoning their blogs for various reasons and I'm glad I've stuck to it. I believe that you can always make the time for stuff if you really want to. So yes, I try to always come back to write here even though running my own company and studying for a masters keep me busy enough. It's still a hobby, a journal of experiences that I can go back to and hopefully a useful and entertaining space for people who read it. There's no tricky algorithm to beat, I choose how I want it to look and what goes here... social media platforms can always change or disappear, this blog doesn't and that's why I still love keeping it updated.

You're still reading

I didn't blow my own trumpet or post anything, but the blog reached over 2 million page views earlier this year. It's actually quite a lot when you think about it so I'm assuming some people are still reading. I'll be honest I probably look at my stats every 6 months... but still it was a nice figure to reach.

I do what I love thanks to the blog

Blogging was first a hobby to get away from a horrible day job, it nurtured a passion and led me to what I do now. Six years later my full-time job is 'Owner at Delicious Dublin Tours' and I'm very proud to have created my own path. Blogging is still a hobby on the side but sometimes I get paid opportunities through sponsored posts and random freelance activities thanks to the blog and those who read it.

The bad

'Blogger', that dirty word...

I actually don't really mention my blog in real life unless someone ask for food recommendations or know of FFID of course. I became uncomfortable to the word 'blogger' and get offended if people think it's my full-time job. I'm not sure if it's because I'm getting older and I know I shouldn't be embarrassed for having a blog but I feel like I have to justify myself all the time... I started writing a disclaimer at the start of each article to let people know I pay for my food and I'm becoming less and less comfortable at recommending places in general... I certainly wasn't overthinking like this at the start and to be honest it's killing the joy.

Is the food scene still worth blogging about?

I've lost a bit of inspiration when it comes to restaurant and cafe reviews... The blog started during a time in the recession when interesting places were opening all across Dublin and when the food scene was going through an exciting period of change. While we still have some great places, there are less and less new openings of places that are genuinely exciting or blogworthy. It's not like I'm paid by a newspaper to write my reviews, I don't write about places I don't like and I don't want to blog for the sake of it. I'm not interested in new restaurants ran by a group who own half the venues of the city centre, there's no point for me giving them a shout out. I eat out less in general or I keep going back to my favourite spots as I don't want my meals out to be dictated by the blog. I receive press releases about new restaurants all the time but I don't want to tell you about places I've never been to because I wouldn't be comfortable spreading the word about places that may be bad at the end of the day. Because of all of these reasons I started writing more about my food travels or Irish getaways and I think most people enjoy the articles just as much.

PR events

When I started and until a few years ago I was excited to go to PR events but now I'm just not bothering anymore. Unless it's something I really, really like and I can bring a + 1 I don't want to waste my time. I don't like being at an event with people who are stuck to their phones to tweet the hell out of free canapes and cocktails. The world of social media and blogging can be superficial and I'm not writing a blog to be part of that.

Social media

I reduced my consumption of social media for sanity purposes and also because I want to focus on more important/productive things...  I realised that my favourite bloggers don't bother using Twitter, don't broadcast their lives on Snapchat/Instagram story and that I too can still have a blog without being stuck to social media. I created lists on Twitter/muted/unfollowed/turned off notifications and now I check whenever I want and see posts by whoever I want. I'll be honest I can't stand Twitter anymore but I still enjoy having my Facebook page because some people have been interacting with me for the last six years. Instagram is really the platform I prefer at the moment but there's no way it will replace the blog, but it complements it nicely.

The ugly

Blogger bashing & fakefluencers

When I started six years ago you didn't have a constant amount of people on Twitter bitching about bloggers, restaurant owners giving out about blaggers and people didn't grow 10k followers overnight... Now it's just out of control. People buy followers, others call themselves 'bloggers' when they don't even have a blog (they just have an Instagram page) and then there's fakefluencers who purchase followers online. Even in Ireland you have people who clearly have bought their following or play the follow/unfollow game to grow their numbers and then get paid by brands to promote stuff to their fake audience. Mad, isn't it? It's really a pity because it undermines honest bloggers who have integrity.


So, do I still enjoy blogging after all these yeas?

Of course I do, otherwise I would have stopped. I still love updating my blog when I get excited about sharing something. I also really appreciate that many of you have been following me for the last six years and that's why I've stuck to it. I don't blog for fame nor do I live for likes or the numbers of followers, I'm genuinely here to share a passion and because I built a relationship with some of you. I also try to distance myself from the negativity and bullshit around blogging, just focusing on the nice people who actually have been here all along my blogging journey.

Thank you for reading and for your support!

Love, FFID.