Once upon a time, in what feels like a previous life, the publishing company I worked for published a book called, “No One Cares What You Had For Lunch.” It was a book of “inspirational ideas” for bloggers. (This was back in the dark ages, when people were enthusiastic about blogging, aka 2006.)
I was not involved in the decision to publish it, but I can remember thinking that 1) if you didn’t have any ideas for things to blog about, maybe that was a sign you shouldn’t be bothering to blog and 2) I cared what you had for lunch. I like reading about food. I definitely think it’s amusing that fifteen years later, food bloggers are among the few blogs still surviving and thriving in 2021. (Not that I’ve done any research to prove that — I’m purely basing it on the number of ads on recipe sites.)
Anyway, back in January, I put tracking my cooking on my list of goals for 2021 — not because I wanted to change the way I cook, but just to develop an awareness that would last longer than a few weeks. Like a lot of people, I tend to make things in waves: one month, I’m all about the quinoa bowls and the next month, I’ve moved on. In fact, after eating quinoa bowls almost daily while I lived in the van, I couldn’t tell you when the last time I had one was. It’s been a while, anyway.
So recording what I made seemed like a way of both remembering the one-off meals — like the kimchi soup that I think was not the same as the Hungarian mushroom soup? but can’t really remember six months later — and also encouraging myself to mix it up when I get in a rut.
Unfortunately, recording it in my morning words file, as I did for the first few months of the year, was pointless, because I never go back and look at those words. In fact, you’re not supposed to look at them, you’re supposed to write them and move on. The idea is to encourage creativity and brain-dumping, not to treat them like a journal. Even a journal wouldn’t be much use for recording food, though, because I might look at it ten years from now, but not often enough to be reminded of something I ate three months ago and meant to try again.
Enter Instagram. Is it ironic that after quitting all social media in February and updating all the bios in all my books so that they didn’t include social media links, I decided that a social media tool was the most efficient way to do something? Yeah, sort of. But it’s simple to use, easy to do from my phone, didn’t require any complicated set-up, stores the images in the cloud, lets me write captions and keep them connected with the image… it’s a much more straightforward way to track photos than creating a file in Scrivener or Pages or Vellum, or even trying to organize a folder of them in Photos.
Initially, I made a private account so that only a few people could see what I was posting. But when I decided to start blogging again, I couldn’t attach the private account to the blog widget that lets the pictures show up in the sidebar. Ensue much mental debate — about sharing vs over-sharing, perception vs reality, creation vs consumption, privacy vs presence, online ownership vs supporting billionaires… plus a hefty dollop of Feelings about letting people who have hurt me badly have any insight into my life.
In other words, ensue much over-thinking.
In the end, I decided not to care. Literally, just not to care about any of those things. Instagram is convenient and fulfills a need for a thing I want to do. And once I started posting food pictures, I also started posting cat and dog photos and scenery. In fact, so much so, that I decided my Instagram bio should read “fluffy friends, good food, freedom.” My personal tag line in action. 🙂
But if you’re on Instagram and I haven’t followed you yet (or vice versa), you can follow me at sjwynde and I will happily follow you back. Because I want to see your pictures, too, and if they’re all of food, that’s fine by me.
I put all my food photos on Instagram and everything else on Facebook.
And I enjoy your food photos.
I just don’t like the Facebook experience much. It’s so busy and cluttered. But I’m enjoying Instagram right now. And I enjoy your food photos, too!
I’ve never used Instagram–know nothing about it, but that doesn’t matter. At first glance of your garden photo, I felt like a fairy or gnome, wynding their way home from a foraging trip. The lushness of green is so welcoming; seeing the house in the distance–home is only a bit further… Such an image (such an imagination!!!LOL) Hugs and thanks.
That’s so nice! I’m glad I could inspire your imagination 🙂
I think food bloggers have so many ads because they don’t tend to have sticky audiences that return to see how they are doing and invest in other products from the bloggers. It’s all about page views and ads. Whereas bloggers with a dedicated audience will annoy the crap out of their followers with too many ads.
I was judging “surviving and thriving” based on money, really. In 2006, blogs were going to be the path to financial freedom for everyone and that didn’t happen. Some people might have made money & certainly some people got Internet famous, but I went looking for some of those blogs, including the ones by the author of that book, and they’re gone. Meanwhile, Smitten Kitchen and Simply Recipes are fancier than ever. It turns out, people are interested in food. 🙂 Obviously, some blogs still exist — I’m still here, you’re still here! — but it’s not because we’re getting a paycheck for them.
You must be providing something that people need or want, and isn’t that always the key??