Food Blog Addiction: Are you in its grip?
Hi, I’m Sasa and I’m a Food Blog Addict. Food Blog Addiction (FBA) is a disease with a rapid onset. FBA has seven stages. Whether it's you or a loved one that needs help, please don't be afraid to reach out. Do you stay awake past your bedtime because you can't tear yourself away from food blogs? Have you ever let family and friends eat cold food so you can get "the perfect shot"? Do people's eyes glaze over when you start discussing speedlights, styling and props and widgets? Yes? Then read on, you're not alone.
Stage One: Complete Oblivion
The first stage of the addiction is barely worth the label “stage.” We include it here just to illustrate that all FBA victims do in fact experience normality before their illness, though if you meet a victim after the onset, this may be difficult to imagine.
FBA is not a genetic predisposition, nor can one be born with FBA. FBA can be avoided by a) not learning to read or b) never using the internet. Some types are not prone to FBA and may therefore be exempt from the above restrictions. This group includes people who think of food as fuel, and the visually impaired who cannot see the provocative photographs which are used to lure readers in by the food bloggers (FBs). Conversely, some types are more prone to succumbing to FBA. Generally these people already enjoy discussing food and may have more than the average number of cookbooks or even a subscription to a food magazine.
Stage one is a blissful state, a carefree time when “cooking” is neither a competitive sport nor an event requiring military level planning and execution. “Dinner” means pasta, or maybe a stir-fry. The idea of photographing food seems absurd and not a little mad. Desserts may be bought at the supermarket (!) and cakes are baked only occasionally. The same dish is often cooked repeatedly.
Stage Two: Stumbling Across an A-List Food Blog
This is generally an innocent mistake and at this stage, the perpetrator still has pure intentions. The reasons for this unhappy accident may include searching for recipes for a special occasion such as hosting a family event or dinner party. Some cases of referral to food blogs by a sufferer to a new victim have also been recorded.
The victim may come across sites that stun and immobilise her with photographic splendour (suspects include Tartelette, Canelle et Vanille and La Tartine Gourmand), reel him in with innocuous and chatty yet beguiling prose (Smitten Kitchen, Steamy Kitchen, Simply Recipes) or, worst of all, promote personal identification with the writer (Orangette, The Wednesday Chef, Joy the Baker).
Stage Three: Going Through the Archives in Chronological Order
This stage is also known as “the point of no return.” After perusing the original article, the victim is compelled to scroll down the page to read more. The page ends. Eventually, in unsated desperation, she clicks through to the archives. Generally, upon finding that there are several years worth of posts, the panic subsides and, if there is time to do so, she settles down to read. If this is not possible, the first symptoms of a gnawing anxiety appear. The page is bookmarked for later perusal.
This anxiety is called “FOMO” (fear of missing out) and will be discussed in more detail further on.
Stage Four: Absorption and General Neglect
The victim may now start to show signs of unhealthy behaviour. Often he will stay up very late reading through archive after archive of food blogs. The dangerous “link system” that food blogs have set in place ensure an almost endless supply of material.
Everyday tasks such as washing, eating and communicating with others in the household may be neglected or performed only perfunctorily.
Oddly, at this stage, not much cooking is done.
Addicts may resort to devious means to secure time to read including feigning illness or claim to be otherwise incapacitated.
Stage Five: Thinking About Setting Up a Blog of One’s Own
Sometimes, this stage is confused with remission or a disappearance of symptoms. The victim has generally satisfied her desire to read and read and returns, outwardly to a normal life, though she may make offhand remarks about starting a blog or do research into blogging platforms. Occasional relapses into stage four can still occur if the victim finds new blogs that she feels she cannot live without devouring in their entirety.
FOMO is still a real danger and she will, more often than not, install an RSS reader so that she can keep up to date with any new posts that appear on her favourite blogs.
Stage Six: Actually Setting Up a Blog
This stage is characterised by endless monologues concerning the pros and cons of various blogging platforms, for example regarding their ease of use versus flexibility and attempting to discuss technical details that most non-sufferers have no interest in (whether widgets’ tendency to slow page loading is worth the added functionality and so on).
Once again he will spend an inordinate amount of time hunched over the computer, this time reading through forums regarding blogging, blogging platforms and photography.
Some victims display an urgent desire to buy expensive camera and/or lighting equipment.
Stage Seven: Full Blown Addiction
The victim in the throes of stage seven never cooks the same thing twice. She spends hours scanning ingredient lists and shopping and refuses to eat before photographing the meal to within an inch of its life.
She appears distracted at odd hours and writes things down secretively in a notebook - these are probably notes about an upcoming post.
FOMO continues to grip her and she may be reluctant to be without internet access for any length of time.
The victim leaves comments on other blogs and joins a community of other addicts, none of whom seem to be aware that FBA is a serious disease that can shorten attention spans or prolong them to the point where functionality ceases, cause the victim to spout egregiously concerning said subject and otherwise completely reorder their lives and the lives of those around them.
Tell me I'm not alone! Other people do this stuff too...right?