Friday, April 1, 2011

Weekend Reads: The Blogger/Writer Edition

I realize this pertains to a small segment of my readership but there were just too many good blogging/writing posts and reads this week!

First off, Google has implemented a new recipe search. It's completely un-friendly for bloggers and requires nutrition facts, etc. That's all well and good, and maybe we could do that work, especially dedicated food bloggers, but the coding aspect is truly insane.

What does that mean for the rest of the world? Well, it means that the search results you'll be getting will favor big outfits capable of employing programmers and database-based systems over home cooks. It goes without saying some of the best food in the world comes from home cooks: steaming hot plates of fresh pasta enrobed in a generations-old sauce recipe made with tomatoes picked just outside a back door, cakes that have long since lost their name in favor of a memory-associated nickname laden with nostalgia and comfort, simple mashed potatoes elevated to perfection with little tweaks and added love. Indeed, food is as much memory and mood as it is physical sustenance.

This isn't to discount larger food sites, and it isn't to say that family favorites can't come from those sources, but it is to say that finding some of those true jewels will be more difficult and Google continues the trend toward business based searching. A few articles that might interest you about this:

Food 52's Take on the Google Recipe Search

A slightly more technical take from Rough Type

Not into food-related google news? Maybe you'll be interested in Google Analytics For Crafters then.

On a related note: It's no secret that food bloggers are a little, how shall we say, exclusive. Some might say snobbish, clique-y, and territorial. Luckily I'm not really in that realm, though I sometimes get classified that under "food blogging". Regardless, the business of writing for passion, writing to write is an important topic to touch upon: Slow Like Honey did an awesome job of that this week, so did Frank Chimero (a voice I always admire), and Chris Shiflett.

Another big deal in the world of blogging lately has been image sources and crediting. Blogging is organic, it evolves and changes, has no defined rules, and is open to any and all people, as such sometimes it becomes pertinent to discuss things like copyright, theft, imitation, and the like.

You might have noticed I stopped using the term "via" for image crediting. Why? Because I'm not sure people know that a simple link-back and the term "via" don't necessarily mean you have the right to use an image. I've switched to "copyright and courtesy of" - which indicates that I have received, in writing, the permission to use an image.

The simple rule could be called the "cup of tea" rule. If you like something so much that you want to put it on your site then you are willing to dedicate some time to it. The time it takes to post an image, write about it, credit it, etc takes as much time as if you had a cup of tea. If you are going to dedicate that much time to something imagine instead that you spent the same amount of time with the person who actually made the image. If you sit down to share a cup of tea with someone would you then go and use their work without their permission, or would you, over tea, simply say "Hey, can I use your work?" Of course. If you are willing to spend enough time with someone to share a cup of tea - literally or with their work - then you should be respectful enough to ask their permission. Act on the internet as you would in real life. Behave as you would in the presence of the original artist, photographer, etc.

This takes planning. I know that can be difficult. The benefit is that you know you'll never get sued and the gratitude you get for asking permission is often more fulfilling than any feedback you get on whatever you post.

Mayi Carles discusses this very subject and provides some helpful guidelines over on Oh My Handmade Goodness! 

Pia Jane Bijkerk has a great info-graphic as well.

Whew! I could go on forever about this! Hope you take something great away from these reads: inspiration, information, a new method or outlook.

Have another amazing "life is wonderful" weekend!


Melissa@EyesBigger said...

I refuse to use Google's recipe search. I still use regular google search and (for the time being) it still returns the smaller sites fairly high up in the results. I think, fortunately, that the recipe search isn't obvious to most people and they still use the regular old search. We shall see!!
So with you on the copyright piece.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for including Mayi's article on image sourcing in this great post Tricia! I had no idea about google recipes & I am going to check it out, I'm not a foodie blogger but I LOVE food/baking blogs-do you know if this affect regular searches? I am so visual I always just search google images until I find things I am forced to make; )

I really love your "cup of tea" rule-it's beautiful, respectful & is all about building friendships which is what I see as the most incredible part of blogging. The ability to really connect regardless of distance. That's why I started our twitter tea parties, I wanted the chance to sit down for tea & learn more about my readers/followers/new friends.

I wish we could really have a cup of tea together!

Mayi Carles @ Heartmade said...

I L-O-V-E your cup of tea rule + the way you've taken "via" + transformed it into something that celebrates your passion for supporting your community. Really powerful stuff.

Thank you so much for your inspiration + for posting a link to my post on OMHG. I really truly appreciate it.