I have no interest in being Freshly Pressed. Fortunately. In fact I don’t even look at it, and the thought of replying to 100 or more inane comments from one-off visitors is enough to send shivers down my spine.
However, I am mildly interested to read WP justifications for their choices of blogs.
Over at The Daily Post, it seems they have started a new feature about what people need to do to get freshly pressed.
(I am pleased to note they have taken up my suggestion to have regular features each week. I am sure they had plans in the pipeline to do so before I wrote and suggested it.)
The brief article on being freshly pressable (yuk!) ended by asking what we thought of their choice of blog and the recipe in question. Yes, it was yet another food blog.
I started off writing a response and decided it was going to be a) too long and b) too negative so after I’d said the photos were good I shut up. Interestingly other people did come up with a few constructive criticisms, which as you can see below, in no way describe my views.
So what did I think of the pick and the recipe?
If you can’t be bothered to go and look, the recipe was brussel sprouts, lemon and pistachio nuts.
1) The photos are good.
WP pointed out that it is a good idea to have large pix so people can see the detail.
Jen also used large photos so a reader can easily see the details and not have to stop and squint to make things out. The ability to click through the images to even larger versions is also a wonderful feature.
Great. Advice on the WP forums is to reduce the size of your pix so that they don’t affect loading times on your blog. I think describing clicking on the photo to enlarge it as a ‘wonderful feature’ is somewhat over the top. I thought it was bog-standard practice if you choose to do so.
2) The recipe isn’t original. The author does credit the source, but ya know, why are brussel sprouts, lemon juice and pistachios worthy of FP (oh plus garlic and shallots)? Incidentally, not one I would try either. It doesn’t appeal – and I’m vegetarian. I do however have a different sprouts recipe which also is unoriginal…
Maybe I should write about it and get myself FPed?
3) WP then went onto say that the author had written something about herself? Don’t we all add something about ourself to our posts? That’s why people read our blogs because we establish personality. Certainly all the blogs I read involve the authors writing something about themselves.
4) So what personal delights were we treated to? Well apparently it is hellish difficult figuring out where to eat in Manhattan on Saturday night. My heart seriously bleeds for people in this terrible position trying to choose which one of the 20,000 restaurants should be the lucky recipient of their trade. Bet it’s not half as difficult as working out how the hell to eat and survive in Somalia – or wherever.
This my dears, is what you need to write:
We stumbled upon Cotta Osteria in the Upper West Side. I’ve walked past it a million times, but never thought to try it. As soon as I walked in the door I knew this was going to become my new favorite wine bar.
5) What a load of pretentious crap. WP stated that there were anecdotes about Italy, which really meant this woman’s partner had been and eaten pizza there. Well, woo fucking hoo, so have I.
It seems there was a nice flow of continuity (actually WP wrote that ghastly word segues) from wandering the streets of Manhattan, to eating pizza with brussel sprouts to writing about sautéing them with nuts, garlic, shallots and lemon juice.
And there you have it.
Some of the other commenters complained that there were too many freshly pressed recipe blogs. I always thought there were too many bungee jumping in NZ type blogs. Or just generally gimmicky blogs written by young people for young people who think they are saying something new.
I don’t know if any of the blogs I read have ever been freshly pressed but I do consider most of them to be extremely well-written, some good or great photos, and with a damn site more originality than copying a sprouts recipe and saying we went out in Manhattan on Saturday night and faced the challenge of choosing a restaurant.
While I am having a go at WordPress I might as well point out that it seems rather contradictory and very naughty to tell us all that it is much better to have the topics/categories/tags in the scroll down Reader format (previously in magazine format) and yet maintain FP in magazine format.
Why don’t they put FP in scroll down format too huh? If it’s so good for us all? Because it looks better in magazine format. As did topics. I wouldn’t even mind if Reader worked properly, half the blogs I follow turn up late on there or not at all.
I abandoned the search for new blogs when the topics format changed and instead took two other routes, checking out other peoples’ commenters (disadvantage there – you end up with a relatively small circle and nothing new) and looking at the forums for interesting blogs.
Luckily the forums had a nice forum called off topic where a few self-opinionated people would occasionally/frequently make witty comments about nothing in particular. So I found me a few more blogs. And there was a showcase forum where you could publicise your blogs. Not on a par with topics in magazine format, but worth a look.
That didn’t suit WordPress either, so those two forums got pulled.
In a short space of time, WP has made three unpopular decisions, changed the Topic format, scrapped two well-used forums, and made email notification about comments the default – the only decision they have reversed.
One in three is not a great success rate for the complaining hordes (yes, I did complain about all three).
And being faced with a dining dilemma in New York combined with a basic unoriginal recipe as the key to blogging glory leaves me with even less confidence or respect for the people who are running or working for WP.
Just to be clear, I’m not finding fault with the blog that was Freshly Pressed. Rather, the decisions for doing so. I am increasingly persuaded that WP is aiming at pre-Kindergarten level bloggers.
But if you want to read about sautéed brussels sprouts – there you go.
The FP one they wrote about last week was seriously poor. I thought it was badly written, boring, and it took too long to load and close.
They have a writing challenge too. How to make eating a tuna sandwich interesting. JFC. I mean like really?
Why do I read The Daily Post? Because it defies belief. I also take some vague satisfaction in thinking that the people (for the most part) who write this ‘advice’ know very little about their subject. So therefore I don’t need to pay the slightest bit of attention.
There is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ blog. It is totally subjective.