Blogging: Advertorials for free food

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So, I’ve been in a slightly awkward situation since I’ve been back in Singapore. I am starting to receive invitations for free meals via email and my social channels, and in return “to post on IG” or on the blog.

Blogging for many friends I know is a labour of love and it has lost its fun and excitement over the last decade since the majority of “bloggers” out there started giving it a bad name. Rather than serve as a platform of self expression and also providing helpful info, it’s become an revenue stream and a way of getting everything in life for free through sponsorships.

My mailbox is getting more love with super high resolution images and press releases – most of them not even relevant to the content of my blog – because, of course the PR people couldn’t be bothered to read what my blog is about, but blindly look for “food bloggers” or whatever existing social media platforms to plaster their brand/restaurant’s photos so that they can file their PR clippings as a job done.

I am not opposed to taking up invitations, which I do on occasion  because it is a chance to try out what’s new in town and respecting the great PR folks out there who work really hard and clock late nights entertaining. I suppose what bothers me is there is a lot of dishonesty where many bloggers don’t make the disclaimer that it was an invitation or advertorial.

It’s a sad state of affairs with little objectivity and it’s quite frustrating when you’re spending your own hard earned money on new restaurants, only to realise they are terrible and everything you’ve read was biased.

If you remember the old days  before the advent of the internet, we were always quickly flipping past ads in magazines. Nobody spent time reading ads, but these days a lot of people spend time reading advertorials and buying into them.

I’m fascinated as to why our behaviour has changed with digital consumption of info and ads. I have made decisions based on blog recommendations and 8/10 times they couldn’t be further from the truth. I was disappointed spending time money and wasted calories on bad food. Then I learnt that all the popular blogs aren’t objective.

Well, it isn’t hard to take a good instagram photo these days. The more photos you take and study, the easier it gets with the photo apps and filters. I see how brands are taking advantage of beautiful visuals in their proposition and sell.

I got lucky as a featured instagram user, my engagement isn’t even that great and I never lie about it. I was experimenting with strategies to advise clients on how best to run their channels – and viola it worked and I got featured. If you’re interested, here’s a post I wrote on how to get featuredThat was a little while back, I am sure the algorithm has changed since.

I am curious to see how this unfolds in the near future, in our world of instant gratification. I hope we could go back to the halfway mark of before, where standards and integrity still count and pitching a story requires the work and effort.

 

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