Today I strolled the Beverly Hills Farmer's Market on a mission to gather inspiring ingredients for my recipe/photography projects for the week ahead.
I filled my canvas bags with blooming, bright, beautiful produce. Caramel colored raw walnuts, crisp apples, grassy green sprouts, curly kale, fragrant cilantro, micro rainbow swiss chard, sweet citrus, plump shiitake mushrooms, freshly ground almond butter, three-for-a-dollar lovely lemons, some jarred salsa, a pint of foamy fresh squeezed OJ and much more .. like those expensive strawberries that just looked too plump and perfect to pass up.
Yup, some shoppers may grimace at a $5.50 pint of royal red strawberries. But happily, I have no guilt purchasing them - photographic foods always make it into my shopping bag. Some girls buy shoes, I buy berries. It's my job. I always feel like I'm shopping for more than just myself. I'm shopping for my readers (you!) - I want the ingredients that inspire me to inspire you. So I want the best!
Still strolling the market I whip out my camera and snap away at the golden satsumas glistening in the morning sunshine. No, I'm not a photography hobbyist or a tourist gawking at the produce and to-die-for weather. Living, breathing and sharing healthy vegan food is what I do for a living. I love my job. But..
I love my job. But I hate my title. So I'm changing it.
And I want all my fellow career "food bloggers" out there to join me because everyone ("blogger" or not) needs a good title for their career. A title that actually describes what you do - and not merely a stereotype of what you do.
A career title may seem trivial to some. But I think it is important. For me, my career title has been something I've been wrestling with in the back of my mind ever since I started my website. Really, what do I do? What is this crazy new career path called? Somehow the obvious title of "food blogger" has always seemed so inadequate. So after much analysis, I have a new title for myself.
Not a Food Blogger. The story. Whenever I attend an event, gathering with friends or dinner party - especially an event where there are no other people with jobs like mine - the inevitable question follows.. "So what do you do?" And a heavy feeling of dread comes over me. I pause, feel fuzzy and stumble out words that feel so unfitting to what I actually do..
"Um, I'm a Food Blogger."
The reaction is always mixed. Confusion. Excitement. Some people have no clue what I mean when I say "food blogger" as the stereotype for "blogging" jobs is , lets face it, rather horrid. Some people shrink away and simply nod their heads and say something forced like, "Oh, how fun."
The Blogger Stereotype. You've seen the token blogger depicted on shows like SNL. The antisocial, compassion-less, societal outcast who furiously types rants on their computer in a dark room - with little accountability. Bottom level blogging content is typically low on intellectual complexity (even though successful, committed bloggers produce amazingly complex, witty, controversial and thought provoking content). But with such a wide range of people squished into the title of "blogger" - as a career title, it is pretty low on the 'respect' scale.
But slowly, the image of "blogging" for a living is changing. And for good reason.
"Bloggers" are making a living. And that is impressive considering 'blogging' used to be a part time hobby. Some successful "bloggers" are even snagging six figure book deals - and highly coveted freelance projects in all types of media. All while having a rewarding and fun time doing what they love.
"Bloggers" both full time and part time are inspiring readers and driving content on more mainstream media websites. "Bloggers" have major influence.
And you know. You can tell the difference between the truly committed bloggers and the ones just spinning out half-hearted fluff.
And to me those committed "bloggers" successfully participating in give and take with media, gaining loyal readership and contributing a voice to modern day life need a new title.
My simple answer: "Bloggers" are Producers. More on this in a few paragraphs.
Internet content is in high demand and lets face it - the world wide web would be a pretty boring place with only big companies like ABC, FOX, TMZ, Food Network and more.
Some "bloggers" have even reached star status. Look at The Pioneer Woman on the food blogging front. She has a hugely successful website and her own show on Food Network.
Big names, successful in traditional media outlets like print and television have taken their content to the web and turned into bloggers. Ebert blogs his movie reviews and Martha Stewart's website and blog seems even more popular than her television show. She even tweets - often! So 'blogger' of her.
Fifty years ago people were obsessed with television and film. These screen outlets slowly transformed into America's past time entertainment. Get home from school, turn on the tube. Friday night, head to the movies. Well there are new popular 'screens' in our view now. Computer screens and mobile/cell screens.
And with the success of the Internet/mobile comes demand for more specified and directed content on the Internet. Internet entrepreneurs have filled this demand. Career "bloggers" are entrepreneurs.
My new title. If you ever meet me at a conference or out at a restaurant and ask me "what I do" I probably will not say I am a food blogger. Though many of you have great respect and admiration for the bloggers of the world - I do not shun this title for a lack of respect - but really more because I do more for a living than this minimalist title implies. So my new title (And I do say this with a proud smirk on my face).
What I do for a living: "I'm an Internet Content Producer in the Culinary Sector - specializing in vegan recipe development and food photography. I also produce freelance work in the print and mobile sectors."
..because everyone needs a good title, right?
And I want to note that if you meet me in person, you will see that my personality is far from protesting or arrogant - so to hear me spout off this title would really by kind of humorous and lightening of the mood. "What do you do?" is such a stern question, I personally like a light-hearted, fun response.
To ever say this title with a voice of cold hard certainty and arrogance would just sound silly. I know that. I just think titles are pretty silly to begin with if you are using them to judge people on a personal level. But in the business world, they are necessary. Everyone has one. Why not have one that makes you sound like you have actually contemplated it. Blogger is just too easy and imprecise.
So here is why I like my new "tongue and cheek" but oh-so-true title. A "blog" is really just a series of posts written from someone about some topic. They may be blogging food or movie reviews - a little bit of their life mixed in. Well most "career bloggers" are actually producers...
Producers. Like in the same way that someone calls themselves a movie or music producer. We are Internet content producers. We are putting money and time into producing content for online outlets.
Casual "blogging" implies a free spirit, in-my-spare-time, casualty to it. Producing requires a financial and career-invested commitment. Yes, I do this full time and I put plenty of money into buying recipe ingredients, fancy photography equipment, plenty of props - scene setters - and expensive strawberries :)
Funny, I always wanted to be a producer. So I hope that all the "career food bloggers" out there start changing their titles. So what do you think? Will you embrace and share my new title trend?
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