Looking back through my backlog of entries written by my fellow bloggers, I found Kevin's review on his second trip to Bazaar. Except, this entry was not as much a review as it was an examination of what it means to be a blogger. From his interview with Chef José Andrés and the subsequent comment by Rameniac, I took away something issues I'd like to address on my own.
The title of this entry is phrased as a question precisely because I am not sure what responsibilities a blogger has. The evolution of communication has created this sub-class of journalists open to anyone with an opinion and a clever (or not so clever, as in my case) blog name. I remember before the term "blog" was even coined; my friends and I traded URLs to our then "online journals." It's something we seem to take for granted these days, the empowerment we gain from such easy access to publication. I started many blogs in my lifetime, but always as journal for myself. As such, I sometimes forget that this blog isn't a diary; it's written for an audience.
So now that my readership has expanded beyond just myself and one or two loyal friends, I encounter the issues of responsible blogging. This is the area highlighted by Chef Andrés to Kevin, I found most thought-provoking. I do believe that bloggers should be held to a higher standard in their field of self-prescribed expertise. By broadcasting your opinion, you have assumed authority in your subject matter. There are even places like Article Writing Services that will provide you with alternative viewpoints on whatever your subject matter is. Of course there are many people who write with no authority, but at what point can you continue to write ignorantly, especially when you have gathered a sizable readership? Of course Kevin has grabbed this horn by the bulls; his research and thoughtfulness is easily apparent. Personally, I enjoy food research, so I try to be informed about what I write. I try to make my blog more than a collection of places I ate and what I found delicious. Food writing shouldn't simply be a documentation of food. A major benefit of blogging versus Yelping is the personalization of the eating experience. Exceptional food writing inspires me to eat or to find joy in eating, not just tell me how salty the fish is at so-and-so restaurant.
Another issue brought up in Rameniac's comment was the need to "blog with a conscience." The consequences of our writing actually has a real impact on restaurants. Something I may have lost sight of, in an effort to become more critical, is that restaurants are businesses. Reviews are an important metric related to financial success. Therefore, I will strive to be more considerate of the things I write. Although, nasty food will still warrant nasty comments.
As I mentioned before, actually having readers certainly shifts the focus of the blog. Now that I'm writing for others instead of just myself, I feel like I have a duty to present honest criticism of restaurants. It is the balance between the conscientious blogging concept and the duty to readers that will be increasingly difficult to uphold. Ultimately, I believe we should write honestly, but make that writing as accurate and informed as possible. And if that's not hard enough, make it fun and delicious to read as well.