Over the weekend I got summarily ejected or deleted from the closed Facebook ‘Melbourne Food Bloggers’ group, despite previously being invited to join. The group was in the middle of a debate about the politics, economics and ethics of accepting payments for publishing commissioned infomercial or advertorial content. Boo hoo or ha ha depending on your point of view.
I’ve written about advertising many times before (including these posts from 2009 and 2010) and my views in the local food blogger scene are well known. Recently, @stickifingers of Deep Dish Dreams wrote about the same topic. Stickifingers discusses the sycophantic puppetry of the cheap brand whores who write about whatever they are given for free, regardless of the relevance of the product to their audience or the legitimacy or authenticity of the content. In some of the more dubious examples, fashion bloggers write about people mover vans and food bloggers review dog food. Yummo.
The discussion in Facebook was polite and professional, but the pro-advertising bloggers manage the group and they don’t seem capable of rational debate. They petulantly sulked at the ineffective nature of their vapid and incoherent defences of their greed, then chose to misinterpret vigorous debate for personal attack and tried to shut the discussion down. When some of us carried on discussing the issues (always in a polite, impersonal manner), I was removed.
I don’t know if anyone else was too. If you were, please let me know! Maybe we can set up an indie / fringe food bloggers group where independent, non-commercial bloggers can engage in some legitimate free speech without the thought police telling us off.