Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Big Bad Blogger

Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Blogger?

When Margaux Salcedo’s online article appeared on Philippine Daily Inquirer’s site, it sent bloggers all a-twitter. After all, the charges were incendiary: a PR firm ominously called The Firm “employs” influential bloggers (like the Big Bad Blogger) to make or break restaurants. This fact, according to the article, has restaurant owner “Georgia” shaking in her apron.


Miss Georgia, why are you afraid of the Big Bad Blogger? You shouldn’t be. If your restaurant and food are topnotch, then they will speak for themselves. Besides, you already had several favorable reviews from the legitimate press. Word of mouth is word of mouth, whether done online, in print, or in its original form, orally. And the best word of mouth happens when your food is so good, people will recommend your restaurant to anyone they know. So Miss Georgia, if I were you, I’d be more afraid of getting that dory overcooked or serving the creamer cold instead of heated. A paid blogger, no matter how influential he/she is, is no match for great food. And an influential blogger, if he/she is smart enough, will stick to the truth to safeguard his/her reputation (and most probably will not agree to be under The Firm’s payroll).

It is interesting that Margaux’s article focused only on food bloggers. It is interesting because, according to her, these food bloggers seem to have taken it into their heads that they are that influential. To quote: “Food bloggers, especially, were revered as reliable sources because they were perceived to be independent of any influence, paying for their own meals and untouched by PR firms.” Really? Dear Mr. or Ms. Big Bad Food Blogger, you may have a thousand followers, but do you honestly think that all those followers are really mindless, fawning fans who will agree to any and everything that you say? I think not.

Dear The Firm, this democracy of free thinking applies also to other categories, not just food. Not all influential bloggers will agree on everything. Not all influential bloggers can be bought. And not all readers will agree on everything that influential bloggers say. I bet you someone will disagree with me regarding this issue.

And Ms. Margaux, please deflate yourself. The blogging community IS NOT the one last community that we could rely on for the truth, winking at the Sunday Inquirer Magazine aside. A lot of blog readers are themselves bloggers, and the longer they stay online, the more they realize never to always trust everything that’s out there. It is as true for reviews on food blogs as they are stats and torso pics on social hook-up sites.

Besides, bloggers and readers are on to PR fluff. It’s the same way that ordinary citizens are on to advertising; if they try the product and get disappointed, the next time they see the commercial they’ll go, “Ows? Hindi naman totoo yan eh!” My younger brother trawls food blogs, looking for new places to try. But no matter how glowing the blog write-up is, if he is disappointed by the food or service, he’s the first to say, “Mukhang bayad lang pala yung blogger na yun.

So who’s afraid of the Big Bad Blogger? Could it be just Ms. Margaux herself, with BBB in her turf?


Ms. Chuniverse said...

Very well said McVie!

I've been reading all these stories about the BBB. Some fingers are pointing to a popular food blogger whose blog have grown commercially. Anyway, i don't believe A.D. is the BBB.

Curiously, i am also following Market Manila's blog and he gave his piece about this subject:

Market Manila also mentioned about his horrible experience with a PR/Media Firm (?) called Mad Crow Media,

Now, i noticed that in your blog, there is a link to Mad Crow Media's website, but the site is no longer functioning i guess. Do you know them?

I know you are a media practitioner, and i think you are the right person to ask this, my question is
do some media outfit really practice that way?

Thanks! =)

joelmcvie said...

@MS. CHUNIVERSE: Thanks for your comment. As for your question, I will answer it with a new blog entry, coming up next.

Mugen said...

I look forward to reading your next installment. I read that article too, and was somehow alarmed with what Georgina said.

Unknown said...

Well put. That said...

If i read a good review for a resto, I'll try it. Then if it turns out di pala ok, I won't go anymore.

But if I read a bad review, I won't go AT ALL.

So, to take the restaurant owner's POV, while the proof of the pudding's in the eating (toink!), I still wouldn't want a bad review cause if I get one, nobody will try it in the first place.


joelmcvie said...

@XANDER: Well put. That said... you stop at one review? Several reviews?

So, to take the restaurant owner's POV, will she be so helpless when bad reviews come out (whether honest or paid)? Does she just fold or fight back?

If indeed the bad reviews were with merit, she can improve her products and services, then invite her friends to try again. And there are other food bloggers and press people whom she can invite.

If she is cowed by one bad blogger (or even a crowd of bloggers) then I think she's chosen to be a loser. She needs to see the bigger picture. Bad bloggers and bad reviews do not necessarily spell the end of her world--if she lets them.

Heck, bad reviews never stopped theater directors to continue churning out plays. The better directors use the bad reviews to improve their craft; the bad ones never bother with the bad reviews.

ikotoki said...

Are these bloggers covered bythe journalist's code of ethics by teh Philippine Press Institute?

joelmcvie said...

@IKOTOKI: I don't think so. Bloggers aren't journalists.

Mac Callister said...

ang sipag mag comment ni chuni haha may links pa!!hangtoroyh!

hay naku u are right! even the blogger said too many good things about anything,tayo pa din mag papasya kung papaniwalaan natin siya or hindi!

Felipe said...

wala ako masyadong paki sa write up ng mga food bloggers... kung mahal hindi pupuntahan. ehehe ehehe.

epal lang. LOL. Smile naman diyan.