Friday, 11 April 2014

On Blogging and Blagging

I've had my account, @hollowlegs suspended from Twitter for 31 days now. I will hold my hands up  - I did A Bad Thing and accidentally broke the rules. When someone at Gauthier Soho received and tweeted a screenshot of the offending email, it got my back up. It was a food blogger, asking for a free meal in exchange for a positive review. 

That's the kicker. The 'positive' review. I've long since turned down specific invite-to-review meals but I don't begrudge anyone else going to them, as long as they're disclaimed. They're more able than I am, to be able to make seemingly impartial judgements. They're more able to deal with the awkwardness of the no bill situation, the fawning staff. Hell, if you've got the arrogance and the belief in your blog to approach a restaurant and ask for a free meal in exchange for a review, you're braver than I am.

But when you're asking for something free in return for a positive review, especially when you don't disclaim it, it is not cool. It's a shill. It's breaking trust. It's tacky and desperate. It gives bloggers a bad name, one I've tried hard to defend for the 6 years I've kept this little thing going. People don't talk or write about the bloggers who do have integrity; they don't talk about the bloggers who spend their free time doing the hobby they love, taking time to write just because they like to do it. No, whenever bloggers are in the press it is to complain about their big cameras, to complain about the sole person who broke the rules and offered a positive review. It really annoys me when bloggers give the haters such easy things to pull us up on and tarnish us as a whole. 

Why don't we all just be decent? I subscribe to hundreds of blogs; blogs that take free meals, blogs that take products, travel writers who go on trips. I trust them and I continue reading them from a judgement call I made for having all the information available to me. Disclosure. That's what it's all about - not who got what free, but the ability to know when you can trust what you're reading. 

The email I retweeted had the guy's phone number in it. I didn't realise that, it was a mistake. I think I broke the rule that says you can't publish someone's personal details. I assume that's it - I've heard nothing from Twitter yet. Can I come out of jail now please?


14 comments:

belleau kitchen said...

Blimey. Maybe we need to start a Free Lizzie campaign. :0)

Rich said...

Missed! Not forgotten... (though not sure what we can do to help :)

Rich

Kavey said...

Oh Schmoof, really sad Twitter haven't done the right thing and unsuspended your account yet. It's ridiculous, isn't it?

And thank you/ well said for your piece on how frustrating it is that every example of a blogger behaving badly is used to slag off all of us, and to portray every blogger as an unprincipled moron out for everything they can get.

I do accept invitations to review, for restaurants, food products, appliances. I disclose. I have faith in my objectivity, but I believe it's up to my readers to decide and they can do that best when I'm upfront and transparent about samples, comps etc.

Plus, as anyone who maintains a blog for long knows, it's an enormous investment of time and energy. I know I pour hours into mine. Every now and then, it's clear a blogger sets up in the hope of the freebies, but they don't last long when they realise how secondary those are to all the effort required to create a decent blog in the first place.

I find it sad that The Shill was able to use publication of his contact details (which were, from what I've read, already available online to anyone who could use Google) as an excuse to shut down those who spoke up against his actions. But then, his morals have already been exposed as lacking, haven't they?

BRING BACK THE @HOLLOWLEGS!

Gina said...

WORD

Donald Edwards said...

Lizzie, I'm sure you've already tried this but https://support.twitter.com/forms/general?subtopic=suspended this is the link for appealing account suspension.

FoodNerd said...

You are right, that there are times that it's really not needed to offer free food in place of a positive review, if the place is proud of their food and it's a good standard, then they shouldn't worry about getting negative reviews. I must admit I've been for a meal that was free but wrote a review that was truthful and honest rather than what I was expected to write. It was awkward and didn't enjoy it as much if I had paid for the meal myself.
I write my blog out of sheer greed of good food and that I enjoy eating at new places and sharing it with everyone else to enjoy as well.
Hope you get out of twitter prison soon!

FoodNerd x

www.foodnerd4life.com

Chloe said...

Well said. It makes me mad and sad that these blaggers exist because as you say, their actions give all bloggers a bad rep. I do find it annoying that bloggers ethics always seem to be held into question more than staff journos. I worked for a local magazine where part of my job description was to write reviews of restaurant meals that, while always paid for by the magazine, were never truly as good as I was required to say they were. One time I had a shockingly bad experience and told ed I had nothing good to say about it. It caused a massive ruction between the editorial and advertising depts resulting in me going for a second meal out, paid for out of my own money, to give me something I felt okay writing about! (I think I must be an idiot.) Incidentally, I read a review in the same mag of the same place a year or more later: glowing review. Since having my blog I have published only a handful of restaurant reviews, for meals I have paid for and genuinely enjoyed. I hope your Twitter account is returned soon.

Ginandcrumpets said...

It is ridiculous that you are still suspended from Twitter, especially given that you didn't actually mean to break the rules. Hope they let you back soon.

beirutibrit said...

You are missed. Great post as usual and i hope twitter sort thsi lunacy out soon

Lizzie Mabbott said...

Thanks everyone!

Donald - I have submitted many requests.

a little lusciousness said...

Ah - that explains it! I was staying in Cadiz last week, and pretty sure I was in the same flat that you stayed in based on what you'd said in your blog, so tried to tweet you saying so, but couldn't find you!! Hope they let you back on soon - don't think what you did was quite as bad as US Airlines latest f-up but they're still on twitter...!!

Antique Checker board said...

Thanks for sharing this wonderful post, It is awesome.

Tina said...

Ah, wondered why I'd not seen you on Twitter. Always enjoy your work & I trust it too for reviews. Hope to see you out of jail soon.

S said...

Miss you on Twitter, Lizzie x s