After almost three years, my Master of Arts (Research) thesis is complete.
Throughout this, I read thousands of posts from hundreds of blogs (without Google Reader it’s difficult to say precisely – I’m still recovering from that loss). I interviewed 10 food bloggers and surveyed more than 100 food blog readers. I baked and cooked a lot and blogged a bit. I cried probably a few times. And I watched the entire series of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager.
In short, my thesis investigates how food, as a topic of interest, is thriving in an online environment through recipe sharing on food blogs. It applies an ethnographic approach to online community studies, providing a rich description of the food blogging community. It demonstrates how food bloggers form community and uses a case study to examine the community in action. It highlights how long-held, offline traditions around food and recipe sharing and the role of taste in identity building have influenced how the food blogging community has formed and how it operates.
Through my research, I’ve shown how food blogs provide an insight into the eating habits of ‘ordinary’ people, in a more broad-based manner than traditional food-related media such as cookbooks. Beyond this, food blogs are part of wider cultural trends towards DIY, and provide a useful example of the ongoing transformation and evolution of food-related media, food culture, and indeed, culture more broadly.
I discuss the evolution of food-related media more specifically in my article Food Blogging and Food-related Media Convergence, published in M/C Journal.
So, thanks again to everyone who helped me through this process, in particular to the food blogging community, which still continues to surprise and entertain me and provide me with a wealth of recipes and food information.