Adjusting Review Formats for Coffee.net

Categories: news,restaurants — Tags: , — Posted by: Grant @ March 24, 2008 : 1:03 am

I never started out as a fan of blogs. To this day, I’m still a late adapter to the field. One of the reasons is that I’ve always wondered how many things can happen in one day that deserve blogging. That’s when I came up with the two posts per day rule. The rule is that if you make two blog posts a day, they had better be meaningful. Otherwise, you’re at risk of writing for the sake of your own ego.

This is my second post today, so it hopefully I abide by my own rules.

I had just finished reading an article on how to write well that made me think about the styles we use on Coffee.net. I’m in charge of coding and business, Steve does the graphics and legal paperwork while Bryan (now part-time) is our science and non-profit expert. You’ll notice I fail to mention writing as any of our core skills.

The fact is that chefseattle.com is a lightweight operation and employs no genuine writers. We’ve been winging it so far in the hopes that we don’t completely make fools out of ourselves. We do however have a part time editor, Jule, who is slowly catching up with our existing articles- let alone restaurant reviews. Restaurant reviews are the core of Coffee.net, so it’s important for us to develop a cohesive scheme that is both informative, entertaining and readable. I’m quite frank when I say that we’ve never quite developed a true game plan for the format of the reviews.

Some of our reviews are in the first person while others are in the third person. Some are summaries while others are detailed experiences. Some are humorous while others are just the facts. Having read more about internet habits, it’s apparent that readers prefer skimming short snippets as opposed to reading long-winded articles. In addition, readers want to be entertained, rather than buried under facts. The claim of short attention span on the internet holds true, for better or for worse.

I also realize that we were trying to go about things the wrong way. We are simply outclassed if we attempt to mimic the format of traditional print, with stylish stories from Providence Cicero of the PI or Frank Bruni of the New York Time. At the same time, we’re not fans of the bite sized reviews that leave so much to be desired. This leaves a format somewhere in the middle, that delivers selectable and digestible bits of information. Finding the right balance of how to deliver that information however, is the million dollar question.

There will certainly be another Coffee.net brainstorming session on how to format our reviews (again). Hopefully we will figure out something that everyone likes. In the meantime, we appreciate your patience and apologize while we try to bring cohesion to our dinner plates.

1 Comment »

  1. Very true! Makes a change to see soenome spell it out like that. :)

    Comment by Biana — April 13, 2011 @ 11:47 am

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