Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Food & Social Media

How is social media being used by people in the food community? Be it bloggers, restaurants, food manufacturers, etc. This was the topic tonight at a panel discussion hosted by the Sacramento Social Media Club.

They did a great job of pulling a variety of panelists. Liz Conant and Brittany Mohr represented SacFoodies.com and their employer, the marketing agency of Fleishman Hillard. They represented the perspective of blogging and also of marketing using social media for some of their clients. Garret McCord, my friend at Vanilla Garlic, represented food writing for his blog and also as a contributor to Simply Recipes and Edible Sacramento. Elaine Baker is the pastry chef for the Grange and has a blog. She provided a restaurant/chef perspective. Coral Henning was representing Slow Food Sacramento.

First question was about current trends. There is definitely a rise in dietary specific blogs and sites such as gluten-free, vegetarian, etc. They also mentioned the newest social media type, location based services such as FourSquare and GoWalla. These I can't really comment on myself since I don't use them yet. But I'm sure I will when I get my new Droid pda next month.

They talked for a while about on reviewing restaurants via blogs and on customer review sites such as Yelp. It was generally agreed that honest, thoughtful reviews with constructive criticism are appreciated whereas slamming, bitchy reviews are unnecessary. Elaine commented that it is also important to get your facts straight. Don't be criticizing about a dish saying that it had certain ingredients when you get it wrong because you don't remember the correct ingredients.

Suggestions of helpful sites for new food bloggers were also given. Some sites teach about food writing, photography, and video. I'll add those sites into this post as resources at the bottom.

At the end I met some new area food bloggers which I've added to our networking group. I also ran into Dina, someone who grew up with me in Saudi Arabia (a year or so ahead of me in school).

Everyone got samples of Pinkberry yogurt afterwards. They are opening about seven stores throughout the area. The yogurt was good and they said that it is all non-fat and all-natural. It was, but I still have my first love of Yogurtagogo.


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