18 Feb
Social Media Week | Social Networking and Building Community Around Food

Almost Good Enough to Eat: Food Communities and Social Media

The “Weekly Wrap Up” post is published every Friday and highlights the concluding week’s activities and events through text, images and video. I hope you enjoy and encourage you to subscribe via RSS and/or Email.

Last week was Social Media Week. In 9 cities across the world, social media enthusiasts, gurus, ninjas and the like gathered to discuss some trending topics in the real world instead of online. Whether you attended lectures via livestream webcasts or in person, each event provided the audience with valuable insights into current industry trends. Throughout this week I hope to recap a few of the specific sessions I was able to fit into my schedule.

I look forward to providing my readers who were unable to attend a look into what was discussed and others, who were fortunate enough to be present, my perspective and takeaways from the panels. I hope you enjoy and encourage your feedback in the comments section below.

This week I wrote posts on engaging audiences and creative storytelling in the digital age as well as how to harness the power of social media to promote offline events. However, Social Media Week was so much more than I could cover in a week’s worth of blog posts. There were over 30,000 physical attendees of Social Media Week in nine cities around the world. With over 600 individual events to choose from with 1,800 speakers, there were a lot of conversations. SocialMediaWeek.org kept track of all the offline events and online attendees – allowing for a staggering 180,000 unique visitors to experience what the event had to offer.

In today’s post, I plan on discussing how these same digital tools enable marketers to build communities around Americans’ favorite activity: eating. The goal of this lecture, titled “Almost Good Enough to Eat: Food Communities and Social Media,” was to shed light on the growth of food communities, whether they are blogs, food-trucks or social applications (Foodily/FoodSpotting). The panel was made up of representatives from all aspects of the industry:

Moderator:

  • Sarah De Heer, Community Manager of AOL’s KitchenDaily and Slashfood

Speakers:

  • Rebecca P. Bauer, Executive Digital Editor from Food & Wine Magazine
  • Colin Sterling from Huffington Post Food
  • Hillary Mickell, CMO/ Co-Founder, Foodily
  • Sarah Simmons, In-House Chef, Foursquare

“More than ever, social media has allowed us to see, discuss, make and even taste some of our favorite foods.  This panel discussion explores the social nature of food and how food communities online grow and prosper.”
Event Description

The two hour discussion took place at Hearst Tower and ranged from how to integrate social networking websites into corporate and personal blogs to the best methods for an amateur foody to connect with respected industry experts. Needless to say, I did not feel the conversation aligned with the event description.

I personally believe that food is meant to bring people together. The act of eating food is very communal; I enjoy my food with a side of social interaction! However, it is hard to share that experience with my online network. They cannot taste the breakfast I am enjoying right now (egg-white omelet with onions, peppers and broccoli – in case you were wondering). So, why not encourage bringing the conversation offline?

Meet at a restaurant, host a wine tasting, or cook together! I don’t feel that writing about food, creating it in your home kitchen, sharing recipes, or anything of the sort represents the food industries’ best use of modern technology… Whatever the next big thing in food is, it hasn’t happened yet. Stop trying to get my fridge to tweet and make technology useful – connect food lovers across the globe and enable more than the sharing of ideas; make it tangible.

Anyone have suggestions?