So… there’s this thing called blogging that I haven’t been doing much of late. I’ll spare you the details of the few reasons and multitude of excuses for now (perhaps fodder for another post). However, one of the things I did do during this time was to answer a few questions and provide some insight into my views on blogging and photography for Butter & Co., the blog of artisanal butter mastermind Pierre Issa from Pepe Saya.
Rather than make this just a “check out the interview here” sort of post (link available after the jump), one thing I’d like to explore involves one of the questions raised in the interview. Namely, what the future of social media is for food bloggers.
Note: For those of you who are not interested in food blogging and social media matters, feel free to jump straight to my interview on the Butter & Co. blog, where you’ll also find more food photos like the one above.
What is the future for social media, in this case food bloggers?
This was the question as it was presented in the interview. Until this interview, it wasn’t something I really thought all that much about. Naturally, you have your primary blogging platforms such as WordPress, Blogger and Tumblr. There are the foundational social media platforms of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as well that seem to be a common requisite for the vast majority of food bloggers. However, from there things vary considerably from blogger to blogger.
I like Pinterest for instance. It’s a good resource to use as a visual bookmark for recipes that I want to try out, as well as reference library for photos that I like or are inspired by. I’m on Urbanspoon, though mostly to push out links for restaurant review posts. There’s no social interaction beyond that. I still check in on Foursquare from time to time, though more out of habit than anything else. I’m not even really sure why, as Mayorships aren’t something I care much for and I’ve yet to receive any benefits from check-ins. It seems that I’d be better off using Facebook to check-in if I wanted to let people know where I’ve been.
For the photo-leaning restaurant reviewers, Foodspotting is an interesting app in that it focuses on individual dishes rather than restaurants as it is for the other review platforms. There also seems to be more social interaction here too. While there are communities of people you can interact with from around the globe, there’s also a small local community in Sydney, and I believe Melbourne as well, that hold social food gatherings from time to time. It’s an interesting community though whether or not it has any legs remains to be seen.
I’ve dabbled with YouTube and Viddy videos. For someone with an editing and processing OCD though, it takes a lot of commitment to post anything on there. I’ve always wanted to but effort. I’ve held back from joining Vine for the same reason. My own issues aside, I feel that we’ll be seeing more video content being produced by food bloggers as time goes on.
Then there is Google+. Ah, Google+. You adorable dork that I wish was more popular. The Mr. Nice Guy of social media who is fun to Hangout with and has what I consider to be the best image gallery system. People would fall in love with you if they just gave you a chance. However, you always lose out to that jerk Facebook. The one that people have a love-hate relationship with. The one that says that they respect your privacy but lets you down time and time again. You’ll bitch, you’ll grumble, you’ll say you’ll leave, you might even do so for a bit, but you’ll always come back because that’s who all your friends hang out with. There’s a history there that Google+ just doesn’t have.
In all seriousness though, one thing Google+ has going for it and the thing I think we’ll see more of are its Hangouts. While there seems to be a rather slow but increasing adoption of video and podcasting as an alternate or complementary source of content for food bloggers, the great advantage that Hangouts have over other forms of video podcasting is the live, interactive nature of it. Contributors and guests are able to interact with each other live without the need to be located in the same physical space, while instant feedback and timely questions can be received via text chat from the audience watching the Hangout stream live. Hangouts are a fabulous medium for participatory and instructional activities such as cook-a-longs, masterclasses, interviews and discussions. While it’s very much in its infancy when it comes to food blogging circles, Hangouts have been used extensively by photographers to great effect.
What are your thoughts regarding the future of social media for food bloggers? Are there any platforms that you use a lot or are excited about? Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think.
Also, make sure to check out my interview on Butter & Co. where I also give my view on the relationship between food bloggers and traditional media, talk about photography and more.