The other day, I attended an event at Whole Foods (Bowery location) on 95 East Houston Street. As part of Social Media Week, they held an event titled “Whole Foods Market Presents: Afternoon Snack. A New York New Food Media Panel,” which featured a panel discussion on new food media landscape, along with free milk and cookies.
The panelists included:
- Liza Mosquito de Guia, Founder and Chief Storyteller, food. curated, (Twitter: SkeeterNYC)
- Cathy Erway, Not Eating Out in New York, (Twitter: cathyerway)
- Nick Fauchald, editor-in-chief, Tasting Table, (Twitter: tastingtable)
- Emily Fleischaker, Associate Multimedia Editor, Bon Appétit, (Twitter: emofly)
- Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, Food52, (Twitter: food52, amandaheeser, merrillstubbs)
- Nicole Taylor, host, Hot Grease, Heritage Radio Network, (Twitter: foodculturist)
Snacks and refreshments!
They had local whole milk and reduced-fat milk from Milk Thistle Farm. They also had non-dairy beverages like Almond Dream Almond Drink and the Whole Foods brand 365 Everyday Value Soy Milk. (Not sure if they noticed, but the sign said Almond Breeze which is a product from Blue Diamond, but they were actually serving Almond Dream Almond Drink.
It was my first time drinking almond milk. I’m lactose intolerant and I usually drink soy milk, but switching it up with another non-dairy option would be nice at times. I bought a carton of almond milk later that day.
There was a table filled with local cookies: Tate’s Bake Shop chocolate chip cookies, Aleia’s Gluten Free Cookies gluten free snickerdoodle cookies, and The Essential Cookie 100% Vegan gingersnap and chocolate chip cookies.
They had these environmentally-friendly plates from Verterra which are made from fallen leaves. They are biodegradable, compostable, and durable. They look really neat too!
There was interesting discussions on how social media is changing food writing, publishing, magazines, businesses, etc. New social media enables commenting, feedback, and more engagements between people whether it is about their dining experiences at restaurants, evaluations of products or brands, or recipes being posted on magazines/websites.
A few things:
Liza from Food Curated made a comment about social media being great for developing relationships and about learning who to trust for good ideas and feedback. This comment caught my attention. Trust and reputation in social online communities is a widely researched area, in terms of propagation of trust, trust metrics in recommendation systems, etc. There’s so much user generated content out there, discussion boards, video and photo feeds, restaurant reviews, movie reviews, items for sale, product reviews, etc. The question is who should you trust for the information they are providing?
There was a comment about how it is becoming easier for small food companies sell their quality food products. For example, on Foodzie, artisan businesses can sell their specialty goods. I’m always in the lookout for interesting, unique foods, especially the ones that aren’t as mainstream and harder to learn about.
Cathy from Not Eating Out in New York made a comment about how the real-life social aspect of food and dining shouldn’t be forgotten. I totally agree with that. I sometimes feel like with all these online social media, people are actually becoming less social.
I found this to be really neat. Amanda from Food 52 mentioned that last week they used Hot Potato (an online social collaboration tool) to run a virtual Sunday supper. The participants all cooked the same recipe at the same time. They took pictures and uploaded them to share with each other. She comments that it doesn’t replace cooking in a kitchen with people but it was a valuable community experience.
Nick from Tasting Table threw out many amusing metaphors throughout the discussion. One of them was that food writing is becoming more like being a potter. It’s generally more of a hobby for people now. It’s possible that it may turn into a career and if that’s happens, it’s great, but it’s generally becoming more difficult to make money from food writing. He then said something about everyone is handing out free milk and no one is buying the cows.
On the question of what’s the future for food writing, the panelists highlight the idea that there are forms of media and it’s not limited to simply writing. There’s also radio and video. It also involves finding a good niche to focus on, like hyperlocal.
During the panel discussion, they displayed the live tweets that people were tweeting relevant to the event. The hashtag for the event #smwnysnack. They also used this method to take questions from the crowd. I found the display of tweets to be a little distracting and amusing. I tweeted a few times and tried to take pictures while my tweet was on the screen.
It was a fun event and the discussion was very entertaining. I didn’t have the chance to stick around for too long after the event. The milk and cookies were yummy. I found a new interest in almond milk. I found some tasty local cookies. There’s so many more food-related sites to read and more foodies to subscribe to and follow on twitter. Hope I don’t hit information overload.
Links related to the event:
- Audio of the event posted by The Food Section
- Twitter commentary can be found on Hot Potato
- [… add relevant links here]