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Social Media and Me (more than 140 characters and photos)

July 13, 2011 by Joan Nova in Blogging, Florida | 25 Comments

What I’ve gotten from Social Media is PRICELESS! I found great support and appreciation for my work; I’ve gained knowledge, inspiration and occasional LOLs; I’m never at a loss for restaurant recommendations in unknown areas; I get sales alerts and special offers; I get leads for all sorts of things of interest; and I found tech advice and the answer to any question is generally just a tweet away. I can’t tell you how many times I went on twitter with a panicky question about something technical and got a resolution in minutes! Then there’s ‘search lists’. That’s how I stay plugged into whatever is currently on my mind. These days it’s Tuscany.

And, best of all, I made friends. Lots of virtual ones in places all over the globe…and real, huggable ones to enjoy life with locally.

Early development of social media began in 2004-2006 although the 2 giants (twitter and facebook) aren’t considered to have gone ‘mainstream’ until September 2009. I was shocked to read that statistic! Why? Because that’s when little old me got involved — and I thought I was late to the party.

Who knew I was cutting edge?

Shortly after I started FOODalogue, I went to social media to help promote the blog. I recall not liking it at first. Not at all. Especially Facebook. But, my perserverance was rewarded.

I think I now like Facebook better because of the more visual experience.

For purposes of this post, I tried to find my virgin tweet (I know it must have been lame, they still are!). But after a half-hour of slow (make that verrry slow) downward scrolling through my tweets, I got tired. Though I originally thought I’d have nothing to say, according to my twitter profile, I’ve tweeted 3,962 times. I have 1,160 followers, but only follow 347 back. On facebook I have 250 friends, but there’s a lot of crossover.

You don’t have to follow everyone that follows you.

What many people don’t know is that you, the user, are in total control.

You choose who you follow, who follows you, and what personal information is shared.

You learn to choose wisely based on the value of comments. I follow foodies, photogs, travel gurus, some publications and news sources, and techies/social media pros.

Because of Social Media, more specifically in this case http://meetup.com, I just started studying “the art of seeing” with Jack Wild, a Master Photographer. We’re talking fine art photography, travel, sports, celebrity (the likes of Lady Di and Hollywood celebs). And while I’ve only just recently gone off “auto” myself, I’m totally inspired to do better.

I’ve also participated in a few free blogging and photography tutorial programs that I would not have known about if it weren’t for twitter or facebook.

I love continuing education.

I don’t specifically remember my first few forays into the pool but shortly after joining twitter (and later facebook) to promote my blog and interact with other bloggers, I started to search for ‘local’ foodies. I think it began by following @dinemag because I knew Katy, the publisher, was well-connected to the South Florida food scene.

That was a very wise decision!

Through events that Katy promoted via #tastecasting and #dinemag, I got invited to some very nice places where I dined well and met chefs (like Todd English). And, most importantly, I made new friends like @4theloveoffood @gcasale @foodiechic @SFLFoodandWine @ildivomiami @barefootcount @ergagit @wokstar. And that initial core group grew exponentially with each event to an even larger community on facebook and real life, called SoFL Foodies, which now boasts 349 members!

Over the past 2 years, we’ve gotten together in quite a few restaurants for some fabulous chefs’ tasting dinners and occasionally in each other’s homes for parties or pot-lucks, a few of which I’ve featured here before. Do you remember my Waka Waka African dinner party for Project Food Blog? Or that great Peruvian restaurant in Miami? Among others.

Ain’t we got fun?

And…if all that wasn’t exciting enough, SoFLFoodies spawned a sub-group called winewithfooddammit! I attended my first event this past Sunday — a Tasting of the Rosés — and had a great time! I’ll be telling you about it soon.

What about you? Have you had a similar experience? What have your tweets done for you?

NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!

25 Comments

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  1. Londa says:

    Very nice Joan. Social Media has been really a great place for all of us to meet and share ideas

  2. Hmmm…I’m glad you’ve gained a lot out of it Joan. I find having a blog hard enough. But I suppose it’s a two way street. Both can co exist and I suppose a necessary “must”. I also think social media can work both ways.. I tend to see myself more of a consumer. (always lurking and checking things out). Thanks for letting us know your perspective. I believe things can only get bigger…

  3. bellini says:

    I have not really utilized twitter at all Joan. With all the connections you have made it seems that it is something I need to look into more.

  4. I love it! I admire you so much for getting out there and going for it! And, not to mention getting some awesome pics along the way, in which you just look beautiful in each one! ( I mean that in a friendly, non stalker way, BTW) You go, girlfriend! :)

  5. maude Eaton says:

    It all starts with one tweet! Look where we (the South Florida Foodies) are now…. Social Media is the cutting edge of how we now interact with one another. I too have met fabulous and passionate foodies from all over the globe. I am grateful… It all boils down to you get what you give!

    I look forward to expanding my circle of global friends and having “Foodie” groups spawn all over the world! ViVa Social Media.

    Thank you for sharing Joan.

  6. Jen says:

    Love the photos Joan! Great trip down our social media memory lane! ;)

  7. Robin Sue says:

    Clever title and wonderful photos! I think once you do sit down and analyze this thing called social media, we can see how much our lives have been made more rich with new friends, opportunities, and experiences. I am glad we met back years ago on problogger. I enjoy reading about your food and travels and am inspired by your creativity with matching flavors, textures, and color in your dishes. I also appreciate the support and help you have given me. Great post Joan!

  8. Social media has paved the way for all of us food bloggers. What great photos. Looks like you’re having a blast!

  9. Gail says:

    That is a great piece Joan! Connecting with food and wine junkies [like myself] at home, across the country and around the world has brought so much joy into my life, because of the dear friends I now have, to share the passion. I am so grateful that you are one of them. Cheers!

  10. There you are with Todd English. I’ve read he has a restaurant in Boca. You ARE well connected Joan.

    I really admire what you’ve accomplished.
    Sam

  11. Mary says:

    It is amazing how quickly this medium has grown. Your photos are wonderful and you’ve obviously made a lot of friends.Have a great evening. Blessings…Mary

  12. Katie says:

    I’ve been on Facebook for several years, but I just signed up for a Twitter account last year. I resisted using Twitter because I felt that it was just going to be another time-suck, but admittedly, I’ve really grown to love it! I catch up on news, the latest in my profession, I connect with other expats in Argentina, and of course, I get the scoop on all sorts of foodie-related blogs, websites, etc. Twitter definitely keeps me informed!

  13. Jacqueline says:

    Good for you Joan and what a nice bunch of friends you have because of it.

  14. norma says:

    I must take time out and look for a meet up. Believe it or not, I have tried to organize some get togethers and I find that by me its very hard. Maybe you can give me more pointers than you do already. You do give a lot of yourself Joan….

  15. I agree Joan, I’ve also met people from all over the world and have been invited to write about their town and even invited by an artist in Italy with an offer of a day of sculpture classes if I would write about her village. In fact food blogging is how I met you. Thanks for the reminder of how much fun blogging can be and expecially the wonderful people you meet.

    This group of people looks like a fun and food loving group.

  16. Eleanor Hoh says:

    You are my role model, Joan esp. as we share a no-recipe technique! Thx for mention, so honored to be your social media buddy. You hit it on the head how SM connects us in seconds. Your foray into the unknown have reaped lots of opportunities for you and totally well deserved. Keep it up.

  17. Joan: aren’t you a busy bee??? with social networking there is all to gain. It is very time consuming though, so kudos to you for finding the time and the right way to leverage it!

  18. redkathy says:

    Ha Ha Social Media you say?? Who me :)
    FB is definitely not my choice. Feel as though it’s a must for any blogger and therefore I use it sparingly.

    My preference is twitter as you know. Learned an immeasurable amount about blogging from super bloggers all over the world.

    I just got into Google +. I like VERY much more than FB. Been reading and browsing. I do believe it will be quite beneficial to the business minded and brands.

    You know with all the free tools out there, social media time can be cut way back and be very effective.

    The thing is to be like you Joan, connect with like minded people and continue to communicate via ones preferred platform! We never know where it may lead us.

    have a great weekend Joan!

  19. Joan, I’ll be honest I haven;t tweeted as much as I should have – I haven’t gotten into the fact that it is conversation….of a different sort. I do agree that things grow and new beginnings (and great ones too) are born!!!! I love the photos and the journey

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