Time was, when you needed a recipe for the perfect chocolate chip cookie or a savory meatloaf you picked up the phone and called mom, or grandmom or even aunt Ethel. But times change and all those people who you once could call are now too busy leading active lives to be bothered with your mundane domestic chores. So instead, if you’re like millions of other people, you’re surfing the Internet looking for a recipe.
That’s right, the greater Internet, and specifically, the Social Web, has taken the place of dear old mom when it comes to what we eat. There are sites like Facebook where users can exchange recipes, special ingredients and exotic dishes. This is the most likely source of information for many of us. After all, there are currently 900 million people from around the globe using Facebook each month. That makes it one heck of a cookbook.
But beyond Facebook there are now a host of niche sites which specialize in helping foodies find delightful dishes to whet their appetites. Sites like Foodspotting and FoodCandy are designed around people who share a common interest in food. They help people share recipes, flavors, spices; favorite places to eat, favorite dishes, favorite whatever, so long as it’s edible. these sites also allow users to share photos, videos, files, whatever helps they get their point across.
As Facebook seeks global dominance, social media in general is being adopted by more people looking to specialize their interaction. In this regard niche sites hold more allure than a one-size-fits-all approach. This is good for the Social Web and even better for businesses that are trying to garner notice in the ocean of social media interaction.
Instead of recipes boxes, people turn to the opinions of trusted bloggers or web sites who’ve created a much larger recipe collection for them (ahem, The Daily Meal). Filtering through these curated recipes allows users a much larger pool to choose from, where they can create their own virtual recipe box that can then be promoted via social media sites. These food experiences can be “Tweeted,” “Liked,” or “Pinned” and shared with friends, families, and followers. Many even find favorite food photos or recipes through via these social media outlets.
In the same vein, photos of food seem to be almost as common as photos of companions while traveling. Why? So the delicious meals that were experienced can be shared (or showed off). Instead of just trusting a magazine or cookbook author as the expert, the web has made experts out of consumers through the creation of user-generated web sites like Food52, the vast network of bloggers, and the power of user ratings on popular sites.