The Excellent Potential of #TwitterMoments
Last week, Twitter released its newest feature (or “experiment” if you’re drinking the current Kool-Aid): Moments. Twitter users in the US see a new option on the web and mobile interfaces that highlights trending, newsworthy, and important stories. Speaking as someone who used to work at Twitter (four formative and long years ago when things were different), this product is a fantastic way to show the value of Twitter to a new user or to someone who might otherwise be confused by the product. It’s basically a Cliff’s Notes version of what’s happening on the service. Stories are selected by a team of curators and updated often using the BuzzFeed “Paris cafe” model (BuzzFeed founder Jonah Peretti has talked about this approach in interviews often: consider all the different things you’d experience while sitting in a cafe in Paris: serious news stories and conversation; great street style; perhaps a cute puppy rolling around on the sidewalk. Then use this approach for packaging content and delivering it to the reader. A lot of media outlets do this now.)
What does this have to do with restaurants and technology? Nothing, yet. But I’m personally intrigued by the idea of what Moments could be for food, lifestyle, and chef/restaurant content. Highly possible I’m a little too excited by this… experiment, but Moments = Twitter asserting itself as an established content platform -> diversifying the content it packages for users -> creating interest-based content buckets that allow chefs and restaurants to craft their own narratives to deliver to an interested user base. For early adopters and power users, this has been Twitter’s utility for years; for the rest of its engaged user base, lifestyle-based Moments could be awesome. I hope this is the direction the company plans to take its new product, and I look forward to seeing well-curated and intelligent stories promoted to interested users. (#nopressure)
“That’s Not Food, It’s Stupid”
Finally. Finally! Can we all agree on this please? Perhaps because this piece is penned by a writer whose website and brand pushes out Instagram image after Instagram image of restaurant-plated dishes. To read: The Infatuation’s Chris Stang on the proliferation of extreme food on Instagram for publicity’s sake.
His piece, bordering on a rant but founded in solid logic, explains the issue: it takes more than a nice-looking plate of food to get the people (millennials) talking on the internet. It takes shock value; something over the top; a ridiculous, publicity-seeking dish that can wow in an image. (It’s like the visual distillation of the cronut two years ago.) It’s the kale of 2010; the bacon of 2007. And it is ridiculous.
“So what does this all mean? It means that if you are a business who makes its money by selling food and you plan to market yourself via Instagram, you had better be ready to play the game. Time to stock up on some eggs and sprinkles, and put them on fucking everything. Maybe even buy some lobsters.”
“This is simply my public wish that we all decide right now to agree that some things are food, and some things are just stupid.” Yes. Thank you.
Eater’s Ryan Sutton on No More Tips at Danny Meyer Restaurants (and lots more.)
There’s a big scoop on Eater today: Danny Meyer is eliminating tipping at his restaurants and raising prices to “raise wages, save the hospitality industry, and forever change how diners dine.” In a well-reported piece by Ryan Sutton, and presented in a cool, clickable seven-point series, the piece details what Union Square Hospitality Group is doing, and why they’re doing it.
This is not a ticketing system, which is the same but different in that you pay a fixed, tip-free price for your dining experience. But this eliminates tipping without dealing with a reservation, ticketing, or other pay-ahead system. It’s a fundamental (and not necessarily tech-y) change in the way that consumers pay for their meal. It’s a very bold move.
The thing that gives this story a tech angle is the way the writer and editor used Twitter to round out the story. @qualityrye explained why he cares about the story, sharing his own experience as a waiter navigating the unpredictable tip-based-wages waters. Editor @hels explained her approach to editing and packaging the story. Overall, it gives the reporting more transparency, more context, and a serious personal and human touch that might have otherwise gone unnoticed. This is so great.
Every US Brewery, Mapped
This is the important stuff. In case of an emergency where you must find the closest brewery to you at any given point in the US, one Washington Post writer has you covered. Using data from “GPS enthusiasts,” he mapped the data in a way to show you which brewery is closest to your location at any given time. (View it here.)
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