|David Lebovitz, Trang Minh Lê Bozon, Elodie Fagan, Lindsey Tramuta and Ann Mah.|
The guy at the back is probably tweeting about the event!
For the past week, I've been inhabiting the genteel world of Grantham Estate, where people dress for dinner and are reluctant to use that new fangled contraption, the telephone. Unable to pull myself away from the addictive British television series, Downton Abbey, I watched episode after episode in rapid succession and was struck by how many letters were written and received. Studying the characters' faces for signs of joy or grief as they opened yet another envelope, I wondered if the news was good or bad.
"What's Eating Paris", a social media and food event at the American University last night, brought me back to the fast-paced world of blogging, facebook and Twitter, where good and bad news travels around the globe in seconds rather than weeks. Listening to the panel of well-known food bloggers, Lindsey Tramuta, David Lebovitz and Ann Mah, discuss their thoughts on blogging versus community websites, like Yelp and Trip Advisor, gave me much to think about in terms of this blog.
When asked why someone would use their blog over a community website to locate a good restaurant in Paris, all of the bloggers felt that people are looking for someone whose opinion they trust because they've developed a relationship with the blogger. David Lebovitz mentioned that readers have more confidence in someone if they know that the blogger doesn't have an agenda and doesn't write sponsored posts. In response to the question of how bloggers foster these feelings, Lindsey responded that she tries to give a little bit of herself in each post so that people know that there's a real person behind the blog. According to her, recounting personal anecdotes helps create an identifiable voice, while David revealed that his readers have even seen the inside of his bathroom.
Even though the expat bloggers and Elodie Fagan from Yelp Paris were somewhat reluctant to share statistics about the number of people who visit their websites, they all agreed that having a facebook fan page and a Twitter account help increase a blog's traffic.
It's early in the morning and I'm getting ready to head out for the day, but I'm sure that my mind will continue to process much of what I heard last night as I consider what changes I should make to this blog. From time to time, I receive emails with feedback, both positive and negative, about its content and/or layout. If you have any thoughts on something that I should do differently, please write a comment. It would be helpful to have a dialogue about what works and what doesn't - not only about this blog but about blogs in general.
Questions I have for myself: How much do I want to share about my life on the internet? Aren't people more interested in learning about Paris than me anyway? Am I too old to blog, Tweet and have a facebook account? How can I create a sense of community? More words, fewer words? More photos, less photos? and it goes on and on...
"What's Eating Paris" Panel (from left to right):
Ann Mah - journalist, author and blogger. Ann Mah
Elodie Fagan - community manager for "Yelp Paris". Yelp Paris
David Lebovitz - pastry chef, author and blogger. David Lebovitz
Lindsey Tramuta - writer, blogger and cookie maker supreme. Lost in Cheeseland
Click here to see a video recording of the panel discussion.