Is food forum becoming dinosaur?

#1

A recent viewpoint from a member posting in the Asia board.

What is your view point on this? Is food forum getting insignificant because of FB, Instagram etc?

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#2

Yes, I do find this board vital and more importantly, a whole lot of fun.

I may be the only person on the planet not on Facebook. While I’m on Instagram, I find that the bursts of information I get there are not as robust as what you get on a blog (ETA: or food board). I follow several food folks on Instagram, but to get the full - and often richer - story, I prefer visiting their blogs.

Plus hashtags make me batty.

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(equal opportunity eater in the NC Triangle) #3

I don’t think I would use the term “insignificant”. But I do think those other platforms have significantly decreased participation on forums.

I follow a lot of forums & blogs, etc. that are not food related. I’ve noticed that many contributors have switched to formats that have the possibility of being monetized. Their forum posts have become a tease to direct people to their other posting platforms.

I find this unfortunate on many levels. I appreciate a forum that creates community. While participating in that community you begin to find trusted voices that aid in your own exploration. Within this environment you can help build a significant reference source.

It seems blogs often have a relatively short lifespan. Life happens and a once prolific blogger no longer has the time or interest to continue. A forum is not reliant on just one persons passion. Members leave and new members arrive to carry on the conversation.

I’ve seen blogs end because the author finds Instagram, Facebook, etc. easier to keep up with. But part of what makes those platforms easier is their lack of facilitating depth. Unfortunately I think that will continue - we seem to be turning into a world that can only process information in brief, shallow bites. This is a loss both now and for the future.

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(John Hartley) #4

I think there’s been a fairly fast decline in the use of food forums. To the extent that there is now really nothing by way of an active forum in the UK. A number of local boards have closed completely and other wider boards, like egullet and Chowhound, which had UK boards are now pretty much inactive. For example, the last post to Chowhound’s UK board was 2 months ago. Egullet used to have quite an active UK board with mainly Britons as contributors. Now it gets the occasional post from American tourists visiting London.

I think there are a couple of significant reasons for this. Many folk who used to post reviews to forums have moved to having their own blogs. And, of course, the likes of Facebook groups now provide the environment to discuss food which, previously, would have been on a forum. I am a dinosaur - not on Facebook or have my own blog - so I continue to post reviews to HO’s UK board. It is, generally, a lonely endeavour and one I have seriously considered stopping

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#5

All FB. An audience of mult millions.
I’m on
4 different KC ones that combined have 30000+ members and those are just the ones I’m on.
Even here in tiny Town we have seen several.
But this place is fun because you’re all Cool cand I like reading everyone’s opinions as opposed to scrolling and scrolling.

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(Denise) #6

Such insightful observations. I agree that the sense of community is missing from the big social platforms like Facebook, where algorithms influence what you see and when. I don’t feel as if I am but a cog providing “user-generated content” for someone else’s benefit here, which enables the underlying business model of those big platforms.

HO and the posters here do make this a place for community, which I appreciate.

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#7

I’ve been active in eGullet French regional forum from around 2004 till maybe around 2009 or 2010, when most members were starting to flee. Those days I was a lurker. I remember in early 2000s, food was still a relatively new subject for blogs, you need to have interesting writing and good photography skills, it was more in the hands of passionates, most of those early birds, they got some success and got involved in professional food activities.

Nowadays, personal blogs become like a CV, people got involved making it interesting for 2-3 years, then maybe they found a job in the field and they vanished. These days, I seldom follow a blog, but only read some random posts, even from established food writers or critics. On Instagram, Pinterest or FB, the involvement is different. On CH, the Parisian board is more active with the few eGullet members I knew before, but nowadays the forum is mostly for tourist enquiry, no substantial restaurant posting. I believe people will retreat to their blog, FB or Instagram for monetary returns etc.

Well, it is true that with the largely successful European board on HO, sometimes I wonder too why continue to write restaurant reviews. Personally, I believe that I learn from some members here in other boards or threads, I may be able to be helpful in by contributing back in other areas. Of course another reason, I find it is a pretty good way to archive and find restaurants notes, since I tend to forget things quickly as a not very organised person.

I guess I like the old school forum side of community talk.

I’ve tried to ask some personal foodie friends to join HO, most of them were not interested, they prefer to talk on their FB or Instagram.

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(Miss_belle) #8

I don’t Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or blog etc. Just HO for now. I’m an old dinosaur. Guess you could say I subscribe to the old adage that less is more.

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#9

Chowhound’s wounds were self inflicted, I gave up on them after they wrecked the site.

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(Jimmy ) #10

I lament the passing of UrbanSpoon. I was an enthusiastic contributor.
I always thought the content it grew for regional cuisines in the U.S. was far better than Yelp.

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(John Hartley) #11

Agreed. And it’s useful way of showing a review online to a friend or family member who has asked about a meal we’ve had. I’ve continued to also post to Tripadvisor, for the same reason of making it available online - I started to do that when I stopped using HO (or was it CH) for a few months.

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#12

This is interesting. I use tripadvisor usually with the help with other supports (reviews, blog, forum) to determine if the restaurant is worth visiting or not. I never thought of posting there unless it is a good restaurant I really want to help out, I’ve considered posting once or twice in La fourchette or The fork… but I gave up. Anyway that new small restaurant was a husband and wife team that I wanted to help out had good food, very interesting tasting meal, but no clients, it was heart breaking to see that. A year later, their consistence and hard work got themselves rewarded for 1 star Michelin, I was very glad for them.

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(John Hartley) #13

Tripadvisor can be very flawed but, more often than not, it’s the only source of information when travelling

The flaws are well known - I’ve never been able to work out how it lists, say, the “top ten” for an area. By way of example, if I look at Manchester (the city at the centre of my metro area, I have not even heard of eight of the ten listings and have only eaten in one of the other two - and none would make the top ten of any local foody.

But it means that, if I’m visiting a smal town in, say, the USA, it gives me a starting point to then see if I can find menus, blogs, etc.

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#14

I agree the flawed part of TA, but a good restaurant rarely gets a note of less than 4 stars. So this gives a basic indication like a guide. By the way, I don’t understand why Google’s and FB’s score is usually higher than TA.

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(Denise) #15

Yes to this.

Do you ever check out the Trip Advisor forums for a destination where you are traveling? Depending on the destination and the forum’s participants, it’s possible to get current though quite basic intel about local restaurants from people who either live in the community or travel there regularly. The TA forums are hit and miss, though when they work I have gotten some useful tips by posting questions. I have done this for beach destinations so at least I would know where to begin with scouting out restaurants.

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(Andrea) #16

Arent we all the dinosaurs though? What’s the average age here, at least 40 or 50?

Maybe the kids these days aren’t into posting and writing, just scrolling and liking.

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(John Hartley) #17

Yes. And as you suggest, it can be very hit and miss. Until recently, I used to contribute to one for a tourist destination in Spain favoured by many British tourists. In several years active participation, I don’t think I’ve ever had a really good restaurant recommendation, directly on the forum. . Now, I’ve no wish to sound snobbish about this but many contributors regard a “good” place as somewhere that serves very big portions and is cheap. Of course, I came to know a couple of other contributors who seemed to enjoy the same sort of meals as I do and they have given good recommendations in messages. But I think that’s the nature of any restaurant discussion - if someone mentions a place and you go and enjoy it, you’re likely to go and try the next place they recommend.

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(John Hartley) #18

So, I’ve just looked at the Tripadvisor reviews for the place that I have heard of but havent eaten there.

The last eleven reviews are all from people making their first post. All praise the place. And all mention the same two members of staff, by name and using fairly similar language. This is not new for that place - I’ve looked in the past and seen similar first posts. No way are any of these genuine, IMO.

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#19

I completely mistrust Tripadvisor. The Shed at Dulwich is reason enough. But, a few years ago when my wife and I took a trip to Amsterdam, we went to 4 restaurants that I found through Tripadvisor! We enjoyed them all. In one of them, we started talking to the couple at the next table. They asked us how we found Amsterdam’s best fish restaurant: Visaandeschelde

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#20

As someone who isn’t 40 yet but plan to get there (if I play my cards right, as my dad would say). I am REALLY hoping that 40 is not considered dinosaur age!

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