|Madame Fromage's iphone|
For the last three days, I have been holed up at the Poynter Institute in Florida, studying media trends. I can tell you a lot about Twitter demographics and cool projects at NPR (imagine a Pandora for news), but the question that came to mind as I flew home from Saint Petersburg last night was this:
How has social media affected cheese?
Three years ago when I started blogging, Twitter was still an infant, and the iphone had just been born. Here’s the scene today:
Cheese Apps: Through iphones and ipads, we can access scores of cheese-related apps, from beer-and-wine pairing guides to something called Dairy Ping, which allows users to pick up a jug of milk and locate the farm that produced it, along with sanitation information. Two apps stand out:
Fromage ($2.99) by Steve Welch offers descriptions of 750 cheeses and a function that allows you to keep notes on each one. One drawback: the design is lackluster and there is a lot of scrolling to be done.
Cheese Plate ($2.99) by Chronicle Books is essentially a Janet Fletcher hardcover in app form. The photos are gorgeous, and you can pull up a dozen or so cheese plates by theme, then tap the cheeses to learn more info. Pairing notes, however, are very limited.
What I’d like to see: regional cheese apps with interactive cheese maps that would guide users to local cheesemakers and cheese counters.
Cheese Tweets: Twitter is alive with cheesemongers, bloggers, and lobbying groups. Here are the folks leading active social media campaigns:
Culture Magazine (@culturecheese)
Wisconsin Cheese (@WisconsinCheese)
Blogger Kristen Jackson (@ItsBrieBlog)
Bloggers CheeseandChampagne (@curdwise)
Cheesemonger Tim Gaddis of Star Provisions (@TimTheCheeseMan)
InvestinCheese (@investincheese) delivers daily links and top stories.
What I’d like to see: more news from behind the counter. What cheeses are in stock? What cheeses are in season? Why don’t more cheese counters tweet tasting notes?
Feeling lost? Don't panic. Over the next few weeks, I'll try to post more about this phenomenon. Until then, here is your assignment: check out some apps, stalk a monger on Twitter, and let me know if you think social media improves your cheese life. For a quick glimpse of cheese talk on Twitter, check out Trendistic. Surely, we can do better than this!