Tag Archives: Foodie

Essay #2

       Self-branding and online identities have become a common topic in everyday conversations in recent years, especially with the omnipresence of popular social media sites like Instagram. Despite this topic even being a common theme over the course of my Communications degree, I had never honestly considered the benefits that I myself could have by constructing a strong online brand in this digital age. “Many people think that personal branding is just for celebrities such as Paris Hilton or Britney Spears, yet each and every one of us is a brand. Personal branding, by definition, is the process by which we market ourselves to others” (Schawbel, 2009). Publishing 101 served as a strong pedagogical narrative by which I learned not only about the changes in the world of publishing, but also about the ways in which we can now publish ourselves, and the benefits (or even downfalls, when done incorrectly) that may arise from these online publications. Throughout the course of this essay, I will first address the ways in which this course has shifted the way in which I think about publishing, and further, how these new ways of publishing have worked their way into my online presence over the course of this semester. Following this, I intend to specifically address my online self and publication, not only referencing my blog but also my social media platforms. Lastly, I acknowledge my goals going forward, including what I aim to take with me beyond the confines of this course.

       It would be erroneous to claim that I hadn’t considered online works to count as publishing prior to the start of this semester. Of course, tangible books are the obvious thing that comes to mind when someone mentions “publishing,” but it goes far beyond that. Having said this, I didn’t the extent of which publishing expanded to. Publishing is not only online works and articles as well as tangible books; it is further embodied by anything that gets put out to the public, including social media posts and – of course – blogs. “Publishing” is has many definitions, but has come to be best defined as “the dissemination of literature, music, or information—the activity of making information available to the general public” (Wikipedia). While Wikipedia is generally not the best source for correct information, other acclaimed dictionaries are still stuck in the ways of defining publishing as being limited to formal publications that are for sale, which we have come to know is simply not the case.

       As mentioned above, publishing encompasses any online works that we “publish” or make available to the public, including any blog posts or social media posts. As Alive Marwick states, “the logic of marketing and advertising embedded in social software has infiltrated the ways in which we relate to ourselves and to others,” and that we “[use] social media as a neoliberal technology of subjectivity that produces social status as the ultimate commodity” (Marwick, 2013). In other words, we live in a world where we have technologies at our fingertips that allow us to market ourselves, our products, and how we ultimately wish others to view us. Throughout the course, we learned of how wide the span of publishing is now, and how we can use these new technologies tour advantage. Though I am nowhere near the status of being a “micro-celebrity” or Instagram celebrity (nor do I aim to be), I can now recognize that our online presence can be extremely useful one way or another. Even if you’re not trying to become famous in one way or another, marketing yourself as a brand online can be a valiant tool in this digital age.

       With regards to both my social media presence as well as my blog, I found the focus throughout the semester on the importance of identifying an audience and a brand to be largely advantageous. In the early weeks of the semester, I decided my blog was going to be a foodie blog which what chronicle my adventures to various restaurants around Metro Vancouver and write about my experiences. Identifying my audience, I learned, was one of the first major steps I had to take. In a process post I wrote, I identified my intended target audience to be foodies in the Vancouver area. I added that I don’t necessarily imagine there to be a specific age demographic, but likely people out of high school, perhaps young adults in general. This is mainly because high school students may not be interested in food blogs, cooking, and so forth, and may not have the means to go to far-out restaurants. In “Publics and Counterpublics” (2002), Michael Warner addresses that if you are reading his essay, “you are part of its public.” Warner goes on to say that there is a difference between thepublic and apublic (Warner, 2002). Warner describes the public as a ‘totality’: an all-inclusive description of the general amount of people, whereas a public is more specific, like an audience. Therefore, the people frequenting my blog would be a specific public or audience, likely visiting to check out restaurants they may be interested in.

       It is important to recognize your audience and public in order to market it to those specific people and thus further your success and your clout. “Any technology gradually creates a totally new human environment. Environments are not passive wrappings but active processes” (Campbell, 2009); each platform or domain may have a different audience and environment, and must me marketed as such. How I market and design my online self and presence on my Instagram page differs in the way in which I design my blog, as I have identified different audiences for the two. My personal Instagram features more artistic photos of self-exploitation, encompassing the best parts of my ‘self.’ Conversely, my blog markets itself to my (assumingly) foodie audience, and thus my posts tempt to embody food, Vancouver culture, and often an attempted humor. Furthermore, more online publications look to provide a service to their audience in one way or another. Ensuring that the basic service functions of one’s website or publication is an important element to consider because your audience will likely not return if they aren’t able to find what they are looking for. As I briefly touched on in the previous paragraph, my blog seeks to satisfy the service of reviewing restaurants (as well as local food and beverage in general) in the Greater Vancouver area.

       Through an immense and tedious 10-week-long trial and error process, I finally settled on a simplistic layout, removing the (apparently) tacky carousel-style photos on my home page. Gone with this was all of the numerous background images I tested out that just didn’t work. I created a logo that I felt embodied my blog in a clean and crisp way, keeping in mind the design elements that our guest speaker Mauve Pagé taught us at the start of the semester. I attempted to link colours together by bringing the gold found in the logo into other elements of the pages, such as titles and links. Travis Gertz had an interesting take on design elements and layout as well in his work, “Design Machines: How to survive in the digital apocalypse” (2015). Gertz’s main argument is based on the premise that all websites have started to look the same in an attempt to “look sexy” and appeal to the masses, but by appealing to the masses many actually become lost among the massesof other sites (2015). Unfortunately, I found it difficult to break free of most of the stereotypical constraints of which Gertz spoke about due to the confines of this course, being both the short timeframe as well as the resources made available to us. Nevertheless, these are useful pieces of information to consider when we inevitably use online mediums in our future professional lives.

            In summation, these four months have shaped the way in which I view publishing. Although I understood publishing to go beyond physical books, I didn’t understand the broad span that the term encompassed. Not only is it books and online articles, but also virtually anything that disseminates products and information to the general public. This includes social media presence as well as forum posts and, of course, blogging. Through the combination of the creation of my food blog with various guest speakers, tutorials, and online readings over the last 12 weeks, I have learned that identifying an audience and marketing yourself is a useful tool at any level of this digital world be live in. Despite my blog not gaining a large enough following to truly be able to use applications like Google Analytics or AdSense to my advantage, I can now realize these as important tools that help to compliment ones persona and identify important information. Going forward, I can confidently say that although I may not become a blogger, I have gained important and useful tools to brand myself, whatever that ‘self’ may be.

 

Bibliography

Campbell, W. G. (2009). A Personal Cyber Infrastructure. New Horizons, 44(5), p. 58-59

Gertz, Travis. (2015). “Design Machines. How to survive in the digital Apocalypse.” Louder Than 10.Retrieved on 12 April 2018 from: https://louderthanten.com/articles/story/design-machines

Marwick, A. (2013). Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity, and Branding in the Social Media Age. Canadian Journal of Communication, 40(1), p. 143-146.

Schawbel, D. (2009). Personal Branding 101: How to Discover and Create Your Brand. Mashable. Retrieved on 10 April 2018 from: https://mashable.com/2009/02/05/personal-branding-101/#ge_SBxPsZEq4

Warner, M. (2002). Knowledge and Public Works, 88(4), p. 413-425.

Minami | Japanese Restaurant

Today, I wanted to introduce one of my favorite Japanese restaurant in town, Minami. They are very famous for their oshi sushi – also they are a sister company with Miku (another beautiful restaurant located at Waterfront, downtown). Minami is located in Yaletown, which is full of famous and delicious restaurant. I love Yaletown because […]

Dine Out #3: Forage

It’s March and I’m still writing about my Dine Out experience, that right there, tells you how slow I am at updating my posts ???

Anyways, the next place I had tried out for my dine out 2017 experience was Forage. I’ve always wanted try this place, since it was hyped on Instagram and I was glad I was able to make a reservation into my schedule. Surprisingly, I had forgotten to take pictures of the place inside, so I don’t have that many pictures of the structure, layout and ambiance of the restaurant.

One of the first two signs you see before you head in.

The other visible sign outside. You make a left to enter the place!
I liked how they included what day it was for the dine out event.

Forage is located at 1300 Robson Street, Vancouver and right beside another restaurant called Timber. To get there, you could take the #5 bus or either walk down from Robson street. There is the option of driving to Forage as well, but, hey, remember, this is Downtown Vancouver and most people would probably suggest that wouldn’t be a the greatest idea ੧| ‾́︶ ‾́ |੭

The hallway of Forage. The structure and decorations are all made from sustainable and recycled goods.

The place itself, is not too big. There are a couple of big tables, to fit bigger parties, but the majority of tables were small. Our waiter had greeted us and told us that Forage takes pride in having all of their furniture, decoration and structures completely made from recycled and sustainable goods.

The cutest idea for a recycled light, ever  ?

It was clearly evident as the smallest of detail, such as the lamp that was on our table, had showcased what Forage embodies. Our waiter had also informed us that the food we were eating were grown locally.

Of course, I can’t forget to take pictures of the dine out menu.

Forage’s $30 set menu had more options for their appetizers and entrees, than their desserts, which was a bit disappointing, seeing how I have a sweet tooth. I was also surprised to hear that each guest only had a 2 hour limit to dine in, as the other dine out places I’ve tried, did not have one (′°︿°).  

?Food Snaps?

Appetizer – Westcoast Prawn and Seafood Chowder

From the website, “Served with chicharron, soft poached quail’s egg.” I like chowder, I’ve always have, so, I knew I wanted to get this appetizer when I read the menu online. There wasn’t anything bad about this dish, but at the same time, there wasn’t anything that popped out.

★★★☆☆

Entree – Roasted Keta Salmon

From the website, “Served with crispy cauliflower, cauliflower fondue and nettle gnocchi.” Surprise! This time I did not get the salmon, my bf did, instead ? However, I will say this, I regret not ordering this salmon dish as my entree, because it tasted so good (╹ڡ╹)╭ ~ ♡ The skin of the salmon was crispy, savory and the meat of the salmon basically melts in your mouth. 

★★★★★

Entree – Gelderman Farms Crackling Pork Belly

From the website, “Served with celeriac pomme puree, spiced rutabaga, Okanagan apple, and birch syrup chutney.” Basically, for the first couple of dine outs, my choice of entrees always ended up being a dish involving with salmon. This time, I chose differently, as I’m a huge fan of pork belly and didn’t want to miss out!

That being said, I did not like this dish at all ???. The pork, which was the thing I was most looking forward too, was salty, and the apple frites made my lips itch and tingle. I was really disappointed with my entree. Granted, it made me full, but the taste was not good.

★☆☆☆☆

Dessert – Chocolate Hazelnut Bar

From the website, “Served with raspberry textures and white chocolate kefir cream.” After not being too pleased with my entree, I was hoping my dessert would be a lot better. Thankfully, it was ( ᐛ )و Everything blended well together, I would say, that I enjoyed the raspberry sauce with my hazelnut bar more than the white chocolate kefir cream.

★★★★☆

Dessert – Golden Ears Neufchatel Cheese Puff

I didn’t taste this dessert, only because I was full and couldn’t eat anymore. But, from what I was told, the dish was good and it wasn’t too much on the sweet side.

Recommendation?

For me, Forage has it’s good points, but it also has some bad points as well. I would say YES & NO for dining out at Forage. Yes, because the Salmon entree and the desserts were great! Though, I would say No, because the entree I got, was salty and not good at all, which ruined a part of my dining experience. Plus, I didn’t like the fact we had a time limit to eat.

However, it is up to you, whether you want to try Forage or not. If it’s a place that interests you, go ahead! But if it’s a place that you would rather pass up, that’s fine as well!