I love that Sherwood Park, a bedroom community about 15 minutes east of Edmonton, will go down in history as the birthplace of the #YEGfoodhuddle movement. There's not much to speak of restaurant-wise in Sherwood Park, and it makes for great storytelling when something unlikely happens in the most unlikely of locations. No?
What's YEGFood Huddle? It's hard to say at this point, only that Edmonton has a number of passionate people--chefs, producers, food writers/bloggers, and other invested parties-- who feel that we need to talk about the city's "food image problem," and that we need more communication amongst ourselves so that we can better represent ourselves to the wider world.
Basically, we need to crow about our strengths (because we know no one else will) and we need to work on our weaknesses.
This all happened rather recently. There were tensions and frustration over best restaurant lists: what lists Edmonton restaurants made, those lists we didn't make; what restaurants made the lists, those ones that didn't. A few of us were going back and forth over this on Facebook. There was an obvious need to give voice to concerns and air out some issues. A few of us made the crazy suggestion that we could find some common ground and perhaps create something positive and constructive out of this energy. Within a couple of days, a Facebook group page was set up and opened to anyone in the Edmonton food community, as a forum for discussions and ideas. It's only a week old and there are 117 members.
The group also felt the need for a good old-fashined meeting. On Dec 22, fourteen of us met around the boardroom table of Ahlstrom Wright Oliver & Cooper, a Sherwood Park law firm. Steve Cooper ably guided the discussion. We arrived at a list of topics that were important to the group and a number of action items. I had never met many of the people seated around the table in person. I knew them only through Facebook and Twitter.
One of the reasons I was keen to participate in YEGFood Huddle is to get to know more of my fellow food writers/bloggers/social media counterparts. I was curious to know our capacity here in the city. I volunteered to get going on a list of who's who, as a fact-finding mission.
Others have volunteered to move other agenda items forward, but here's a first step towards getting two know who’s out there in our YEGfood communicator community.
In a shameless imitation of Jay Palter's “Edmonton’s top social media influencers” post of December 18, 2015, I contacted Little Bird, a Portland-OR based company that uses math and computers to identify and spit out reports of social media influencers. They offered me a 6-day free trial of their software.
I created reports based on three sets of keywords as well as a dozen or so examples of the social media accounts of people I knew were active in Edmonton's food scene. Here’s what Little Bird told me:
First report: Edmonton Food
When you trawl the Internet for chatter and chatterers based on “Edmonton Food,” 785 “insiders” are identified. 548 insiders tweet from Edmonton. Actually, it’s higher because (Internet gremlins one can only assume) Little Bird identifies a number of Edmonton-based business as “influencing” from the Maritimes. Ha.
Good news: We have a good amount of critical mass talking about us in Edmonton. Bad news: Only Edmontonians are talking about Edmonton Food at this point.
The report also generates a ranked list of social media influencers or "Insiders Most Followed by Fellow Topic Insiders." I managed to capture the reports via copy-and-paste techniques, so if anyone wants the ranking of the first few hundred, I’ll happily share. However, here's a screen shot of our top influencers by the Edmonton Food topic.
Top 25 Social Media Insiders followed by fellow topic insiders are:
Liane Faulder (Insiders ranking: 513) @EatMyWordsBlog food writer for the Edmonton Journal
City Market Downtown (498) @CityMarket104
YEG Food Guide (492) @YEGFoodGuide
Drift Food Truck (491) @driftfoodtruck
Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market (465) @OldStrathconaFMarket
The Tomato / Mary Bailey (462) @tomatofoodanddrink
Duchess Bake Shop (456) @duchessbakeshop
YEG Foodie (440) @YEGFoodie
Acme Meat Market (426) @acmemeatmarket
Taste of Edmonton (416) @TasteofEdm
Tres Carnales (412) @TresCarnales
Slow Food Edmonton (412) @Slowfoodyeg
Where Edmonton (400) @whereedmonton
Linda Hoang (399) @lindork
Elm Café (393) @elmcafe
Phil Wilson (398) @baconhound
Corso32 restaurant (386) @Corso32
Irvings Farm Fresh (386) @IrvingsFarm
What the Truck?! YEG @whatthetruckyeg
Liv S. Vors (380) @thepolishviking
Krista Franke / 124 Street Market (380) @124GrandMarket
Dishcrawl Edmonton (370) @dishcrawlyeg
Teresa Spinelli (369) @TeresaSpinelli
Twyla Campbell (364) @wanderwoman10
(For the record, I found my account on page 6 of the report...with an insider ranking of 216.)
Second Report: Edmonton Restaurants
Way fewer insiders found—only 177 insiders.
I don’t know what this means, but it could mean that we talk WAY more about Edmonton food than we do about our restaurants. However, my guess is that our propensity towards using the #YEGfood hashtag makes us “lazy” in putting “restaurant(s)” in our tweets or posts?? No idea.
Third Report: YEGfood #YEGfood
Much the same as the first report: 764 insiders found
I consider this to just be an initial foray into identifying who’s out there in our Edmonton food blogging/Tweeting/Instagramming/Facebooking community, which I will now refer to as our YEGfoodcomm.