Weekend Events Stuff

Food Blog South in Birmingham 2012

I made a last minute decision to go to Food Blog South.  And I am glad I went.  There were great sessions and great speakers during the entire day.  And the food samples and freebies were great as well.  I am trying to open up my blog to a couple new things and I gained some great tips and insight while at Food Blog South.  And I have all the time in the world right now since I am still unemployed.  By the way I am e-mailing this article to all the people I got business cards from so if you know of someone who is hiring.  Just contact me.  The event was held at Old Car Heaven which is an old warehouse with old cars.  Here are some photos of the venue.

Never seen a portable Books-A-Million before.

Now before the sessions started there were some great breakfast goodies and coffee for everyone to enjoy.  This was sponsored by the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau.  The morning speaker was Jennifer Cole.

Pastries from Edgar’s Bakery.

Coffee from FinerGrind Coffee Roasters.

The first session I attended was The Art of Mapping Food Trends by Kara Nielsen.  There are some surprising food trends for 2012.  Meatless dining; better burgers & coffee; wholesome beverages; keesh bakeries; yogurt; sprouted grains; wild foods; forging in fine dining; and returning to animal fats are things to watch for in food for 2012.  And I have to agree in this; gluten free is the current fad & trend in the food world.  Also the current economic situation and people wanting comfort food is going hand to hand.

This was pomegranate vinegar.  I am not a big fan of vinegar and after one sip; I tasted that extreme sour and had enough.  One good thing to remember from this session is it takes time for trends to express themselves.

The second session was Vlogging by Jay Ducote.  The best quote from this session is if an picture is worth a thousand words.  Than a video is worth 24,000 to 30,000 words a second.  Audiences have a very short attention span and videos can lose up to 50% of an audience after one minute.  Videos on food blogs are only going to get bigger and that might include Young’s Blog in the near future.  Also watching videos on a smartphone is going to grow as well.  In fact in an 24 hour period in March 2011; 9% of videos are watched on smartphones.  And that is growing by leaps and bounds.

The next session I attended was Photography and Food Styling by Jennifer Davick & Marian Cooper Cairns.  While waiting for the session to begin.  I noticed many people on their smartphones.  And for me; well I have an plain old phone.  But I did text message tweets throughout the day.  This session was sponsored by the National Watermelon Promotion Board.  Yes there is such a thing.

There were a lot of great techniques to use while shooting food.  Using panels and tools such as hairspray bottles; water; q-tips; straws; and oil can be used to enhance the photo scene.  And using natural light is great in shooting food as well.  It is okay to let things happen naturally.  So enjoy my shooting of food below.

Before lunch I caught the Blog Design session by Tammy Hart and got a few more pointers after attending Word Camp Birmingham.  You need to have lots of space and interaction on a blog.  And always thank people for commenting and subscribing.  And then it was lunch time!  Brought to us from Shindigs.

The beef was very good.  And the look alike meatballs are actually beets. This great lunch was sponsored by Whole Foods Market in Mountain Brook of U.S. 280.  Then I got some ice cream.

High Road Craft Ice Cream and Sorbet from the Atlanta metro was very good.  We also got to hear what the Desert Island Supply Co. does to inspire writing in kids in the Birmingham metro.

The next session was Tips and Tools for Beginning Bloggers by Genevieve Turkett.  There were some great pointers like using social media; setting up a new blog; choosing the best platform; widgets; and the best ideas and sins for new bloggers.  It was a great session.

The next session Make Money Blogging by Jen Barnett and James Schend was the best session of the day in a very packed room.  Some facts are there are up to 40,000 english food blogs.  And none of them are in the top 100 blogs.  You need to research topics and engage in social media.  Try to keep blog posts to 300-500 words and have clean and quality content.  And always focus on your passion!  I took a ton of notes during this session and the speakers were great.  This session was sponsered by FinerGrind Coffee Roasters.

The next session The Three Ethical Issues for Food Bloggers by Dianne Jacob was a great question and answer session.  We talked about people adapting a recipe to make it their own.  And the FCC rule of saying I got a product for free and liked it on my blog.  Which has to be disclosed.

We then had a meet and greet with sugared pecans and pecan butter.  And they were both very good. The Pecan Project from Greensboro, AL is an job training service for at-risk people and they award scholarships.  I took some home to my mom and she loved them as well.   http://pecansproject.com/

The keynote speaker was Kat Kinsman from the CNN blog Eatocracy.  Her Twitter name is @kittenwithawhip and she was a great speaker.  Some things to look for in a blog is community; an voice; and being creditable and original.  And anyone can be a journalist and have a voice on any platform.

Overall this entire event was wonderful.  I met some great people and talked to a lot of sponsors.  I will be back for Food Blog South 2013.  Thanks everybody!