What I Want This Year
After all my active campaigning for the Shorty Awards, I decided today that I want to take a couple minutes to share a few words about the way I use Twitter to both expand Always Order Dessert and my own personal brand, but even more importantly, about my (many!) goals for the site this year. This is a little different from my usual posts, but one that I hope will fill you in a bit on how I see and use and view my presence here on the Web.
I joined Twitter back in June of 2007 when I heard about it from a fellow blogger in the NY Bloggers Meetup group I created and used to run. He was raving about it so I decided to check it out. My first tweet was something along the lines of "Just setting up my Twitter..." but, I confess, that was probably about it for the next year or so.
Then, sometime in the middle of 2008, I started up again. I honestly don't remember why; I just remember that I suddenly really liked it. I loved the instant connection with people all over the globe. I followed every food blogger, food writer, chef, etc., that I could find and reveled in the direct access that I now had at my fingertips. I started conversations with bloggers I had previously only read, and it wasn't long before we were chatting regularly and helping each other out with recipes and ideas. The phrase "my Twitter friend" became a regular part of my vocabulary.
I know there are plenty of people out there who think it's a waste of time, but it really isn't. I've had some pretty incredible things happen in my life 100% because of Twitter. I've met great people that I now consider my friends. I've been invited to events I would have never heard about. I've gotten dinner reservations that I couldn't get through the phone. I made a pretty important Mashable list of Foodies to follow on Twitter that brought Always Order Dessert and my writing to the attention of reporters, publicists, and agents who have encouraged me to take further steps with my career. Even simply being linked to a great article or story that inspired me or moved me in some way--a link that I would have never seen had I not been on Twitter. These things (and a heck of a lot more) are proof to me that this site is anything but a waste of time.
I use the site to communicate and share about my day and what I'm doing. I also ask for help. Twitter can sometimes be like an amazing global customer service. Any question you have, guaranteed, there is someone out there who can answer it. Usually several people! I try to foster this by answering as many questions as I possibly can, and generously (I hope!) sharing my own different kinds of expertise (or even just experience) with the community.
If I had to pick between Facebook and Twitter, I'd pick Twitter without hesitation. I'd pick it because no other medium (not even this blog) gives me the kind of direct one-on-one communication with so many people. If you ask me something on Twitter, I will answer you. If you just drop me a note to say hi, I will respond. If you ask for help with a recipe or for suggestions on what to do with an ingredient, I'll gladly give it.
I will let you know right away that I'm not one of those people who instantly follow everyone back, but I have a good reason. Since I want Twitter to be about more than just collecting "friends," I need there to be some kind of connection before I will take that step. I really like to have at least some kind of basis before I follow someone. I want to open the conversation first. But I promise you that if you respond to me a few times or send me a quick hello and introduce yourself and are open in a way that's beyond simply sending out links or self-promotion, then I will follow you, guaranteed. Every now and then I send out a message that says "introduce yourself" and when I do it's because I really do want to know who is following me. I want to get to know you!
(And if you notice that we've been chatting, but I'm still not following you. Well then just ask me to! I probably just assumed that I already was. That's the amazing thing about the Web: nearly everything you want can be yours just by asking. The trick is figuring the who and how, of course)
I should also note that I'm the same way when it comes to e-mail. If you ever have any recipe questions, ideas for something you'd like to see on the site, questions about what to do with an ingredient, or are even looking for some party planning or entertaining ideas, please don't hesitate to e-mail me. Seriously. I freaking love answering those kinds of messages. Sometimes it might take me a few days to get back to you if I've gotten a lot of mail, but you can totally just forward me the note and follow-up. Nudge me all you want!
I've got a lot planned for Always Order Dessert in 2010. It's my goal to post twice as many original recipes as I did last year. I've already started working on articles about entertaining (primarily about entertaining in small apartment spaces like the one that I, and probably most of you, live in) that I'm really excited to share with you. I'm planning more videos, playlists, and events. It's my dream to have this site become major this year and I hope you'll all stick along for the ride.
I'm not sure if I've ever shared this with you guys, but I love this blog. I mean that. I love what I do here more than anything else that I do in my day (I'm including the cooking as part of what I "do" here). I joke around about it, but this site is totally my baby. Even when I'm at work and totally committed to what I'm doing there, the plans and ideas keep unfolding in the back of my head. Over the holidays I took a lot of time to think about the things I want to achieve this year and I've laid them all out here. You're welcome to take a look. Let me know what you think. Let me know if you have any ideas.
One of the best things about always ordering dessert after a great meal, besides the deliciousness of course, is that it gives you a little more time to relax and extend the conversation.
So let's do that. Let's keep talking. And (most importantly!) let's have fun!
New to Always Order Dessert? Consider subscribing to my RSS feed, follow me on Twitter, or sign up to receive my once-a-week e-mail updates by filling in your address in the box on the right. And if you ever need any entertaining or cooking advice, please don't hesitate to e-mail me.