Hey guys! Google Plus just rolled out a brand new feature called Communities. It's launching with about a dozen groups, and yes, there is one completely dedicated to food. How do I know?
Because it's my group! Holy smokes, right? I hope you'll come and join me In The Kitchen.
What is a Community?
Basically, a G+ Community is group page, or forum. It's a place where you can interact directly with other members in a sort-of condensed setting. Rather than posting your question about marzipan to your regular G+ feed, you can post the question directly to a group of fellow food people. Communities will provide a new way to connect and interact with people outside of your own circles.
Want to find out more about Communities? Check out Google's promo video:
Look closely at the video around 0:33. It's Mary Makes Dinner! (Well, sort of.)
About In The Kitchen
When Google approached me about putting together a community for food people, I spent a lot of time thinking about what I would want that community to be all about. When it comes to food, it seems to me that there are two kinds of people: cooks and eaters. While cooks do eat, and eaters sometimes cook, most people are a little more passionate about one half of the equation than the other.
There are plenty of eaters on G+, enough that they could easily stock a whole community of their own. Me? I'm a cook. I get pleasure out of feeding other people, sharing my recipes with other cooks, and waxing poetic over my favorite ingredients or techniques. I want this community to be for cooks, all kinds of cooks! Newbies, chefs, bloggers, moms, bacon-worshippers, raw food vegans, anybody and everybody who loves making food with their own two hands will be welcome In The Kitchen.
We can learn a lot from each other, no matter how different our passions or specialties might be. Cooking is one of those pursuits in which you never stop learning. There is no level of knowledge or mastery where you can say, "That's it! I know it all." With the world becomeing a smaller and smaller place, new recipes are around every corner. I'm hoping this group will be a place to make those connections that make us all better cooks.
I guess I am building this whole thing up a bit, but I'm just being honest. I have this magical vision of thousands (or millions?) of cooks gathered up in a virtual kumbaya, swapping recipes and tips, arguing over the best heirloom variety of summer squash, and flooding the world with glorious food-porn.
We'll just have to wait and see if it all lives up to my expectations. Won't you join me?
You'll notice that there are several different categories available within the community. If you've ever used another type of forum, you should be familiar with the concept. Keeping posts relevant to specific categories helps keep things tidy, organized, and easy to navigate. We're starting off with a short list. (Short for me, that is. My first list was doubly long, then Google told me to keep it in my pants.) Here's a little run-down the categories we are starting off with, and what they do:
- General Discussion: Anything that doesn't quite fit in the other categories goes here. For example, General Discussion would be a good place to share a TMI moment, a funny story, or an unrequested opinion.
- Roll Call: Introduce yourself in this category. Say hello. Let everyone know your favorite food, or take this opportunity to shamelessly plug your blog, web site, or business. (This will be your one big chance, btw. Folks who use the community as an ad campaign are gonna get slapped down.*)
- Recipe Exchange: Just what it sounds like. Share links to your favorite recipes here, or request links to a recipe you need. You can even share your own recipes for the hell of it.
- Questions and Answers: This category could be a lot of fun. Post your cooking related questions and wait for a flood of advice from fellow food people.
- Cooking for Special Diets: Because this topic encompasses so many things, I thought it would be good to give it its own special place. Chat about gluten-free, paleo, vegan, allergies, etc. to your heart's content.
- Cookbooks, Blogs, and Shows: This is a place to gossip, gush, or gripe about food media. Personally, I'll fail big on this one. I don't every know who anyone is, but I think you guys will have a lot of fun with it.
- Show and Tell: Post photos of your latest creations, brag about what you've cooked up recently, or bore everyone to tears with a lengthy description of last night's dinner party. It's all good. You're safe here.
I can't wait to start planning some events! We'll have hangouts, cook-offs, cocktail parties, whatever we want! It's going to be a food-geek dream come true.
Joining the Community
Join here -----> In The Kitchen
When it does, you can join the community! I'm moderating membership right now, so there might be a short delay between joining and getting in. Bear with me. Choosing whether or not to moderate the membership was a difficult choice, but I'm hoping it will pay off. There are no special requirements to join, but for now I'll only be approving folks with profile photos, real names, and at least a couple of public posts. You don't need to be a fancy chef, or a high-profile plusser to join. I just want to make sure that the conversations stay lively, relevant, and spam-free.
UPDATE: There are so many requests coming in, that moderation is taking a while. In order to get in the group as quickly as possible, try to make sure you have a legit profile pic, name, a relevant tag line, and several public posts. That makes you much more easily recognizable as a legit user, so I'll approve you faster. Hope that makes sense!
P.S. Have a question about the group? Can't seem to get in? Wish I'd change something? Want to be a moderator? Stuck in a foreign country with the prince of Burglepest and an unclaimed lottery prize? I'm all ears. Shoot me an email at MaryMakesDinner dot blog at Gmail dot com.
*How Not To Use This Community
I figured I'd better elaborate on what exactly will get you "slapped down". Go ahead and share recipes from your blog, links to your site, news about your latest project, but do so in the appropriate categories, and do so with a dash of common sense. That's all I ask. If you flood the stream with too much shameless self promotion, I'll have to tell you to check yourself. The same goes for general wack-a-doodle antics. Off-topic, trollish, bullyish, and otherwise crappy behavior is pretty much unwelcome. Keep it nice, people. All that being said, we may never run into these issues anyway. Maybe we'll open the flood gates and only wonderfully friendly, warm, cuddly, people with hearts full of rainbows will join. It could happen.