Social Media and Travel Foodies: Are We Replicating Shameless Self-Promotion

Anyone serious about running a website and would like to see it prosper beyond the odd hit from friends and google love is aware that it is no longer sufficient to write quality articles then hit the publish button. Build it and they come has turned into a tired cliché that no longer serves the savvy blogger. We need to market our site and promote its existence.

Like a child yelling repeatedly, “Look at me jump, Mum!” until she finally offers a quick glance in his direction and the kid retorts, “You missed it”, we generate enough “noise” in the hope that someone does not miss our repeated call. In the quest for recognition, and dare I say, our fifteen minutes of fame, we have turned into obsessive compulsives under the guise of promoting our websites. While it is a necessary by-product of becoming our own PR agents, it makes me ponder how much of that noise we are replicating and the consequences of our promotional materials.

ANZAC Bridge, Sydney

RSS feeds used to be the prime method by which we were notified of blog updates. Now we get the same message from various sources.

Twitter stands at the forefront of self-promotion. The powerful microblogging platform has become a personal PR tool that no self-respecting blogger can ignore. Not even me. We use it to communicate, network with others, exchange information and give our blog posts the occasional plug.

We log into Facebook, check the number of “Likes” we have amassed since the day before, or “Fans” as they used to be called. We connect with an audience, share more information and give our blog posts another plug.

We join Stumble Upon, form alliances with other Stumblers so we can share articles and stumbles in the hope of driving traffic to our sites.

To recap briefly, we now visit blogs, leave a comment, retweet the post and stumble pages we like.

We create a Links page on our website designed to promote our closest friends and alliances. We may link to anyone who asks or have a stricter policy. Regardless of our preference, a Links page stands a list of networks we build with like-minded bloggers.

We may even have a YouTube channel, contribute reviews to Urbanspoon, Foodbuzz, Travel Blog Exchange, Tripatini and others. We may have a professional profile on LinkedIn page, use Digg, Flickr, Foursquare, Google Friend Connect and Buzz. All these networking sites require us to connect with others before we can effectively self-promote.

Lo and behold, there’s also email which we use to communicate, gather subscriptions and disseminate newsletters.

By no means is this a comprehensive listing of social media and networking sites yet we use many of these on an almost daily basis. The point of the exercise is clear. Join, network and promote. Or to put it in plain words, collect a group of ‘friends’, say hello and spread the message.

But how much noise are we creating and how often are we replicating our message to the same audience?

Some may argue that different media reach different audiences and demographics. Someone on Twitter may not be on Facebook or may not subscribe to RSS feeds. Therefore by using different channels, we disseminate information on a broader level. Others may advocate that the replication is merely providing a service that caters to personal choice.

The noise we are replicating through various media equates to one variable. Time. A commodity that leeches into our world and eats into precious writing time. After all, where would our websites be without content?

Will we ever return and streamline our communication to filter the noise that has floods us daily and occupies a large chunk of our time? Wouldn’t it be more efficient if we condensed all these networks to one location, where we can forge connections, communicate and share?

It may sound impossible yet not long ago, this utopia existed in our own home.

It was our blog.


Comic credit: xkcd


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About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.


  • What cracks me up (euphemism for “sometimes bothers me”) is how no matter where you are these days – everyone’s looking down at their crackberry or iPhone. I’m as guilty as anybody. Funny how all this technology was originally intended to save us time 🙂

    • Margo, I love technology but I don’t get much enjoyment out of doing the same thing over and over again. As for saving time, I think we’re into more time wasting now with all the tools we have to use to network.

      I’m just as guilty with my iPhone. My ‘obsession’ is driven by my website not constantly checking social media! 🙂

  • Yeah, this is an issue that really bothers me.  Content is my favorite part of writing the blog but it is essential to do all of these other things too.  I think Facebook is hoping that they will be the “one” to integrate all of the different forms of communications.

    • Akila, I get a feeling sometimes that a few of us (silently) think along the same way but we’re pressured into it. Facebook may hope all it likes, but when it limits what you can do with a Page and forces you to create a real personal profile when all you want to do is use it to promote your site, I look elsewhere.

  • Hey Gourmantic
    Very interesting post and it so expresses the feeling I experience with my blog. My readership and comments have certainly increased after using social media, but I have become more obsessive… Any more and it will border on the unhealthy, right?

    • Fouad, I’m with you on the unhealthy aspects of obsessing over social media and the impact it has on our sites. As for your blog readership, let me put it this way. If someone enjoys your blog, and returns to comment more than once, the amount of ‘noise’ from social media isn’t going to sway them. And if you’re the type of person who replies to all your comments and engages your readers (as you are), they’ll come back for more. As I have 🙂

      • I agree with what you’re saying, but if I use twitter and one of my followers retweets it, some of their  followers end up on my site and my readership increases. If the content is good and I treat them well, they come back (like a restaurant with good food and service), and vice versa. There’s also the issue with time zones. You probably need to tweet something 3 times at different times to ensure it’s on the twitter page of your global list of followers, right? I know some people who don’t subscribe to RSS feeds and actually go to my site only if I tell them there’s a new entry on twitter…
        I’m actually not sure what point it is I’m trying to make now hehe. I guess it is that using social media certainly increases readership… But we already agreed on that didn’t we?

        • Absolutely! The power of a retweet can be enormous, so is Stumble Upon and to some degree, Facebook. In fact, most of the social media I have mentioned in the article reap rewards.

          I’m with you on the timezone. While I’m not too comfortable tweeting the same thing at various times in one day, I have seen some benefits from it. Hopefully, we won’t lose followers from doing it.

          Maybe the point you and I are making in agreement is that this replication is a necessary evil, but it takes up a lot of our time? Not trying to put words in your mouth or anything… 🙂

          • Hehehe. agreed. Necessary evil, as long as it doesn’t steal time and affect the quality of the blog entries…
            Gourmantic (if that IS your real name), you need to add a comment subscription service on your blog so I get told when you’ve replied to me…

            • Fouad, if we start dropping our standards as a result, we may as well pack up our websites…
              Noted, thanks. I’m in the process of rejigging a lot of code in my theme and will look into the comment subscription. And of course Gourmantic is my ‘real’ name… or Ms G if you prefer! 😀

  • I´ve just been thinking the same thing as I am starting a blog in Quito and stumbled upon your site hoping that you had been to Ecuador with a few tips about out of the way places to eat..

    They still use flyers here for everything you can think of and I´m thinking social media is sort of the new era of the papers that get shoved in the garbage right after they are handed to you..

    • Hi Jon and welcome. There is truth in that. Our attention span is getting shorter and social media in a way has forced us to digest information in tiny morsels before we trash them in our minds. Yet, it can prove to be a powerful tool but it is very time consuming to use it properly.