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The Things I Tweet About Now

How I rate social media: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter

People often ask me what I think about the various social media apps that get so much attention these days. There are lots of them out there and, frankly, I am not one to experiment with everything that comes down the pike. My experience with the three “biggies” has been mixed.

Those who know me know I am not a big fan of Facebook. The idea of browsing constant and often inconsequential updates from hundreds of people on a regular basis just doesn’t seem like the best investment of my time. (It may be I am just not into any further blending of my personal and business lives—the overlap is already sometimes pretty overpowering.)

I especially dislike the fact that Facebook is so hard to control. Its assumption seems to be that everything about one’s life should be shared universally, with everyone, then permanently documented in some giant archive in the sky. Sorry—but I’d rather leave that to St. Peter!

I still have a Facebook account—these days, you may not like Facebook, but you pretty much can’t live without it. I have some friends and family who do like it and I use it like a proverbial “union pass,” for access to sites, offers or information when necessary. I post, occasionally, but I’m careful to never stay “logged in.” I really have no interest in being tracked.

LinkedIn is a different matter. I have found LinkedIn immensely valuable as a way of staying in touch professionally with the business network I do cultivate. I recommend it highly, although I usually reserve it for those with whom I’ve had an ongoing professional relationship. When people in my network change jobs, contact info or get a promotion, I like knowing about it. It has often helped me find or re-connect with professional acquaintances who have been helpful to me in the past.

Twitter intrigues me, and in recent months I’ve found myself using it as a quick and easy way to share the kind of informationand news I think people I know would be interested in hearing about. Its 140-character limit is manageable and convenient.

So when Kansas State’s Mary Molt won the IFMA Gold Plate award last month, I was able to share a link to a video of her acceptance remarks within a few hours after it happened ( Those who know me know I am a habitual “clipper” of articles and I’ve taken to sharing many of these small finds via Twitter. Here are some of the recent ones:

Free your inner food blogger. For tips on better food photography, check this article and slideshow.

All Hail IQF. Mark Kurlansky’s (remember Cod?) new bio of Clarence Birdseye underscores legacy to FS.

The Big Mac as Global Economic Equalizer. Who knew?

RAWSOME! Extensive reporting about the FDA’s pursuit of three leaders of the Raw Foods movement.

Engineering Food Flavor for Hospital Patients. A different approach to dietary management.

Supersize My Self Esteem! Are big portions related to an unconscious effort to seek social status?

A lot of facts about airline food I didn’t know, including why your taste buds go MIA at 30,000 feet.

Kids, School Food and Social Media. Check out our video of Phil Lempert’s take on this.

Not into social media? FM is launching its redesigned website even as you read this column and one of many new features is a blogging section on the home page. If you just want to see what I’ve tweeted or mused about recently, you’ll be able to find it there, at There are many other new features we’ll be bringing to you in the new website. I’ll have more to say about them next month.

In the meantime, you can follow me @johnlawn.

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