As I read the posts on both Sam's and MOH's memorial threads, some ideas came to mind. For a brief while there was an offshoot in Sam's thread that reflected on what being on-line meant in terms of our relationship, and how that differed from off-line relationships. It didn't belong there, but it might be an interesting discussion, nevertheless.
What I'm pondering is the whole aspect of social networking as it relates to us, here on Chowhound. The site itself has a narrow focus – deliciousness. And I believe that this is the way it has to be. We discuss everything and everyplace there is to discuss about food here. But we delve into food in so many ways, that there's no room to talk about us – we know each other only from our food opinions. That's actually quite a lot, as it turns out. But it's sad that while we are so close to each other in some ways, we find out some of the details about each other that even strangers at work knew, from an obituary.
That 800+ post megathread of what we do is completely unreadable. Literally. Even with my buffers extended, I can't read it. Boy, what a popular topic, eh?
I don't know if there ought to be a food-bio of ourselves here or some other form of profile. Actually, I think any such attempt would dilute the focus here. But perhaps we ought to have a companion page on Facebook, where some of us already have profiles. I found the Chowhound page that's there now – it's essentially a placeholder with no structure. There are a couple of global posts that FB has picked up.
I'm just thinking aloud, but what it comes down to is that some thought needs to be put into the social networking aspects here. I can think of many facets - restaurant/client relationships, for example – we have many chefs and industry workers here and we have numerous conversations between themselves and between them and the rest of us. While Chowhound discourages the owners and managers of a place from posting here, (certainly in the form of advertising), perhaps a FB page might be a good place to discuss the goals and backgrounds of chefs and participants.
We already have our little cliques and private conversations. But the coming onslaught of social networking is going to affect those as well. Those that don't belong, and want to, feel left out. With some structure in a social networking environment, we could integrate these private and pseudo-private pieces into a greater whole. Privacy is key, as FB has found out. But we put so much of ourselves out there in Chowhound as it is.
Enough thinking out loud. Any takers down this weird path?