Sunday, July 23, 2017

I’ll have an Order of Breakfast Fries with a side of Instagram Kit, Please

What do people most share on social media? Photos.
And what are these photos of? Usually: food.

A recent trend in social media involves photographing food and posting these photos to Instagram. This has become such a widespread fad that Business Insider wrote a feature at the end of 2016, “The 50 Best Food Bloggers to Follow on Instagram in 2017,” where the Instagram users cited have millions of viewers. Literally.

So - why the obsession with sharing food photographs? People like to be taste-makers (no pun intended) and show off that they are eating at the trendiest places, or have advanced culinary skills, or, put simply, that they have fun with food. Everyone (theoretically) eats. And people are generally curious about “how others eat.”

Earlier this week, Dirty Bones, a hip London eatery, announced that it would provide an Instagram kit for free to any diner eating at the establishment. The kit includes an LED camera light, a multi-device charger, a clip-on wide angle lens and a tripod selfie stick for over-head table shots. Their thinking here is to provide this equipment, since if diners are going to photograph the food anyway, why not enable them to show it off optimally. And – why not let diners “advertise for them for free on [their] social media accounts” at the same time?

In this regard, this idea is incredibly smart. It not only encourages an activity that most likely would have occurred anyway (particularly since it is a trendy restaurant with creative dishes and drinks and visually interesting presentations), but enhances the product. It’s higher quality free advertising for the restaurant. Plus, having a mini-photo shoot at the table is – simply – fun.

The founders of the restaurant are doing more than just providing Instagram kits to diners. They admitted this week that they designed the entire restaurant with social media in mind – what lighting and décor works best when captured on Instagram? And, they have plated food to make it look “Insta-worthy.”

It’s fascinating to see how this trend in social media has literally shaped how this restaurant and its products were conceived. As new trends in social media evolve, it will be interesting to watch what widespread impact they have on how other, seemingly unrelated businesses, operate.

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