As hard as I try, I can probably only consider myself "sort of" tech savvy, on a good day. But, I do my best to keep up. When I was in high school, my parents had one of those gigantic Zach Morris Saved by the Bell "car phones" and I prided myself in knowing exactly how to work it. Soon after, I set up my very first email account on Juno (BucknellBound@Juno.com – I wonder if it still works?) and felt super cool emailing all my friends the latest in teen gossip. And now, with my blackberry chock-full of "apps" and permanently affixed to my body, I can simultaneously keep on task with incessant wedding planning reminders from "The Knot," "ping" my friends, and navigate myself through the streets of NYC after realizing I have no idea where I am because my face has been buried in my blackberry.
But just when I allow myself to think for just a second that I'm on the cutting edge of cool, something new comes my way. Enter: Twitter.
As corporate America starts embracing social networking, it is clear that keeping up with online trends is about more than just being "cool." A friend of mine recently broke it off with a man she was dating because he didn't use email and he didn't send text messages. While her parents found this ridiculous, it made perfect sense to me. Emails, texts, social networking, etc. are firmly embedded into our world – this is how we communicate, and if you want to reach us, you have to talk to us in language we can understand. The business world is no different. Essentially, food manufacturers are constantly courting their customers – figuring out what they need and want and catering to those needs. Social networks – no matter how trendy and possibly ephemeral they may be – are reaching an audience that companies might not be reaching through traditional means of communication.
As I started exploring Twitter, I was shocked to see that even government agencies are Twittering. The FDA is now sending recall Tweets to over 3000 followers, keeping them up to date by the minute about market withdrawals and safety alerts. The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service also has a Twitter account, providing food safety tips and info for consumers, as well as a way of getting answers to specific food safety questions.
Far be it from me to let the government outpace me in social trendiness. So, even though the project is in its infancy, Food Manufacturing is now Twittering and accepting followers. Visit us at www.twitter.com/FoodMfg - come on, you know you want to…everyone's doing it…for now.