To briefly recap my digital artefact, I will be looking into the cyber cultures of the ever-evolving online food industry and specifically looking at how the social media platform, Instagram, has impacted it.
Tandoh (2016) discusses the emerging value and relevance that food cyber culture offers and “the way in which food has become social currency thanks to how we share and discuss it online. Most of us who document our meals online are amateurs, but there exists a sizeable, and hugely profitable, industry of professional food bloggers and Instagrammers, whose pristine food styling sets the tone for a whole aesthetic movement.”
Mostly this cyber culture can be addressed as – #foodporn.
I will be analysing the seemingly most popular sub cultures of #foodporn such as:
- Vegan/ Clean eating
- Fast Food
I intend to explore the different aspects of what makes a post popular, such as:
- Hashtags (#foodporn)
- Quality of visual experience (photo or video)
The overall goal of this research project is to determine what sub genre of #foodporn is most popular, and what aspects contribute to its popularity.
My method of research involves the creation of an Instagram page (chocolate_vegetables) that is dedicated to all sub genres of #foodporn, and create original and relevant content for the page. I will post multiple images of each of the sub genres and include relevant captions and hashtags, which would potentially generate the most attention.
I will be conducting this research project in close relation to the previous study of Mejova et al (2016), who investigated the social trend of #foodporn and what sub culture it was most closely related to. Throughout my research, included in the hashtags of each of the posts, will be #foodporn. The study by Mejova et al (2016) concluded that #foodporn “is often associated with high calorie and sugary foods such as cake and chocolate, it also often appears in a healthy context. The sentiment associated with #foodporn indicates that it is used to motivate healthy living”. I will use the previous findings as the hypothesis of my research, but my research will differ by assessing what specific aspects contribute to the popularity of specific sub genres.
So far, I have been constantly posting images about all the sub genres, in no particular order, but I have only compiled enough content necessary to make an assessment for the sub category, vegan. The research and contribution of content is continuous and swift, and the completion of the other sub categories all have their own timeline for completion, with desserts being the next in order. However, I have found it challenging to constantly produce relevant content, especially when I don’t eat all the food that I am researching. Although the time line for completion and analysis has not changed, this was an expected hurdle.
For the first part of my research into the realms of food cyber culture, has looked into the category for #vegan or #cleaneating food. This was my first choice of categories to come as it represents a part of my lifestyle and how I like to indulge in food; it was easy to create content when I eat this kind of food.
I have attempted to capture the vegan category with images of recipes that are of high quality, with occasional recipes included, and hash tags used appropriately, such as:
#vegan #veganlunch #veganfood #veganrecipes #vegetarian #vegetarianrecipes #vegetarianlife #vegetariano #cleaneating #food #foodporn #foodie
So far, the findings by Mejova et al (2016) only slightly correlate with the results from the digital artefact. The vegan cyber culture has been very highly followed and liked. I have slowly integrated other food genres into the Instagram account with hash tags relating to that particular genre, and so far the vegan category still prevails.
However, this cannot be deemed an informed, reliable, nor conclusive result as the experiment and research is not yet complete, only observations have been made at this stage. The study is still in the content creation stage and will not be ready for analysis until all genres of food cyber culture have been explored.
I have been looking at including different types of food among those specific sub categories. This being said, I have posted quite a large amount of other categories, particularly dessert posts, but they are so far all cookies (a favourite dessert option of mine), so until I have a large variety of foods for all sub categories, I could not count multiple posts of one type of food (cookies) as enough feedback. It is important to the reliability and validity of the experiment, that variety and consistency is employed throughout all the different sub categories.
The results so far have already enlightened me to the reality of food cyber culture; I did not expect such a following for vegan, over other sub categories. This research should determine the most appropriate and effective means by developing attention to an Instagram food post; and most importantly, which sub category of #foodporn is the most popular.
Rebecca Smithers, 2016, “Hawaiian salad and watermelon juice ‘to be 2017 food trends’”, The Guardian, Available From: < https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/nov/02/hawaiian-salad-watermelon-juice-2017-food-trends-waitrose > [Viewed 27th April 2017]
Ruby Tandoh, 2016, “Click plate: how Instagram is changing the way we eat”, The Guardian, Available From: < https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/nov/02/click-plate-how-instagram-changing-way-we-eat-food > [Viewed 27th April 2017]
Mejova, Y, Abbar, S, & Haddadi, H 2016, ‘Fetishizing Food in Digital Age: #foodporn Around the World’, arXiv, EBSCOhost, (Viewed 20 March 2017)
Spence, C, Okajima, K, Cheok, AD, Petit, O, & Michel, C 2016, ‘Eating with our eyes: From visual hunger to digital satiation’,Brain and Cognition, vol. 110, no. Food for thought: The functional and neural mechanisms of food perception and choice, pp. 53-63. Available from: 10.1016/j.bandc.2015.08.006. (20 March 2017)
Bellevue, 2012, “Social Media Changing America’s Food Culture”, Natural Products Insider, Available From: < https://www.naturalproductsinsider.com/news/2012/02/social-media-changing-america-s-food-culture.aspx > (Viewed 17th March 2017)
Moreau, 2016, “What is Instagram, Anyways?”, Lifewire, Available From: < https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-instagram-3486316 > (Viewed 18th March 2017)
n.a, 2016, “American Fast Foods Recipes You Can Make At Home”, Lifehacker, Available From: < https://www.lifehacker.com.au/2016/02/7-american-fast-foods-recipes-you-can-make-at-home/ > (Viewed 19th March 2017)