The NY Times looks at the recent surge in food photography as a popular means of checking in with peers on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and personal blogs. Building on people’s desire to share and archive the most intimate details of their lives online, this phenomenon appears to be the digital equivalent of sitting down to a meal with friends and loved ones. Other factors contributing to this trend are likely the prevalence of point and shoot camera phones that make posting pictures an easy process, as well as the emergence of mobile-social games like foursquare and Gowalla that encourage users to go out an explore their surroundings, restaurants and bars chief among them.
The NY Times points to the meteoric rise:
The number of pictures tagged “food” on the photo-sharing Web site Flickr has increased tenfold to more than six million in the last two years, according to Tara Kirchner, the company’s marketing director. One of the largest and most active Flickr groups, called “I Ate This,” includes more than 300,000 photos that have been contributed by more than 19,000 members. There would be more, but members are limited to 50 photos a month.
What is perhaps even more interesting, is how these photos translate into followers and fans, perfect strangers who often know little about the person behind the images other than what they eat, bringing an entirely new level of truth to the classic axiom that links identity with cuisine. Needless to say, as our personal statuses increasingly depend on the information we broadcast and curate, food is simply becoming just one more filter for interpreting and giving meaning to our lives and those in our social circles.