The Grand Social Media Experiment. We learn by doing.

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Social Media Restaurant Menu

As I ponder Social Media, one thing for sure is that it is omnipresent. Since enrolling in the Public Relations Specialist Certification program at Takoda Institute American Indian OIC, I come to enjoy Social Media. That got me to thinking, what if there was a restaurant that had its meals and beverages named after social networking sites? Well, I have decided to do that. Just for giggles I have comprised a Social Media menu. The list is not exhaustive. I did not have time to list too many ingredients, that would require lots of time that I do not have, plus I will leave that to you, the readers. Also, this will menu will give each of you an opportunity to explore new social media networking sites. The social networking sites are in bold print.



       Specialty Drinks                                                                      Soda
        MocoSpace Latte                                                            Skyrock Ginger ale
        LiveMocha Latte                                                             Skoob Root beer
        Influenster Coffee                                                          Hyves Cream Soda
        Ibibo Vanilla Espresso                                                     Gogoyoko Mist-Lemon Lime Soda


Mouthshut.com-your choice of Chicken, Turkey or Beef
Spring Me– Vegetarian sandwich served with Cheddar, Mozzarella or Swiss
Meet up– Italian Sausage (Spicy, Mild or Hot), Bacon, Ham, Pepperoni
Stickham– Grilled Cheese- your choice of Ham or Turkey or just cheese
Mubi– Grilled Chicken with vegetables


Sound Cloud– Baked Chicken served with light fluffy mashed potatoes and vegetable
MOG Stew-Chicken, Turkey or Beef served with hot water cornbread
Ravelry Chops-Pork Chops served with roasted potatoes and vegetable
Taringa!– Mexican Meatloaf served with Cilantro Lime Rice or Mexican Mashed Potatoes and vegetable
Shelfari– Fried Chicken served with mashed potatoes and vegetable


Goodwizz Sundae-Vanilla ice cream sundae served with your choice of fruit toppings (Strawberry, Pineapple, Blueberry) and Hot Fudge
Wooxie– Moist slice of three layer chocolate
Yammer-Slice of apple pie served with vanilla ice cream and a splash of cinnamon

I had a fun time compiling my Social Media Restaurant menu. Do forget to visit a few of the websites you might learn something new.


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Social Media Fuels The Local Craft Beer Movement: Live The Dream Brewing Co.


In an earlier blog post, I demonstrated a child-like joy upon learnig a brewery was opening a stone’s throw from my former office. By the time Indeed Brewing Co. opened its doors in NE Minneapolis, my days at my former job were already coming to an end. At that time my family was living in the Longfellow neighborhood of South Minneapolis. Harriet Brewery was a short bike ride from my home, I could still indulge. As last summer came to a close, we sold our house and prepared to move into a new home in Hopkins. I was really going to miss all of the things that I loved in Minneapolis including a number of craft breweries within easy reach.

Our home in Hopkins is just off of Mainstreet. It has the feel of still being in South Minneapolis, was built in the 30’s, and we can still walk to a number of restaurants, including a decent sushi place.  I was satisfied with the sacrifices we made to move to a suburb because we did not have to totally compromise on everything. One day, in the late fall, I was struck by lightning! A new brewery was opening in Hopkins, AND a record store (vinyl) was going into a space on Mainstreet just kitty-corner from there. The brewery sits on the intersection of Mainstreet and the Minnetonka Bike Trail, and within blocks of two other major bike trails.  Well, looks like I’m not going to die a slow, painful suburban death after all!

Fast forward to January of this year, I start corresponding with the owners of Live The Dream Brewing Company.  Blake and Jeremy are a couple of home brew enthusiasts who caught the brewing bug in college.  After college, they each started different careers, got married, started families but never abandoned their passion for brewing. One day Blake was touring Surly Brewery and it suddenly struck him that opening his own brewery is what he was destined to do,  Jeremy quickly agreed.

Four years, thousands of hours, and tens of thousands of dollars later, Live The Dream Brewing Company is a reality. The announcement of the grand opening takes place tomorrow, June 1st.  I often ride my bike past the large storefront windows, a mere 7 blocks from our house, and peek in at the progress.  It will be a beautiful facility;  huge copper tanks, a large “L” shaped tap room and spacious patio. The folks of Hopkins and the surrounding area are going to love this place.  Okay, but how are they going to find out about it?

ImageOnce upon a time Hopkins was a bustling community, but that was in the 50’s – 70’s. Mainstreet Hopkins is going through a revival right now, but is not exactly a hotbed of activity. Live The Dream Brewing Co will draw from the neighborhood, but also have to bring in folks from all over the Twin Cities. Jeremy and Blake heavily invested in the equipment and the building, marketing dollars are very scarce as they prepare to open the doors.  They shared with me that social media will play a big roll in getting word out about their business as they build up their network. Thus far, much of their effort has been to reach out to Hopkins area businesses, which is important, but it will take the draw of people form St Louis Park, Minnetonka, Eden Prairie and beyond to establish a solid customer base.

LTD has a Facebook and Twitter page, but both need to be ramped up – quickly.  Their social media networking should have three target audiences;  the local community, area beer enthusiasts, and the biking community. It will be weeks/months of hard networking to build a solid network in each of those communities.  Here are the current stats for Live The Dream:

  • Facebook:  658 Likes,  posts 2-3 times a week
  • Twitter:  485 Followers,  161 tweets, sporadic tweets
  • Website:  update infrequently, needs work

Understandably, the focus has been on construction and not on the social marketing.  It has to be pointed out, however, that if they can’t build a solid base of customers from the start, they won’t have the resources to stay open long. Social media is the low-cost way to build that network and get people excited.  I want to see a line of people waiting for the doors to open on day one.  I plan to be there!






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TOUCH: Can the senses of the South Pacific be recreated through social media?

The sense of touch has to be the greatest challenge to relay through social media. As I peer out at the sea from the starboard side of the ship that is now plowing through the South Pacific, I experience the warm and sometimes cool saltwater spraying across my eyeglasses and face and I can’t even begin to imagine how one could possibly share the sensation of touch through social media. This sense of touch and feeling is evident in newly encountered experiences that include the soft silk of rays dancing around and over my feet, the smooth but still rough textures of native tapa cloth produced from indigenous tree barks, the rough feel of pandanus leaf bracelets and intricately woven mats, the smooth hardwood tikis carved with geometrically beautiful patterns of long ago, the warm coral sands seeping between toes as I walk on stretching and seemingly undisturbed beaches, and the warming heat of intense sunlight baking the skin. These sensations can not currently be duplicated through social media and I wonder if they ever will be.

Even more difficult to imagine is the sensuality and connection of human touch. I have connected with many people who live differently than that to which I am accustomed. The warmth of embrace and the squeeze of hugging is overwhelming as new friends are encountered. The traditional kisses on both checks from those of the Polynesian culture influenced by the customs of the French colonists are warm and peaceful. We are one world and we appreciate the honor of sharing life’s experiences. Will this need for human touch ever be satisfied through social media? I doubt it… and I hope not.

Friends on the MS Paul Gauguin in the South Pacific

Friends on the MS Paul Gauguin in the South Pacific

Bora Bora bech combers.

Bora Bora beach combers

Les Gauguines on the MS Paul Gauguin

Les Gauguines on the MS Paul Gauguin

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Social Media Fuels The Craft Brewery Explosion: Profile of Fulton Brewing Co

As the finishing touches of Target Field were being put into place, the blighted industrial park that was now in the shadow of the ball park began to sprout.  The North Loop was already well on its way to being revitalized, but the blocks sandwiched next to the 4th Ave S freeway exit, the garbage burner, and the farmers market remained a dismal downtown wasteland. The new ballpark was about to change all of that, this ground was now golden.  Enter Fulton Brewing Company.Image

Started in a garage in the Fulton neighborhood of Minneapolis, four beer enthusiasts set about their goal of opening their own craft brewery in Minneapolis. With the ballpark already under construction, the North Loop neighborhood seemed like an obvious choice. Beer goes hand in hand with baseball. Each baseball season has 82 home games – a captured audience. As an added bonus, Target Field also intersects with the juncture of the LRT line and North Star commuter rail terminus, thousands of daily commuters passing by.  Add on top of that, hundreds of new housing units in the North Loop were under construction.  They could only pinch themselves that no one had beat them to the punch.  As so, just two blocks from home plate, Fulton Brewing Company landed at 414 6th Ave N in Minneapolis in a small, one story brick warehouse in September 2010.

In a little over a year, the building was reconstructed to a small scale craft brewery, bottling house and a tap room – the very first one in Minneapolis. The building itself was pretty nondescript, and, although on game days there were thousands of fans milling about just a stone’s throw away, those people needed to find out about the new brewery. Mortgaged to the hilt, the marketing budget for the 1st year was $0. Enter social media.

Fulton had already been brewing beer contracted through another small brewery while its facilities were being built.  They found a distributor and were finding an audience at a number of local bars.  Word-of-mouth, however, was too slow. It was vital their tap room was successful starting the very first month. Emphasis was placed on building their target audience on Facebook and Twitter. They built up their “likes” and “followers” by networking these target audiences;  beer enthusiasts, Twins fans,  downtown commuters and North Loop residents.  When the tap room doors opened in March of 2012 it was a huge success.

Social media helped build the foundation and has been reenforcing it ever since. Fulton expanded its reach into the community with a heavy event and tasting schedule – all promoted via Facebook and Twitter. The more time spent promoting via social media, the more they learned about their beer fans, built-in market research without having to hire an agency.  Fulton posts and tweets focus on self-promotion, but are well written and display high-quality photos and graphics.

Since 2012 Fulton has more than doubled in size. Their beer is popular throughout the region in bars and in bottles. Fulton is even sold on tap inside Target Field. They are currently building a new brewing facility in Northeast Minneapolis set to open later thiImages year so that they can keep up with demand.

Here’s a snapshot of Fulton’s social media activity:

  • Facebook:  11,600 Likes,  daily posts, lots of photos and graphics
  • Twitter:  18,000 Followers,  2900 Tweets,  1-3 per day
  • Flickr:   Lots of great photos,  not active at this time
  • Events & Tastings – 23 for May, all promoted via fb and Twitter




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Social Media Helps My Paradigm Shift for Food



Growing up, I never really understood why my mother would say that she never knew what to cook. I do remember her saying she was tired of her own cooking. The menu was typical American food: hamburgers, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, baked chicken, etc. No, the chicken was never fried –she probably did not want to have a hot oil mess on her hands. Funny, when we went to grandma’s, she made some darn good fried chicken in her black cast-iron pan and my mother always said that she liked it.

Julia Child

Julia Child with one our her fabulous dishes.

Oh, how did I forget to mention potatoes and hot dishes? There was some form of potatoes at nearly every evening dinner. I get it. We needed our starch. The hot dishes all seemed to have a base of some type of Campbell’s soup, either tomato or cream of mushroom. There was one hot dish she made that was just plain tasteless. It was hamburger and chunky slices of potatoes. I am almost positive that one of the ingredients was cream of mushroom soup. I believe I let it be known at least once that I did not care for that dish. My wish was never granted. Thank God, I did not hate it. Sometimes it is better to just eat it and move on. The porcupine meatballs (hamburger, rice, and surprise-Campbell’s tomato soup) were tasty. They were always served with a side of mashed potatoes covered with creamed corn. I love creamed corn to this day. My partner will joke with me when I do occasionally have creamed corn with the mashed potatoes. He likens it to waste from a diaper. I should not complain. She fed us well and made sure that we received nutrition from all of the food groups.dreams and casseroles

Yes, mom did have cookbooks, but she never seemed interested in trying out new recipes. Her mother did not work from written recipes. It was all in her mind. As a result, there never were any unique dishes from Czechoslovakia that were made at our house. Kolacky are a Bohemian pastry filled with fruit that both my mother and I like. Grandma did make them, but did not teach my mother how to make them. Mother claims that they are difficult to make–you have to get the dough just right.

I think because my father was content with the menu, fine cuisine– just kidding, new foods were never going to see the light of day.

As an adult, I can relate to my mother’s feeling stuck with her cooking. I am breaking the mold and attempting to be a little more adventuresome. The internet has been a great source of recipes and inspiration. As Rachel Maddow, a host from MSNBC, says “Watch this space”. TAM

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Social Media Fuels The Craft Brewery Explosion: Profile of Indeed Brewing Co.

Indeed_badge_colorLowEarly one spring day in 2012 I got the news, big news.  I was working at my job at the cartography company in the cavernous  Northrup King Building in Northeast Minneapolis, an old warehouse converted to artist lofts,  when the property manager strolled in and casually mentioned, “Did you hear that there’s going to be a brewery in our hood?”. “Where? When?”, I could scarcely contain my excitement. “About 50 yards from here, across the railroad tracks.”  From that moment on, I began scheming ways of running a tap line under the train tracks and into the our office.

Alas, the fantasy was short lived,  by the time the Indeed Brewing Company opened in the Solar Arts Building early the following spring, my days at Hedberg Maps were coming to a close. Map publishing is not exactly a booming business these days. Craft beer, however, IS! Hedberg published a couple editions of Twin Cities Beer Map, and I …um, volunteered to do some research.  There were a few pints enjoyed on Indeed’s patio, a mere stone’s throw from my desk.

So, in the name of academia and for 25 points in this Social Media class, I, once again, donate my time and effort to…volunteer some “research” on local craft breweries. Of course, one must know about what products one is writing about, but that story, my friends, will have to wait.  As you know, there has been an explosion of craft brewery openings in Minnesota and throughout nation.  In the Twin Cities alone, we have 15 at the latest count,  with more under construction.  Scarcely a day goes by without craft beer being mentioned in the local media, it is a BIG DEAL.

So, imagine the new revival of an industry that is being championed by and catering to a generation of urban hipster, 20-somethings to early 40-somethings.  Pop you head in a any new brewery tap room and there’s hardly a male without facial hair, this ain’t your father’s beer hall, (though he might like it!).  The women follow the same demos (minus the facial hair). It all looks like a scene out of Portlandia.  That being said, this is an industry that is being promoted and fueled by social media.  In this blog series, I want to examine the role that social media plays as these baby beer companies learn how to crawl, or, in some cases, are already running gracefully.

indeed postersIf I couldn’t have a tap line coming into my office, I could at least enjoy the whimsical artwork behind Indeed Brewing Company’s brand. Kind of steam punk meets Alice In Wonderland, they have a very creative approach to their website.  Indeed Brewing opened during the 2nd wave craft breweries in the Twin Cities,  following on the heels of Surly, Flat Earth Brewing Co and Lift Bridge.  When they opened their doors at 711 15th Ave NE in the Solar Arts Building on a side-street in NE Minneapolis there were no retail stores,  bars or restaurants around for blocks – only old warehouses, some converted to artist lofts, in an aging industrial park.  How in the hell was anyone going to find this place? Indeed did not have an advertising budget when they launched (I know, I tried to sell ads space to them in the beer map!) to lure in the masses.  Enter social media!  Their large patio and tap room was filled almost from their 1st week because they had done their homework and communicated; what they were, what they offered and where to find ’em – all via Facebook, Twitter, their website, events and earned media. Their creative efforts were poured into stunning artwork and design that complimented their brand.

These early efforts have paid off, they’ve gone through two expansions in the past two years to increase brewing and bottling capacity.  The tap-room remains very popular.  Events like Art-a-Whirl bring in thousands to their location.

Some observations on Indeed Brewing Co.’s social media:

  •  Facebook:  10,000 Likes,  almost daily posts,  mostly self-promotion, always including photo/graphic
  • Twitter:  12,000 Followers,  3100 tweets,  3-6 tweets daily,  mostly self-promotion,  lots of retweets
  • Blog:  weekly,  very well done!
  • Google +:  1132 Followers,  last post in January
  • Vimeo:   4 videos,  last posted 5 months ago
  • # of events promoted digitally = 20 during the month of May

Clearly,  Facebook and Twitter are the engines that communicate to their target audience. Where Indeed stands out is that they pay attention to the artwork and photos posted and tweeted. It reflects the image of the brewery and is of high quality.  I give their social media efforts an “A”.