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Eating to Live Online: Virtual Food and Real Life

Food may be the new rock and roll, but there's a lot to hate about current food culture. The conversational territory is carved up into ridiculous feats of gluttony, Rube Goldberg cooking processes, mean-spirited reality TV competitions, food porn, snarky yelps, corporate swill mongering, and dogmatic diet proselytizing. Even something as well-intentioned as the local food movement can take on an elitist tone.

Amid all the bread and circuses, there are opportunities for change. With videos, podcasts, blogs, hangouts, we have the media to educate ourselves and the tools to create change. Or some of us do. Running parallel to the digital divide is a crisis of food insecurity obscured by foodie trends. Often, the very same populations who lack resources to take online cooking classes or create a blog also lack access to fresh, healthy food.

A vlogger, podcaster, chef, and journalist will discuss the extremes of hedonism and hunger and demonstrate how new media changes conversations.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. How can people with access to new media tools and food knowledge converse with people who lack access to those things?
  2. Is it possible to cut through all the online noise to get to important food-related social issues?
  3. How might we balance the desire for pageviews with the conviction that our content should have some nutritional or social value?
  4. What might we do to ensure that strong, persuasive arguments about food don't become dogmatic, bombastic, or boring?
  5. What does it mean to build community through food-related new media?



Will Burdette, podcaster, assistant director, DWRL, The University of Texas at Austin

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