Social media can be done right even when it’s not called social media and Facebook and Twitter aren’t involved. Sometimes it’s just the right person with a driving passion and a willingness start a conversation.
Blogs were made for people like John Talbott, a guy in love with Paris and fine dining and driven by a desire to write about everything he eats. But what John does extremely well is help people out. People, that is, who are looking for a wonderful dining experience while on vacation in Paris and need help finding the three or four places to spend their hard-earned Euros without falling into a tourist trap. He does this by constantly (and I mean constantly) answering questions on the Chowhound message board. He reports on new findings, discusses old classics, deflates the hype surrounding some bistros and even has patience to answer the “what is open on Sunday” question again and again.
I don’t know what came first: the blog or the board, but both complement each other and both have helped John become a true online force (dare I say brand?) in a topic he knows so much about: Parisian dining. As always, it’s all about the conversation.
Maybe John will start seeing some pay for his hard work: a web site called Paris by Mouth launched this week and John is one of its writers.
Disclosure: on a recent trip to Paris I had two wonderful meals at bistros John recommended: Rino and L’Agrume.