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Food for Thought: Social Media That's Actually Social

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Another solo lunch.

I poked at my plate, mixing the green beans into the risotto and wished for my wife's company. For seven years we shared lunch at our tiny, dinner-only restaurant. I always cooked extra because even in a small restaurant, there were plenty of visitors: wine reps, food brokers, friends or other chefs just stopping in to borrow lemons or a few quarts of cream. If someone came in during lunch time I wanted to have enough to share and those meals, the impromptu get-together with friends and associates, were a reminder of why I got into this business. I love making people happy and do so through cooking.

Then we opened a butcher shop. My wife ran the butcher shop while I stayed at the restaurant. We only succeeded in making ourselves miserable. I quit cooking lunch and instead ended up eating a quick sandwich or leftovers while I prepped, paid bills or answered email. When visitors showed up at lunch time, I was usually empty-handed. Our favorite table sat quiet until we opened for service. The strain on our relationship was greater than the financial rewards of owning a second business and I dearly missed sharing lunch with my wife and friends on a daily basis.

Whether it's a great meal or a humble one, food should be communal. Sharing a meal with company, whether with new faces or familiar ones, creates the opportunity for that meal to become much more than sustenance. Some of my fondest memories of great meals are centered around the company first, food second. Yet our relationships are now initiated through a dizzying array of social media that creates a buffer to real friendship, formed through the safety of the web. There's something missing in a lot of social media, the "social" aspect.

Blend About is a way to actually meet people, face to face, no strings attached. It's not a dating or singles site, it's a way to connect with one another over dinner. If you're new to town, single or traveling on business, Blend About is worth a try. Once you fill out a profile on Blend About you'll receive invitations for dinner and that's it. Would you like to have dinner with people you've never met that share common interests, yes or no? Well yes, I would like to do that. It's a perfect avenue for folks new to town to meet people, share a great meal and develop a real friendship or business contacts. Or just share a meal and leave it at that. You can request invitations on specific dates, times and cities so it works well for the business traveler. You can even request dinner with specific people, a wish list based on common interests. Blend About can also send invites to your existing contacts through established media such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Traditional social media offers a multitude of opportunities yet Blend About offers something else. It's social media that's actually... social.

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