Amazing Experience! : Roasting Veggies

cookexperience

I like to imagine that my social networking experience is a beautiful and wonderful thing that connects me directly to experts, helps me find good jobs, save money, do good and so on. I have this strange notion that we live in a time where technology connects us together and we are able to accomplish amazing things because of it.

This is the experience I would like to have while roasting vegetables, let me walk you through it…
(the above graphic explains my idea experience, click it for a more detailed view)

About Me and my Struggle
I am 35 years old, male, vegan, I try to eat healthy and I enjoy cooking.
My plan for dinner tonight is to do roasted vegetables over quinoa and arugula.
It’s almost dinner time and I’m realizing I need to get my vegetables started soon so that they will be done at a reasonable eating time, ideally before my girlfriend gets home.
I love cooking but I still have a lot of scientific questions about the process. I would prefer to get cooking advice from an expert than potentially making a mediocre meal.

Issues with Common Tools
Google – Google offers great searches and will give me a whole lot of information on cooking, I still have to filter through content to find my solutions to my specific problems. I also can’t quickly ask a follow up question.

Quora – Quora gives you direct access to experts in a variety of areas, the process is kind of slow and not great for timely issues.


The Amazing Experience (my delusional expectation)

Previous Knowledge

I start the quinoa in the rice cooker with a little vegan soup broth. The rice cooker is awesome for making quinoa the way I like.
I have beets, carrots, pineapple, mushrooms, onions, garlic and sweet potatoes as well an assortment of spices and staple cooking supplies.

Concerns

Having successfully roasted root vegetables before, I’m concerned about the pineapple and mushroom addition.
Since time is an issue, I don’t want to be searching online for answers, I want the answers to come to me, this will allow me to prep up the food I’m planning to cook with.

Tech Time

I quickly take a picture on my phone and send it out to twitter and instagram asking for help.
with 949 twitter followers and 460 instagram followers my plea for help goes out to master chefs and expert cooks all across the internets….

Resolution

In almost no time, I get a call from a professional chef, answering my question about roasting vegetables.
Following the advice of the chef, I make the best dinner ever.
My girlfriend is highly impressed with my awesome cooking skills and I’m super pleased with my social cooking experience.


 

The Reality (the experience as it happened)

Not surprisingly my ideal experience and the reality have some variation. The biggest difference happens when I reach out to my social network to find expert help.

Tech Time

I quickly take a picture on my phone and send it out to twitter and instagram asking for help.
with 949 twitter followers and 460 instagram followers you would think one person out there may be not only capable but also available to assist me.
tweet1

In my first tweet I ask for advice and include my phone number as a specific way I would like to be contacted in order to best get my questions answered quickly.

I’m looking for some roasted vegetable advice any excellent cooks out there have a few minutes to talk? please call me —

I don’t mind putting my phone number on twitter. In 2010 I did a simple test about putting your number of twitter check that out here. Back then I had no instagram followers and 587 twitter followers. The basic results from that indicated that unless you are some sort of famous superstar people aren’t going to abuse your number. As much as I like to think I have a massive following and everyone is interested in what I’m doing at all times, the reality is that most people could give a hoot.

instagramimg
instagram1

 

After a few minutes I post my instagram photo not only my instagram followers will see but also my twitter followers too. A photo explains a lot about what I’m doing and gives some context to what it is I’m looking for.

Time passes and I’m slightly frustrated as it’s clear that my dinner is going to be delayed and I still have questions that need answering.

Untitled-4

I send out a grumpy tweet indicating my frustration with my social network experience.

 

wormulus
I get a nice response from the amazingly awesome @wormulus. For many reasons, her reply and conversation meant a lot to me.

Resolution?

While my social network didn’t quite provide me with an expert chef to answer my questions, I reached a point where I just needed to cook and do what I can to make an outstanding meal while not totally knowing the best way to go about it.
I experiment a little with my roasted vegetables and add pineapple to my dish and quarter mushrooms to cook with my root vegetables, I make a delicious dinner.
My girlfriend is highly impressed with my awesome cooking skills despite dinner being ready an hour after I had intended.


Conclusion
Next time I need advice on cooking I should call my Mom. Honestly I think if I would more regularly engage with others and their questions I may get more help in the future on my project. In general people are not very likely to call a phone number to provide assistance.

Possible Solutions

  • Turn to Facebook – I would be more likely to get feedback from my facebook friends. I suppose part of my ideal experience would connect me with an expert who perhaps is a stranger to me.
  • Directly asking – Directly pushed my questions to experts or specialists in the field. I would still then be wasting time trying to track down an “expert” I suppose that’s why Little Bird exists. It doesn’t guarantee a response from them though and doesn’t allow for good followup questioning in a timely manner.
  • Calling – Picking up the phone might just be a perfect solutions. I might be able to reach out to some of the fanciest restaurants or cooking schools in the world. While this method may seem a little bizarre I’m guessing that within a few phone calls, I may find an experienced person with a little time to assist me with my problem. This is kind of what Clarify.fm does, however sometimes there is a charge for talking with an expert.
  • Books – I suppose I could just look through one of the many cookbooks on the shelf, this isn’t directly answering my question about roasting pineapples and mushrooms with root vegetables. This method also requires a lot of filtering content too.

Engineering my Ideal Experience
I do believe there are several ways to engineer my future experiences so they will match my ideal one.

Engaging With Others – On my part by engaging more with others, I might be able to get better direct feedback. Most likely if I was regularly engaging with others on social networks they would feel more apt to assist me with my problems.

Better Reach – I should be able to reach out to people that don’t follow me yet are interested in the subject of my tweet or instagram post.

Support Ticket – When you call for technical support, they will often open up a support ticket for you until your solution is found, why shouldn’t my social networks work the same. I could state my issue or my problems where I ask for support, a simple indicator icon could show that the current issue is either outstanding or resolved and perhaps entice more people to assist with my needs.

unresolved2

Reward – An expert cook might be more apt to pick up the phone and call if when they could gain social credit for such help. After listing themselves as an expert cook, could then get some sort of reward for their actions. This might work somewhat like Aardvark did before it’s demise. At the very least a public thank you might just be enough.

Takeaways

L. Nichols is amazing and if more people were like her the world would be a much better place. I hadn’t seen what she has been up to for some time so it was refreshing to go through her site and flickr images. Check out her site and follow her awesomeness on twitter @wormulus.

It’s difficult to get people to call you without a direct benefit to them. Maybe next time I should offer one of many direct benefits I could offer.

If I was Rock Hudson or some other famous popular movie star, I would probably get a mountain of phone calls because a good number of people believe that connecting with celebrities is valuable. This is also why celebrities may regularly be getting good freebies all over the place.

A lot of experts are probably busy being experts at what they do and they probably get paid pretty well to do what they do. They might not have time to answer my basic questions, I guess that’s why they are experts.

I shouldn’t rely so much on what others have to say about something, there are a lot of ways to learn to do something and sometimes you just need to dive in and learn from doing it.


I think the experience for people looking for help through social networks could be greatly improved. While cooking is one specific area, these concepts could be applied to pretty much any subject. With a few small adjustments to asking for help online, I feel that I can better engineer an experience that I would ideally want for myself.

If you still have some suggestions on roasting veggies, feel free to answer my question on quora through this link.

Happy cooking!

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