No good has ever come of me posting about Twitter. And I understand why. Twitter is currently the subject of so much slathering media coverage (yes, I am aware that I'm part of the media) that it’s almost impossible to not be cynical about the precious micro-blogging website. I am normally a highly cynical person. It’s not a trait I’m proud of, but if I curb my cynicism I become an over earnest hippy who farts sunshine and finds no fault in anything. These are my two gears. I much prefer the cynicism.
Never-the-less, I’m having a hard time remaining truly cynical about Twitter. It’s fucking useful, requires about zero effort, and no real commitment. I enjoy using it. I enjoy deluding myself into thinking that anyone might give two shits about the fact that I enjoyed a bag of microwave pork rinds. I enjoy that sometimes, people do give two shits. Or at least half a shit. And that’s good enough. Even if Stephanie Stricklen isn’t following me.
(pssst, Stephanie, remember that time when we talked at the Tillamook Mac and Cheese contest that we were both judging and I was all like “you’re my favorite news caster” and you were like “who the hell are you?” I’m that guy!)
Anyway, imagine how vindicated I felt when C-Net dropped this little article about Twitter and Food Carts:
Cooper Square is a local hot spot for gourmet food trucks, a phenomenon that's been making headlines in cities like New York and Los Angeles for about two years now. And more recently, these roving food outlets found a promotional niche on the Web thanks to the rise of Twitter, which lets them broadcast their changing location, advertise deals, and keep up a customer base. It fits: were there a culinary embodiment of short-and-sweet Twitter, it would be the food truck, mobile and ultra-niche and in the midst of broad yuppie popularity that some say will be a lasting cult following and some are still pegging as a fad. Plus, at least in certain U.S. cities, they're pretty much unavoidable.
One of those “certain U.S. cities” just happens to be Portland. Author Caroline McCarthy makes a point to mention Koi Fusion, our own version of LA’s beloved Korean taco truck, Kogi BBQ, that has a strong Twitter presence with 20,000 followers.
Just as Kogi uses Twitter to announce each day's locations, Koi Fusion has been using tweets to document their progress towards opening day, as well as where they’re parked for soft openings leading up to their official launch this week.
The recent soft opening was well documented on twitter, causing one attendee to tweet:
Anyone else in the really fucking big line at koi fusion right now?
The line isn’t that surprising, considering the truck has 823 followers (and counting) and a verbose booster in PDXFoodcarts for whom Koi Fusion has been a popular subject of tweets as of late.
As noted in the C-NET piece, it only seems logical that such a mobile business would use such a nimble marketing tool. But unlike LA and New York, many of Portland’s food carts and trucks remain planted throughout the year, making it less of a necessity to keep track of where they might pop-up at any given moment. The less mobile Portland cart or truck essentially uses Twitter the way most restaurants do: to update users about specials and menu items. Take the cart Savor Soup House for instance, that commonly tweets the day's selection:
Posole today! Mexican stew w/ succulent pulled pork & hominy topped w/sour cream, cilantro, scallions and lime. Could be perfect w/margarita
I like the twittering restaurant trend. I’d be more apt to stop into a favorite bar or eatery if I knew one of my favorite dishes was on special, or a much anticipated beer was on tap. I like it even better when linked to carts like Koi Fusion, which plans on being one of the more highly traveled trucks in the area.
I’m not sure what a Korean taco is. But lord knows I want to know where I can find one. Twitter lets me do that. How can I remain cynical?
For a compilation of twittering carts and restaurants check out PDX Plate, where you never need a Twitter account to be cool.