Best Blog Post Ever: It’s Kinda Cheesy

by Sarah Henry on June 5, 2011 · 20 comments

in bay area bites,berkeley bites,food flotsam & jetsam

Cheese Board pizza straight from the oven. Photo: Christina Diaz

Recently I wrote a post for Bay Area Bites about how to be a “successful” food blogger.

Veteran and new bloggers responded favorably to the piece (though the “be a man” item gave some pause — and prompted a bit of snarkiness in cyberspace.) Fair enough.

But my latest Berkeleyside post has me thinking I should have added another tip to that piece: Invite readers to have their say.

Who knew that a round-up post — on the Top Ten pizzas in town, of all subjects — would generate more than 200 responses in the comments section, Facebook, and Twitter? Clearly, the dead tree media, who have been offering their readers this kind of coverage for years, are on to something.

That’s a commenting record for me; I think it might be for Berkeleyside as well. Everyone has an opinion when it comes to their favorite slice, I guess.

I’d been contemplating mixing up my column a bit anyway (regular readers may recall that I profile well-known and emerging food artisans, restauranteurs, and urban farmers for the site). But, truth be told, I didn’t have an interview lined up for last week and come Wednesday I was scrambling around, as we writers sometimes do, for something to say.

I mulled this matter over at my son’s baseball game when one of the dad’s mentioned he’d ordered pizzas for the kids. I asked him why he’d chosen the pizzeria he picked, a conversation about the best pies in town ensued, and voila, a column was conceived.

You might think a story about the good deeds of a fruit forager who donates to the homeless, or a profile of a food icon like Alice Waters, or a poignant tale about a restaurant couple who continue to work together after their marriage ends, would spur lots of reader responses. Not necessarily so.

But ask people for their pizza preferences and, it turns out, they have plenty to say. I’m still not sure what to make of it all. One thing I’m fairly certain of, though: The “best of” readers’ picks is likely to become a regular feature in my Friday food column.

Taking my own advice here: What do you make of this surge in responses? Chime in below.

Find more of Christina Diaz’s images here.

You might also like:

Where do you get the best pizza in Berkeley? You tell us
Berkeley Bites: Alice Waters
Natasha Boissier: Forages fruit, feeds hungry
The culinary couple behind Berkeley’s Corso and Rivoli
So You Want to be a Successful Food Blogger? Here’s How.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Christina Diaz June 5, 2011 at 6:53 pm

A lively discussion indeed, I can’t wait to hear the outcome of the reader poll!

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Sarah Henry June 5, 2011 at 9:13 pm

Christina, I ‘ll keep you posted, of course. And thanks again for the great images that accompanied the piece. Folks can check out more of your gorgeous photos right here:
http://christinadiaz.blogspot.com/

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amee June 6, 2011 at 7:28 am

I think a “best of” is a great idea. Every day people want to know where the best Thai takeout is. Or where the best margaritas are. While a city guide might be one persons opinion, a best of poll would show trends and what appeals to the masses (foodies?)

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Sarah Henry June 6, 2011 at 7:37 am

You’re right, of course, Amee. I’m thinking I might have a bit of fun with the concept moving forward with my B/side readers: Best politically correct plate, Best date destination, Best hole-in-the-wall, Best place to take out-of-towners to make them insanely jealous of your good food fortune.

Got any ideas you want to throw out, folks?

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Living Large June 6, 2011 at 7:49 am

Excellent idea!

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Sarah Henry June 6, 2011 at 11:01 am

Why thank you, LL.

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Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart June 6, 2011 at 9:09 am

You just never know what’s going to get people talking. Pizza, huh. I suppose it makes sense.

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Sarah Henry June 6, 2011 at 11:03 am

I guess people have strong preferences — and loyalty — to certain styles of pie.

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Sheryl June 6, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Over 200 responses -wow. When it comes to pizza, everyone seems to have something to say – and defend!

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Sarah Henry June 6, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Yep, I’ve been getting emails and calls from readers upset that their favorite place wasn’t mentioned on my “get the party started” list — and from irate pizzeria owners too. People really do care deeply, it seems, about pizza in this town.

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Jane Boursaw June 6, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Way to go on the comments! I think pizza is a great conversation starter, for sure, and people love offering up their opinions on what’s the best.
Jane Boursaw´s last [type] ..MTV Movie Awards 2011- Pics of Kristen Stewart- Rob Pattinson- Emma Watson and More

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Sarah Henry June 6, 2011 at 6:33 pm

People in my town sure are passionate about pizza — I suspect that’s true in many cities around the country.

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MyKidsEatSquid June 6, 2011 at 6:40 pm

Interesting! So I guess more “best ofs” are in the mix for you.

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Sarah Henry June 7, 2011 at 9:43 am

Looks like it, MKES, at least on the sites where I contribute food “content.”

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Kerry Dexter June 7, 2011 at 6:23 am

In my writing, I find that people often enjoy reading and spend time with posts similar to your interviews, but feel no particular need to comment. Seems to me that best of lists not only speak to strong opinions but to strong opinions which can be written about quickly — one of those things about the internet…
Kerry Dexter´s last [type] ..learning about Irish music

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Sarah Henry June 7, 2011 at 9:46 am

I’m so glad you made this point, Kerry. While I’m happy to do the occasional post where readers get to have their say in a big way, I’m more drawn to telling stories about the people behind the food. And those kinds of tales, as you note, don’t necessarily compel people to comment.

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Jennifer Margulis June 7, 2011 at 8:01 am

I know I love it when someone asks my opinion, and I love reading others’ responses. Plus pizza is a hot topic! We live in a world of pizza-holics (as this post will attest to: http://mothering.com/jennifermargulis/kids-and-food/are-you-a-pizzaholic/comment-page-1 )

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Sarah Henry June 7, 2011 at 9:47 am

Hilarious, Jen. Thanks for sharing your own, um, slice-of-life pizza post.

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