Tag Archives: predictions

Prediction: Perceived Personalization

Written by: Eric Fransen
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It was sometime between my first battle with an Uruk captain and overthrowing my first war chief that I realized something was special about Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. While the gameplay itself was fantastic, it was something in particular about the game’s enemies that struck me. Each Uruk had a unique name, appearance, and set of weaknesses, strengths and fears. Each Uruk had its own personality that was only present in my game. If I fell in battle to one, he made sure to let me know the next time I saw him — in alarmingly specific detail.

This is all thanks to Monolith’s Nemesis System. What the Nemesis System has managed to accomplish is something extraordinary — and noticeably lacking in many other of its AAA game brethren: perceived personalization. It wasn’t a matter of going after these Uruks because the game said I had to — I went after them because I wanted to. For sweet, sweet vengeance. It was no longer purely a game mechanic. It was personal. It was as if I KNEW the Uruk and he existed purely to antagonize me and make my life more difficult. All of this made it that much more satisfying by the time I was able to exact my revenge by parting his head with his shoulders.

So what does this all have to do with digital marketing? Everything.

You see, Monolith has stumbled onto something utterly brilliant. Mechanics that go a long way in making you, the consumer, feel like you’re having a completely unique experience. At its core, the Nemesis system is essentially a bank of possible names, attributes, personalities and sound bytes that combine to form randomly created characters. But it’s how it all comes together to form a cohesive experience that’s where it really shines.

You could apply this same logic to attributes in product design, custom web experiences, or experiential events. If you feel like you’re the first and/or only person to experience something, how much better of an experience is that compared to a one-size-fits-all approach? By creating something truly unique, you’re creating social currency and empowering your consumers to speak on your behalf.

But why perceived personalization? Isn’t it just personalization? Yes and no. Yes, the experience is unique and personalized to me, the end user. But where I see the differentiation is the fact that it’s unique without any additional input from either the development side OR the user side. It’s a highly sophisticated automated system that makes me FEEL like it’s built specifically for me. That’s the magic. And something I believe we are going to start seeing even more in 2015.

What Advertising Will Look Like In 2020

Written by: Tom Edwards
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I wrote an article that appeared in iMedia Connection today. You can view that here and I’ve also posted it below. I hope you enjoy it.


As a technology-centric digital marketer, I am constantly evaluating consumer adoption trends, tech startups, and the latest in emerging platforms. My goal is to align consumer behavior with relevant digital solutions that create value for my partner brands.

We are in the midst of an innovation revolution, with a slew of new and innovative companies and startups vying to become the next big thing. We are now more connected than ever, and functions that used to require separate devices are now accessible simply through your phone. Finally, we have seen exponential growth in terms of the sheer volume of data being created.

We are also in a state of constant bombardment about the future state of digital marketing. Microsoft recently stated that the company believes by 2020 marketing departments will be reshaped to concentrate around three digital hubs: content, channels, and data.

Where should marketers and brands place bets over the next five years? What is hype over substance? Taking all of this into consideration, I interviewed my strategy teams in Los Angeles, New York, and Dallas to map the state of digital marketing in the year 2020.

This was a very interesting exercise, as my expectation was closely aligned to the idea that we would rally around five to ten top-level topics, which are mainstream points of discussion. After the first hour, we had identified 31 “territories” we felt were going to represent the next five years of digital marketing.

We had fun with discussions of drones, crypto currency, the internet of people, and more. While the team agreed fundamentally about certain platforms making an impact, there were pros and cons to impact and feasibility. The following are the top four territories we felt would be most relevant in five years.

Mobile plus wearables equals integrated mobile

Before we look forward with mobile, it is always helpful to take a quick look back. With the launch of the first iPhone in 2007, we experienced a transformational shift, which has since changed the way we live our lives.

Generation 1 iPhone.

Prior to its launch, most mobile phones were just that — phones. The iPhone was transformational, with simple emphasis on usability, utility, and personalization via a robust app marketplace.

Heading towards 2020, we will experience another transformational shift in mobile. This time, the transformation will be less about the handset and more about mobile-as-a-mindset — coming to life through a collection of integrated technologies, some virtual and some physical, such as wearables.

The rise of integrated mobile will create a seamless physical-to-digital or “phydigital” ecosystem. From a marketing perspective, integrated mobile represents the next iteration of media-to-shelf.

Tesco virtual supermarket. South Korea.

A brand’s ability to connect with a consumer will primarily exist through mobile connections. Such as when, based on consumers’ personal preferences, brands provide contextual content that seamlessly transitions into serving a location-specific value.

Converged media and mass customization

Traditional advertising shifts, combined with on-demand behaviors, such as connected televisions, original branded entertainment, curated content, and native advertising, all wrapped with mass customization, was an extremely hot topic of discussion with a majority of the team.

We have all seen the shifts in how media is consumed. Fragmentation and non-linear consumption will lead to more cohesive and relevant networks to connect with consumers. That sounds counterintuitive, but the fragmentation is an opportunity to reimagine connections with consumers in the near future.

Refined segmentation, based on usage and self-selected behavior — overlaid with the core desire for discovery and recommendations — will create signals and new points of connection based on platform consolidation over the next five years.

We will see better connectivity between the branded entertainment being consumed and the opportunity to personalize relevant and contextual information, which is focused on creating a 1:1 connection with the consumer.

We will see the shift in terms of branded entertainment, as well as social platforms such as Facebook, now making a major strategic pivot towards a reach and frequency model, which is built to provide incremental reach to television. This shift is also predicated on the principle of lowering post frequency with a high rate of personalization through targeted media.

Here is a whitepaper that I recently wrote outlining the full Facebook shift.

Internet of Things is now connected life

Another topic of interest to the team was the Internet of Things. The term “Internet of Things” was coined in the mid ’90s and may already be dated. “Connected life” seems to be the leading candidate to describe the next wave of interconnectivity.

You may have noticed the rise in intelligent home offerings, smart-grid enabled appliances, personal fitness devices, and enhanced vehicle telematics. All of this accessibility and interconnectivity leads to more opportunities for marketers to create relevant, predictive connections with consumers.

This is both a blessing and a curse for brands and marketers. As the various connected devices communicate with one another during the course of the day, they may soon have the predictive capabilities to deliver products in near real-time based on personalized preferences.

When this happens, it may fundamentally shift our current thoughts about the five stages of the consumer buying process. To recap, the current process is based on problem recognition or need state, information search, alternative evaluation, purchase decision, and post-purchase behavior.

With a predictive model based on interconnected systems, marketers will need to focus more intently on brand affinity to drive consideration, while also accounting for consumers having to take an additional step to proactively swap a product in an existing consideration set.

Close-up mid section of man touching crystal ballAccessibility and interconnectivity throughout our everyday lives will be built on yottabytes (1 trillion terabytes) of personalized data, which will drive digital marketing significantly beyond rudimentary banners and transform traditional thinking about digital marketing.


2014 and 2020 will be similar in that Google will still be incredibly relevant for digital marketers. Google is a key player in all of the previously discussed elements, such as mobile through Android, converged media through YouTube, mobile accessibility, connected life through Fiber, telematics and autonomous vehicles, and even wearables, with the continual evolution of products like Google Glass.

I am participating in the Glass Explorer program.

By serving as the curator of the open web, Google is not a portal such as Yahoo and MSN of the past. It’s not Facebook in terms of a closed platform that limits its footprint on the open web. Because of these factors, combined with the focus on innovation, Google will be an incredibly relevant marketing platform in 2020.

Its reach and focus on innovation, as well as owning key waypoints of consumer interaction from search, will give Google’s YouTube and Google+ the ability to focus on simplifying access to all properties through single sign-on.

After a recent meeting with the Google+ product team in NYC, it became very clear to me that the role of social in the Google ecosystem is less about the stream and more about the interconnectivity of the ecosystem and the ability to connect content where it is the most relevant for a consumer.

If I were a betting man, I would anticipate that Google’s staying power for the next five years, as well as the possible acquisition of other key discoveries and curation platforms, will round out its ability to go beyond search-and-retrieval, such as Pinterest and Evernote. Remember, you heard it here first.

No one truly knows what the future holds or what digital marketing will look like in 2020, but based on 14 years of digital experience and a strong track record of identifying substance over hype, I feel confident the Microsoft view of content, channels, and data is accurate. Integrated mobile, converged media, connected life, and Google all represent the core digital hubs of content, channels, and data — and each will be relevant in 2020.

Follow Edwards at @BlackFin360.

Planet system in your hand” image via Shutterstock.

Predictions for 2013

Written by: Digitally Approved
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Each year everyone and their mother expound on what is likely to happen in the coming year. A couple of years ago we figured, hek, why re-invent the wheel, we’ll just steal other people’s ideas and make them our own. Just kidding. What we really do is read through everyone’s predictions and pick out the ones we like. Then we add our thoughts, drop in a few quotes and some pretty pictures and give you a quick snapshot of what may just be waiting around the new year corner. If you’d like to download this in pretty White Paper form, grab that HERE, meanwhile we’ve pasted most of it in below.  Enjoy and Happy New Year!


Social and Digital in 2013: Predictions from Fanscape and other notable sources 

(A Fanscape POV)



Yes, we have our point of view of what will happen in 2013, but you don’t need yet another prediction list, do you? Rather than pontificate exclusively on what we think will happen, we’ve sifted through the myriad of predictions from great minds and loud voices and distilled them down to a handful of common themes and good ideas.  We think you, our friends, clients, colleagues, and even family members should find these interesting.  We tried not to use too many big words and whenever possible, added some pretty pictures.  So, consider this a fun read and hopefully you’ll find a few nuggets to make you sound smart at that Vegan dinner party you committed to attend as a New Year’s resolution.


Your Friends at Fanscape

P.S. We’ll gladly entertain any feedback, just send it to our CEO – LarryW@Fanscape.com.


The Year of The Connected Me

The recurring and overarching theme in this year’s predictions is connectivity. Thanks to our phones, our tablets, even our clothing, we’re always on. The result is that we’re doing more, we’re tracking more, and we expect more.  We don’t need a bigger TV, rather we need our connected devices to see us, talk to us, and encourage us to keep going when we really want to stop.

It will take more to get us off our couches and into the stores, but that’s a challenge that will be met.



The 2013 TrendWatching Report calls this, “(Self) Actualized,” and says that thanks to technology, we can do so much more to make ourselves better.   In their (edited) words…

The motivation behind most all consumption can be traced to self-improvement or transformation, if not simply being ‘better’ – more successful, popular, attractive, healthier, smarter. In 2013, more consumers than ever will adopt new technologies, platforms, and experiences to identify, measure, compete and learn their way towards a better self.  Welcome to the (self)-transformation economy.

The (self)-Transformational Economy

Self-Tech: Tech-driven hyper-intensity encompassing everything from mobile self-tracking and monitoring, to social (but also self-centered) media.

Accessible aspiration: Online culture, social media and the long tail of celebrity have unlocked a culture of no-limits aspiration and ambition.

Internal improvement: They’re seeking new ways to improve, enhance, and cherish themselves and their lifestyles.

Lifestyle maximization: Not just health, consumers are quantifying all sorts of lifestyle metrics from mood to location to finances and beyond.

Ambient technology: Quantified relies on sensors, devices, and online platform.  Key development is that these are increasingly flexible, natural, and wearable. If not, almost invisible.

Gamification of Self: Games make us more willing to improve.

Supporting Stats

  • In 1976, 25,000 people competed in marathons
  • In 2000, 353,000 competed in marathons
  • In 2011, 518,000 competed in marathons
  • 7 of 10 adults wear self-trackers (weight, diet, exercise, even w/o technology) – Pew 2012


If the business community has learned anything in the past couple of years, it’s that you can’t rest on your laurels, if you do, someone will come and take your business. Putting the customer at the center is vital.

Frog Design’s Kalle Buschmann explains, “For a long time Apple has been the poster child for the product and business development of experience-driven technology—and its success. But in the last two to three years we have seen new players, such as Square and Dropbox enter the market. As a result, established companies are being pressed to change their game. Specifically, the big ecosystem players: Google, Microsoft, and Amazon have done their homework, redesigned their websites, applications, operating systems, services, and added self-developed hardware. They all have one common goal, no matter how different their businesses: to optimize and differentiate the customer experience. In 2012 many of these efforts saw the light of day, but it will be in 2013 that the recent developments will reach their climax as customers start to respond to the new product landscape.

One thing that these product ecosystems have in common is that they don’t focus on the technology as a key differentiator anymore. Customer experience has become the only source of long-term competitive advantages, and today the main barrier to great experiences isn’t the tech. It’s business cases, company cultures, and the capabilities to deliver and orchestrate the intended experience through all touchpoints over time.“


Big data is a big topic. It was all the rage in 2012 and now that we know we can collect so much, how do we deal with it?

Mashable’s Lance Ulanoff predicts that “in 2013, we’ll see the fruits of that data: targeted information on all channels, new discoveries that impact all walks of life based on deep data dives. We’ll have better products, sharper and more insightful predictions (on future elections, weather; basic needs like food, water, shelter and energy). We’ll also see the rise of the Data Scientist.”

Eric Savitz from Forbes claimed, “Big data will meet social. Five richest big data sources on the Web include social graph, intent graph, consumption graph, interest graph and mobile graph. Concept of single corporate data warehouse is dead. Multiple systems need to be tied together.”

Expect not only more data, but more people that can actually deal with the data. We’re severely lacking in a workforce that can pro-actively determine which data to collect, translate it, and then make it actionable. In the words of Annika Jiminez at Greenplum, Data Scientists “must have very strong programming skills and foundational statistical chops and communication skills.” In other words, someone has to be able to explain how that data helps your business as if they were talking to your grandmother.


Mashable’s Lance Ulanoff also predicts that “in 2013, consumers will spend more time cleaning house, assuming that whatever they have posted on social media, what they consume and where they go will be public info — unless they actively seek to keep it out of the digital domain. Perhaps 2013 will see the rise of digital-jamming tools — software and hardware that acts a bit like “incognito mode” in Google Chrome. Not only can your own hardware not see where you are or what you’re doing, but third-party sensors are rendered unable to see you as well.”


If you aren’t sitting with your phone in your hand, your tablet or laptop, well, on your lap, while watching Game of Thrones or Modern Family, then you are in the minority. Stop calling it the second screen, it’s your primary screen.  You’re not carrying your 50” LCD around with you, are you?  No, it’s your mobile device that is with you all the time, so doesn’t that make it your first screen and not second? We don’t need to belabor how mobile is changing our lives, just expect it to continue to enhance our viewing experience in 2013.


Remember Borders? You know, that place where you could not only buy a book, but you could also sip coffee, listen to some music, and peruse the latest Blu-Rays. It was the first time you were actually encouraged to relax and do more than just buy what the retailer had to offer. Well, Amazon put them out of business, but that doesn’t mean we have to give up hope that it can actually be fun to walk into a store. Retail has to improve. The cocktail of technology, creative thinking, and the need to get out of the house will inspire someone soon to make us excited to deal with traffic and risk getting a parking ticket.

Look forward to interactive gesture-based kiosks, personalized shopping experiences, facial recognition, and cash transactions that don’t require change purses. And look for new forms of gamification and loyalty programs.


Talk to any mobile expert and they’ll tell you, it’s not about the device it’s about the mindset. You have to break yourself of thinking of mobile as a phone loaded with apps. Soon you will be the phone. Ok, before we get too sci-fi and start talking about chip implants, let’s just look at 2013 as the year we start wearing mobile devices.

From watches to shoes, from shirts to glasses, we’ll see a lot of technology stitched into the fabric of what we wear, gathering data and helping us live better lives.

Frog Design’s Paul Pugh said this about wearables, “Devices on our bodies will multiply. Sensors, cameras, input methods, and displays will work their way into our clothing.

They’ll listen for commands and whisper in our ears. Our environment will respond to us in new and interesting ways. The proliferation of large displays and projection technologies will relegate the small display on our phone to private or a constrained set of tasks. A new layered interaction model of touch, voice, and gesture will emerge as important as consumption: the continuous exchange of what we are doing, where we are, and who we are with. “

Supporting Stat

  • The wearable device market will be worth $1.5B by 2014, up from $800M in 2012  – (Juniper, Oct., 2012)


An article in Forbes stated, “Promising to be the most disruptive technology since the World Wide Web, the Internet of Things is predicted to result in up to 100 billion Internet-connected objects by 2020. Relying on embedded computing and sensors, and driven by smartphone and tablet adoption, IoT in 2013 will witness an explosion of new uses by consumers and enterprises alike. The public is captivated by the vision of being able to control everything in their homes and offices, from temperature, lighting and security to using devices to brew cups of coffee, program entertainment, check health records, and conduct a myriad of other tasks. Enterprises are also beginning to embrace IoT for tracking physical assets, managing customer relationships, and creating efficiencies in business operations and supply chains.”

Just what is the Internet of Things?

“Over 50% of Internet connections are things. In 2011, there were over 15 billion things on the Web, with   50 billion+ intermittent connections. By 2020, three will be over 30 billion connected things, with over 200 billion with intermittent connections. Key technologies here include embedded sensors, image recognition and NFC. By 2015, in more than 70% of enterprises, a single exec will oversee all Internet connected things. Becomes the Internet of Everything.”  – Eric Savitz, Forbes


One of our favorites that we’re lifting straight from Trendwatching is the idea that as consumers we’re excited to buy from our home country.  All those political ads back in October and November made us want to bring back jobs and innovation to the good ole USA.  “The perfect storm of consumers’ ever-greater lust for NEWISM and niches, the expectation of (instantly!) getting just the right product, ongoing eco-concerns and the desire for more interesting stories will all combine with the spread of new local manufacturing technologies such as 3D-printing and make-on-demand, to trigger a resurgence in domestic manufacturing in established markets in 2013.”


We couldn’t cover everything, but we’ll also be keeping an eye out for:

  • mCommerce
  • Content Organization and Curation
  • Education / Digital Universities
  • Crowdfunding
  • Same-Day-Delivery
  • Google+… Yes, Google+


And The Winner Goes To…

Written by: Digitally Approved
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We’re all movie buffs at Fanscape.  While most of us haven’t seen all the films nominated for the big awards, we do have our opinions.  Here is everyone at Fanscape’s favorite movie of last year (even though some of them are still out now):

Name Pick
Heather The Town
Eric Social Network
Larry Exit Through the Gift Shop
Bianca Despicable Me
Irene Inception
James True Grit
Michael Kids Are Alright
Christina Toy Story 3
Allie Social Network
Brad Social Network
Ben 127 Hours
Teala Social Network
Sherry Social Network
Melissa Inception
Christy Inception
Angela Social Network
Kate True Grit
Lisa True Grit
Bithika Inception
Andrew Toy Story 3
Terry King’s Speech
Charles Inception
Angie Inception
Liza Inception
Kristin True Grit
Inception 7
Social Network 6
True Grit 4
Toy Story 3 2

Social and Digital in 2011

Written by: Digitally Approved
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At the beginning and end of each year, recaps of the previous year are always prevalent.  Lists of best songs, movies, and books are the norm in blogs, newspapers, and magazines.  So too are predictions of what is to come, especially in the technology and marketing/advertising space.   At Fanscape, we also have our opinions about what we expect to see in the coming year.  What we’ve compiled here is a list of our predictions along with a few others we’ve seen that we completely agree with.

1. Smartphones as common as the toaster. 2011 is the year smartphones take over. With an expectation of smartphones nearing 50% penetration in the US, Verizon adding the iPhone, and tablets taking over, we’re all going to be walking, talking, emailing, playing, and sharing while we chew gum. Mobile extensions to your social marketing plans are a must. Optimize your messaging for iPhone, iPad, Galaxy, Blackberry, Droid, et al.

2. Companies will integrate social feedback into their decision making process. In 2011, we will see a growing number of companies finally go beyond using social channels merely for building awareness and providing support. Expect to see a rise in companies who, by end of year, will be recognized for socially-informed innovation, customer focus and work environment, much like Zappos and Amazon were a few years back. (Predicted by Ravit Lichtenberg on Read, Write, Web)

3. Social Commerce. People like their Facebook, that’s where they spend most of their time online.  Facebook would prefer you didn’t leave.  So, why not buy all your stuff right there? Right now on Facebook you can book your Delta Airlines flight and buy your buddy a Cold Stone Creamery ice cream.  We’re definitely going to see more of this transactional business directly on Facebook this year.  And then we’ll start seeing it in other social platforms, not to mention on our phones.

4. Website Evolution. Websites will continue to become more social. Should I have a website or should I just be on Facebook?  You need both.  In fact, you need to be in more places: LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, WordPress/Tumblr/Posterous.  And this list will grow.  Start by making your website more social.  Integrate Facebook open graph; allow people to “like” and rate the content on your website.  Overarching plan: give people a reason to return or else they’ll grab your store hours or client list and never come back.

5. Groupon: here today… Prediction is that we’ll burn out on the current incarnation by year’s end.  But that doesn’t mean it is going away.  Let’s call it what it is, the digital version of the guy with the sandwich board handing out flyers.  Retailers have more opportunities to drive people into their stores than ever before.  Ask a retailer if they liked their Groupon (and similar) experience and about half will say no.  Consider this a brilliant innovation or a retail marketing disrupter, but we’ll see more of this.  Google wasn’t going to spend a fortune buying Groupon for their health.  This is the evolution of targeted advertising.  Foursquare had you check in, Groupon had you buy a deal, expect a merging of the two: meet your friends at the local bar, the whole table gets a discount.  Reward the loyal and those who return, not just the lookie loos.

6.    The Digital Talent Pool The real talent—the ones you really want—are entrepreneurial and creative, and they’re not waiting around in your lobby to get a job. They’re trying it on their own.  Media outlets will find future talent on YouTube, iTunes, or other popular audio/video on-demand sites like BlogTalkRadio. NBC Universal announced an initiative last week where they will select 20 popular “tweeters” in each market to create content for their websites, broadcast segments, and other distribution channels.  (- Jessica Northey on Social Media Today)

7.    Video, not just for looking at babies and cats. YouTube is the number 4 most viewed website and guess who just cracked the top 20?  Netflix.  (per Alexa) Most of the sites on the rest of the list serve up plenty of video too (Facebook, Yahoo!, CNN, etc.).  Pay attention to sites like eHow and Howcast if you want to know how to build a table, bake a cake, or change a car battery.  People like visuals.  Show and tell is easier than ever and again, it’s what people want.  And going back to mobile, people can watch this on the go now too.

8.    Digital and Social immersion. Merge radio frequency identification (RFID) with smartphones and social networking and you complete the loop of total immersion in connectedness.  One word: EpicMix.  See what they are doing at Vail ski resorts and you’ll get it.  Your ski pass is embedded with a unique ID.  It knows where you are, how many miles you’ve skied, it tells you where your friends are, and it provides a platform to add photos and video.  You unlock badges that automatically update to your Facebook page.  You don’t need to do anything.  Imagine the extensions to shopping, dining, and travel.

9.    Cause Marketing. Expect brands to integrate a little extra feel good into their strategies.  Over the last two years charity started at home, but we’re starting to loosen our purse strings a little bit.  When it’s apples to apples, we’ll lean towards the more socially conscious product.  And technology is making this easy through things like text donations for NPR podcasts and fundraising apps such as kickstarter.  Remember this term too: Crowdfunding.

10.    Social Search. We put this at the end because it really started last year.  We just don’t believe everyone quite understands it yet.  At least not its implications for brands and their products.  Realize that when people now have conversations about you via open social networks (i.e. Twitter – for the moment), that filters into the search query.  Immediately.  So when you are looking up where to buy a barbecue, you’ll see real time conversations about the exact same thing!

Innovations and honorable mentions, a.k.a. things to keep an eye on this year: Quora, Social Scrapbooking, Social news on your tablet (e.g. Flipboard), near field communication (i.e. mobile payments, mobile ticketing, QR code reading, etc.), entertainment check-in apps (e.g. GetGlue, Philo, Miso), and of course, web-enabled televisions.

Food is More Than Just What You Eat

Written by: Digitally Approved
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Maybe I’m still in a food comma from the holidays, but I was excited to read the recent article announcing the Food Network’s 2009 food trend predictions.

I happen to be a huge fan of cooking shows – all kinds from every food challenge out there, to cake decorating, recipes in 20 minutes or less, and those really difficult meals they make look so easy to construct.  Because of my love for cooking I also keep an eye on communities, social networks, and blogs covering the topic.

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