So How was Twitterlicious?

by Bryan on June 5, 2009

I attended Tyler’s first twitter class that he has dubbed Twitterlicious. So how was it? It was very good. There is definite room for improvement, but it is hard not to pull for someone stepping out and embracing a new technology.

Was it perfect? Did it go off without a hitch? No. But it was definitely worth the participation.

It has been interesting to watch this class unfold. Tyler has been tweeting about the concept and the steps he took to implement it. My day job is instructional design and delivery, so I was intrigued to see how he would use the technology. It also helps that I am a Tyler Florence fan.

Evolution of an Idea

Initially it was proposed to have everyone follow each other during the class. This was very early, and abandoned. It would have been a nightmare. Tyler currently has 9,445 followers. Even if a fraction of those followers chose to follow each other, that would not be fun. Look at me, I did start this little pseudo-foodie blog, but I doubt I have much else in common with a lot of Tyler’s fans. They would quickly tire of having me in their twitterstream.

The next thing explored was a Twibe. Tyler set up Twitterlicious to manage the class. Although I missed any official announcement, it appears this idea was abandoned. None of Tyler’s tweets showed up in the twibe.

What launched was the simple use of a hashtag. Just before class Tyler sent out this message:

To participate in today class via Twitter simple follow #twtlish and everyone will be in a virtual class room.

If you are experienced in Twitter, this is all the information you need. If you are not, this could be confusing. I tried to help out by posting instructions on the Twibe, but there seemed to be a lot of confusion early on. We take a look at the tools to do this effectively later in this post.

The Class

Tyler Florence posted five options online for folks to choose from. Overwhelmingly, the burger was chosen. He posted the recipe and pictures on his web site. This was posted just before the class started, then over the course of about an hour, he posted the following tweets:

Hi Everybody. Welcome to Twitterlicious, the twitter cooking class designed to help you make great recipes for you family and friends.

Each week we’ll post five amazing dishes for you to choose from. On Wed. The dish with the most votes is the class recipe on Friday.

I’ll cook the dish at home, take step by step pictures and post them along with all of the recipes so you can follow along at your leisure.

To participate in today class via Twitter simple follow #twtlish and everyone will be in a virtual class room.

After we go through the recipe we’ll spend the rest of the class with a simple Q&A. No question is too small or no kitchen problem too big.

So with out any further adieu. Today’s class is about the Ultimate Burger. #twtlish

So I’ve had burgers from London To L.A. and ether they are fantastic or very boring.Today we’re going break down a fantastic burger #twtlish

Great burgers have three things in common. 1. Quality of Ingredients 2. Moisture and 3. Flavor #twtlish

Let’s take them one at a time. #twtlish

Quality is just that. The beef has to be outstanding. Grass fed is my personal favorite. The bun? fresh, soft, buttery golden brown.

everyone loves a juicy burger. That comes from marbling, the amount of fat vs. lean in the ground beef. #twtlish

70% – 30% lean to fat is ideal. #twtlish

last year we were playing around with different types of ground beef and found out that ground BRISKET is king! #twtlish

If you go to the butcher and grab a 2# brisket and ask them to grind it twice it will give you an amazing product. Perfect 70%-30% #twtlish

So the last thing that that all great burgers have in common is amazing flavor. Grilled beef alone is very flat in taste. #twtlish

Burgers needs a partner in crime! Ketchup? Mustard? Maybe. condiments taste great because of the sugar, acidity, and Spicy-ness #twtlish

So now that we know how to make a great burger, let’s make one. The recipe on my blog call for a 2# piece of brisket ground twice. #twtlish

Make 4, 8oz burgers. Split the mix into four pieces and form four perfect patties.Let them rest at room temp for 20 minutes #twtlish

Letting them rest will let them hold together better on the grill. #twtlish

Here comes the partner in crime! Green chili, roasted onion mayo with grilled lime. Off the chart ! #twtlish

use anaheim chilis or pablanos for the dressing. They have tones of fresh grassy flavor with out blowing your head off. #twtlish

Grill the chilis, onions and lime over high heat until the chili’s are blistered and the onions are charred and smokey. #twtlish

Peel the chili’s and finely chop with the onion. Blend both with a touch of sour cream and Mayo. Squeeze in the grilled juice, S&P #twtlish

when I cooking on the grill, I’ll take everything out there and keep the kitchen cool. Cook bacon in a pan on the grill. #twtlish

Burgers alone are bland. They need a decent amount of seasoning. Kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper and olive oil. #twtlish

burgers like a medium high heat. Not high. Because they are 8oz. thick they may burn over the high heat. med hi = less flare ups. #twtlish

If you like Medium Rare, we’re talking about 8 to 10 minutes per side. it should have internal temp of 132-ish #twtlish

Last but not least. The art of perfectly melted cheese. Never close the lid. Cheese goes from melted to liquified in a nano second. #twtlish

After the last flip. The temp on the burger alone in hot enough to melt the cheese.

The recipes and step by step photos are on by blog and will be up all weekend. Thanks for your PATIENCE (FNH!)

we’ll get better at this as the weeks go by but we welcome comments or suggestions on making this an amazing experience for everyone.

I’ll be taking questions all day. We’ve received TON! of questions. It may take an hour or so to get to everyone, but I will! #twtlish.

Class dismissed. Have a great weekend and keep on cooking! #twtlish

As of Friday evening he had still not answered any questions. I don’t doubt that he will get them up, but it is unclear how or where they will appear.

I like the format. I hope he continues the classes, though I am sure he will tweak the process. Here are the thoughts I have:

  1. Tighten up the timing of the Tweets. It seemed to take an awful long time between some of his tweets.
  2. Provide clearer information on how to participate. This was a first try, and I think it was great, but there were a lot of folks confused by the process.
  3. Answer questions sooner. This would probably require him having assistants gather the questions and give the to him in an organized way.
  4. Integrate Q&A into class. Maybe think in terms of sections and answer questions between each section. This would require even more coordination with assistants monitoring the questions coming in.

Tyler showed a lot of courage trying this experiment. He has actively solicited feedback, and I look forward to how Twitterlicious evolves over the coming weeks.

The Audience

So that is how Tyler did, what about the audience? It was a little chaotic. But I think a little more guidance on the front end could help. I only noticed two folks jumping in with the highly unoriginal and unhelpful #epicfail tweet. It was too early in the class, and unfair for the first go around. Some folks wanted others to keep quiet, not realizing they had control of that. I think the audience could benefit by:

  1. Realizing the unique and free opportunity Tyler is providing.
  2. Understanding how they can self-manage the class (filter out the noise) and therefore whine less about others.

I hope puts up a handy guide for folks, but for the time being, I’ll include some of my tips about the technology next.

The Technology

By using a Hash tag Tyler left the choice of tech up to his audience. Essentially a Hash tag is a label you add to a tweet to identify what it is all about. In fact you need no other tool than the Twitter home page. Tyler also helped by picking a nice compact hashtag. Since you need to add it to each tweet, it cuts down on what you post. #TylersTwitterliciousCookingClass would eat up too many characters. #twtlish only took 8 characters out (9 if you include a space).

To follow a hashtag you can:

  • Use the Twitter page to search real time for ‘#twtlish‘ and even save the search for later use.
  • Search on ‘#twtlish’ within most clients (I use TweetDeck).
  • Use a tool like TweetChat or TweetGrid to track and post.

A number of folks used TweetGrid, but I got so annoyed by that app tweeting:

I’m getting real-time search results at TweetGrid #twtlish

I don’t think I could ever use it. It is a horrible tool for an application like this, because everyone who uses it adds a pointless tweet into the stream telling you what they are using. Perhaps someone more familiar with the product could advise us if there is a way to override this “feature”.

I used TweetChat to follow the discussion. Here is a snapshot of the conversation from it:


Besides not sending out an annoying tweet for everyone who uses it, TweetChat has some really nice options:

  1. Once you log in with your twitter account, you can post right from the screen and it adds the hashtag to your post.
  2. You can list names to highlight. In the example above I had it highlight Tyler’s posts.
  3. You can choose accounts to ignore.

So, I am a big TweetChat fan, and this is the first time I have used it.

What are your thoughts? Please add your comments below. Anything you want to add about the experience, or tips on tools you uesed?

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