All posts by eangus

Importance of social media in the creation of Old Timey Winey

After I leave University, I hope to go into the marketing profession, looking mainly at social media marketing. So being one of the individuals on this project in charge of the Old Timey Winey social media accounts, was the perfect way to get an insight into what I will be doing in the future. The name of our project needed to be clear in its intentions so we came up with ‘Old Timey Winey.’ This was perfect as it described exactly what we wanted to do, which was recreating both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink recipes from the Early Modern period, from the EMROC website. Part of the project was a social media outlet, we considered various outlets such as a YouTube channel, but in the end, we decided on just Twitter and Instagram.
Social media was a big part of this project. We were relying on Twitter and Instagram to highlight our project and gain attention. Setting up our Twitter account was important because many historians use Twitter as their preferred social media platform, including the various history lecturers at the University of Essex, therefore following them first would gain attention to the project if they followed us back. Twitter was also a good outlet to use as it allows us to post up to 4 pictures on one post and write a short and snappy comment to go along with it due to the 280 character limit. The character limit means that our pictures needed to be sharp and interesting, and the caption needed to be attention-grabbing.
Twitter allows you to retweet and like other people’s posts. By following similar projects such as, @Rare_Cooking and @EMRecipes who followed us back, we have automatically gained more following. If one of these accounts, or any account who follows us retweeted our posts to their high number of followings it gains attention to our account and hopefully means some of their followers follow us too. Following similar projects also gives us an insight into how our profiles should look.
Instagram is very different from Twitter. We were able to get the same handle (@OldTimeyWiney) on both platforms so we could easily link our profiles together. Instagram is a photo central platform, which also has Instagram stories so we are able to post our recreations including our raspberry wine. Instagram is also good because we do not have a word or character limit, therefore we are able to post a caption with the pictures, and then post hashtags to also bring attention to the project.
We also had the task of creating a blog site. This blog site would be used to show all of our recipes and the process behind them, showing the original recipes and the way that we were able to transcribe them and then modernising it. The blog would go alongside our Twitter and Instagram going into more detail about why we chose a certain recipe and showing the step by step process, as some of our recipes took a couple of weeks. (Above image: our blog site)
Hashtags (#) are essential to a social media post. An article from Jenna MacDonald from 2017 on the importance of using hashtags as a way to grow a brand states that they are vital as they make your content viewable by anyone who has an interest in your project because it goes beyond your own following and you are more likely to gain an audience from using them than not. When writing our hashtags, we are able to see if anyone that we follow, follows a certain hashtag.
Instagram is also a good outlet to use as we have set the profile up as a business profile, meaning we are able to see insights on our post and also our profile. Insights on our posts allow us to see how many people it attracted, and we can see how and where people are seeing our posts. Our insights on our Instagram posts show us how many people have seen our post, and how many who haven’t followed us have seen them. As you can see from the picture below, 7 people have found our post through hashtags, and whilst this does not seem much for a new and smaller account, it is 10% of the people reached was through hashtags highlighting their importance.
Instagram stories are also a great reason we chose Instagram as a chosen platform. When we were deciding if YouTube should be one of our platforms and decided it would be too much, we realised that we could incorporate the video side of a YouTube channel on Instagram through Instagram stories and Instagram Live. Instagram Live would have allowed us to Livestream trying our beverages to see how they tasted, and we would promote this Livestream on our personal accounts to bring in more followers to the page.
Social media was also perfect for our audience. Our main audience was university students, as university students and alcohol go well together! Additionally, a survey from the Independent in September 2019 revealed that British student spends an average of 55 hours a week on social media compared to just 14 hours on university work. This figure shows us that university students are our perfect audience for our social media platforms.
Once our recipes were transcribed, we had the job of modernising them so that we could more easily follow the recipes to re-create. We had a few issues along the way to do with the fermentation of the wines, however by snapping these failure shots it provided the perfect Instagram shot to show the reality side, that it has not been easy to make these recipes.
Overall social media has been a huge part of this project and we are happy that our platforms are growing in following and we aim to keep it updated with our various recipes.

Our current social media profiles. Instagram and Twitter (25/3/20)

The Importance of food in people’s lives throughout history

Food has always had a way of bringing people together, it means something different to each individual. Throughout history many things have changed or grown however food seems to have stayed the same, gifting food seems is evidently popular in the early modern period, and somewhat this is still apparent in today’s society too, time spent in the kitchen cooking or baking with or for loved ones is still the very much the same. In the early modern period a mother and her children may make her special recipe, and today a mother cooks dinner for her children and families cook together from recipes handed down. Food also has an interesting way of bringing cultures together.
For me personally, food played a very crucial role this summer in terms of bringing together various different cultures. Summer of 2019 I took part in the cultural exchange programme Camp America, whilst working at an American summer camp in Jackson, Michigan for 3 months I was immersed in American culture and I learnt a lot about their food habits as well as learning about traditional foods of other countries like Turkey, Brazil and Poland. We were given 3 meals every day, including dessert at dinner time and it was the meal times where I learnt many things about my new American friends. For starters, the Americans I met put ranch dressing on everything, from salad to sandwiches and pizza, I learnt to love ranch dressing almost as much as they did by the end of the summer! The last week of summer camp, the theme was ‘international week’ in which we celebrated the cultures of the counsellors and children from other countries, and each meal that week was something from one of the many cultures we had, so we had Polish Pierogi and German sausage in hot dogs for lunch one day, and Brazilian style chicken curry for dinner and even their take on a traditional English Breakfast one day. Despite the food they cooked not being the same as we would have at home, it meant a lot to us that they tried to bring a piece of our home country to America, and we got to share our culture through food with our American friends, the same way that they had done with us that summer. This summer showed me how important food to people was and how it is possible to learn about different cultures through food alone.

This got me thinking about food throughout history and what it has meant to different groups of people in the early modern period. Felicity Heal’s article Food Gifts, the Household and the Politics of Exchange in Early Modern England expresses how the food was symbolically used in gifting in Early Modern England. One example of this is Shakespeare’s play Richard III, where strawberries are used as a symbolic gift that Richard had seen in the garden. From around 1480 until the end of the Civil War, food was the most basic form of offering as it symbolised the balance of giving and receiving. Giving food as a gift was seen as one of the highest offerings, especially if the giver had taken the time to grow and harvest the food themselves to give to the receiver. In many cultures food allows relationships to flourish, as Heal’s article says, giving food as a present would have been seen as a token of affection, love and friendship. However, there were also negative connotations with food gifts, sometimes it could be seen as affectionate and neighbourly however it also ended up as a witchcraft accusation for some women, especially if the receiver was suspicious of the gift or felt an ‘evil’ presence surrounding it.
Food in early modern Europe was important, especially to the families who kept recipe books. Elaine Leong’s article Recipes, Gender and Practical Knowledge in the Early Modern English Household discusses how most families had a designated notebook in which they would record the different recipes and note down anything important about it. There is currently a vast historiography of recipe books online meaning that the families shared it with not only each other but with the next generation, and the fact that it was handed down highlights how important it was that they feel they had to share with their descendants. It seems that not much has changed over the years, with recipe books still in existence just in a different format and baking together as a family is still evident in today’s society, I know personally that me and my sister bake brownies cookies and cakes together whenever we can and many other families still have their own recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation, very similar to Early Modern England.
Food also evolved across Early Modern Europe when the kitchen was architecturally designed in houses. Before the kitchen emerged in households, food was cooked in various different rooms, by the seventeenth century, the word ‘kitchen’ meant the specialised word in which food was prepared and cooking took place, where servants worked and all utensils were held (Pennell S, the birth of the English Kitchen 1600-1805 (Locating the Kitchen) pp. 37-57). Food being prepared in one specialised room instead of a multi-purpose room meant that cooking became more domestic and allowed food to be so special to people in the way I have spoken about in this blog.

To conclude this blog, the main theme that I believe is important to note is that throughout history food has not changed in terms of its meanings in different people’s lives. Ultimately, food brings people together, whether it is by giving a friend a food gift, or even different cultures coming together by sharing their food, or families coming together by sharing their recipes and recipe books that have been in the family for many generations. Food has and always will find a way to bring people together.