Ethan is the affable voice behind FEEDING ETHAN social connector and co-founder of FOOD BLOGGERS OF CANADA. He decided to pivot and change directions after spending over 10 years in the world of professional sports working with such organizations as the Montreal Canadiens and the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games. He’s now telling stories about food and travel through writing and photography while also working diligently to provide food bloggers more opportunities to showcase their own work. He’s also a huge fan of Seinfeld and believes that soup with crackers is a meal.
First off, tell us how you first got involved with food blogging.
It was 2009 and I had just moved from Montreal while working with the Montreal Canadiens as their retail buyer to work for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. The blog began as a way to share and explore my new west coast surroundings. Nowadays, it’s mainly documenting the food I eat/enjoy/devour and places I travel to with a few recipes and some of my own random thoughts thrown in for good measure.
Tell us a bit about the work you’ve done with Branding and Buzzing.
I was a part of the Sam In Hand program with Samuel Adams and was asked to make a snack using one of their beers. I opted for the Winter Lager which was perfect for my Beer Bacon Caramel Popcorn and to enjoy as a beverage too, obviously.
What does Social Media mean to you?
It’s changed a lot since I popped online in 2009. But at its core and used properly, I think it still remains the same. For me, social media allows for opportunities to connect and create with anyone and everyone in the world. In fact, even my business Food Bloggers of Canada wasn’t even a possibility a few years ago, social media changed all of that. I met my good friend and eventual business partner Melissa Hartfiel Eyes Bigger Than My Stomach through the wonders of social media.
What are some of the challenges you face working in the social media space?
I think the biggest challenge is that everyone is at such different stages of adoption and use within social media. And yet, everyone compares themselves to someone else and not always in a very healthy manner. I’m as guilty as it as anyone else, but instead of worrying or envying what someone else may or may not have based on perception, everyone should just focus on their own stuff and strive to simply grow and evolve as they want.
What blogger or blog(s) have been your biggest influence?
There are a few that I enjoy for various reasons. Joy Wilson Joy the Baker was one of the first blogs I discovered years ago, I’ve always liked how her blog is just a fun place to visit. Matt Armendariz Matt Bites takes beautiful photos and is just a great guy. We’re now friends, I’ve crashed at his place in LA and have even gone to Disneyland to visit Mickey together. Aimee Wimbush-Bourque Simple Bites blogs about a life that is completely opposite from mine but she inspires me in that a lot of what she does is within my grasp as well. Unrelated to food blogging is Mark Manson Mark Manson, I just like how he tells it the way it is. I also like to browse Cool Hunting Cool Hunting, never know what you’ll see that will get your creative juices flowing.
What do you think makes blogging in Vancouver different?
I don’t think Vancouver is different but rather, every city just has its own unique vibe when it comes to blogging. From a food perspective, I find Vancouver is a much more restaurant blogger-driven than other cities where cooking and baking blogs are more prominent.
What advice would you give to newcomers in this industry?
To begin with, invest the extra few $ and time to own your own domain as it makes life much easier down the road. Also, just have fun with it. Always try to keep in mind why you wanted to become a blogger. That should be why you want to sit down at your computer and tell your story.
What upcoming social media trends do you see in the food blogging industry?
Thankfully Facebook has left Instagram pretty much as is for now. Instagram will only continue to explode. With people’s attention span at an all-time low, a photo (and its 1000 words) has never been more prominent than it is now.
How do you see influencer marketing evolving in the next few years?
It’s now to the point that we don’t need companies to directly tell us what we want or need like back in the Mad Men traditional advertising days. Influencers are the new spokespeople. I’m dating myself, but nowadays Dan Marino wouldn’t be on television pitching/selling/telling us about his comfortable Isotoner gloves, instead he’d be doing it from his own platform to the people who want to hear directly from him.
I think it’s levelling the playing field a bit, big budgets can now be trumped by collaborating and creative ideas more than even before.
What’s one thing everyone should know about you?
Hmmm, I’ve been playing the same Lotto 6/49 numbers for over 20 years. One day those six numbers will hit for me and it will be a glorious day!