The Curator's News Feed: May 4, 2012

We must be hungry today. In this week's roundup of news, we have Thai, pretzel burgers, PopChips and meat. Happy Star Wars Day, and May the 4th be with you.

Simply Thai: A BA Cooking Primer, Bon Appetit. A couple of years ago my wife and I planned a trip down to Portland to eat at Pok Pok – a great restaurant we’d been hearing a lot about.  It was, in fact, worth the trip – that and we had breakfast the next morning at Mother’s Bistro and Bar, which sold the deal.  Fast forward to this last weekend where I stumbled onto this article in Bon Appétit on Pok Pok’s chef and founder Andy Ricker. The piece focuses on Ricker’s desire to make Thai cooking more approachable for home cooks. So, tomorrow night my wife and I will be trying to recreate the dishes we loved in our last visit to the restaurant all the way down to the Tamarind Whisky Sour I started the evening with.  It’s going to be a fun date night. Enjoy the weekend! – Scott

Status update: Anyone need my lung? PSFK. With over 140,000 people in the U.S. waiting for an organ transplant, Facebook has found a good use for oversharing: an organ donor status update. The new feature will allow registered donors to identify themselves as such, and help direct aspiring donors to the correct registry if they are interested in joining the ranks. With over 150,000 million Facebook users in the U.S. – and given that fact that very few people outside of ancient Egypt have any interest in the posthumous use of their organs – the new feature could significantly impact waitlisted organ beneficiaries. So what do you think? Is this information too personal to share on social media? – Matthew 

Life of Julia, BarackObama.com. All political affiliations aside, I think it’s pretty cool to see a major political site/campaign using infographics so well. You can click through the life of a woman as she ages to see how her experiences would be different under Obama versus Romney. To me, this is a reflection of an already social media-savvy campaign knowing how younger voters are likely to respond to infographics as a way to communicate ideas. – Lisa

How AgLocal Wants to Change the Meat Industry, Mashable. AgLocal, a startup that’s alpha launching later this summer, is one of those ideas that is so simple and brilliant you wonder why you didn’t think of it first (or maybe that’s just me…). This mobile-based app is all about helping small, independent farmers connect with distributors and consumers who want to know where the meat they’re eating comes from. Consumers can browse the site to find local farms who raise the type of meat they’re looking for, then place an order which will be delivered by an independent distributor to a grocery store, where they can then go pick it up. For vegetarians (or just people who like their veggies) this type of service is nothing new, but seeing as though more and more people are starting to care about locally-sourced and humanely treated meat, this carnivore-friendly service is long overdue. First markets will most likely be San Francisco and New York, but I can’t wait until they come to the Pacific Northwest! (Portlandia, anyone?) – Megan

Fixing the Engagement Gap, The BrandBuilder Blog. I like Olivier Blanchard’s blog for its distinct point of view that results of social media strategies *CAN* be quantified and measuring social media ROI is not only possible, but critical. I spent some time this week catching up on recent posts and was struck by a study Blanchard cited showing that less than 1% of fans of the BIGGEST brands on Facebook actually engage with these brands. 1% engagement?!? That’s pathetic, right? Read on if you want simple, no B.S. solutions for ways to help your organization boost engagement on Facebook or other social media/social business efforts.  – Ann Marie

Popchips Pulls Ashton Kutcher Ad Over Charges of Racism, New York Times and Riverboat resumes nostalgic cruises on Mississippi, SeattlePI.com. I skipped last week, so I’ll try to make up with it by giving two links this week. The first comes from The New York Times and is about the stupidest of stupid PR gaffes – Popchips’ featuring of Ashton Kutcher in brownface playing an Indian character (among others) named Raj and using a sing-song “Indian” accent. Whoever gave the green light to this project should be fired for thinking this would actually play well. And Ashton Kutcher should have more sense than to agree to do it. I’m frankly at a loss for words here.

The second pays homage to my past. And Ann Marie’s. No other explanation is needed.  – Dan

Feast Your Eyes on the Pretzelnator, the First Crowdsourced Burger at McDonald's, AdFreak. Who wants a “Pretzelnator?” The first crowd-sourced burger from McDonald’s is on a pretzel bun. As the article states, “User-driven marketing often feels like an artful dodge around doing actual creative work, but sometimes it does achieve cool results.” In this case, I think it did produce a successful outcome. I know a burger on a pretzel bun is something the Curator team would not say no to… – Julia

Ahead of I.P.O., Facebook Sets Price Range at $28 to $35, New York Times DealBook. The market was buzzing when Facebook first announced not long ago that the company opened its books for a historic IPO. Now the social media company is making headlines again with an estimated initial public offering price at $28-$35 a share, putting it on track to raise $10.6 billion and creating a debut that could place the company value at $86 billion. Needless to say, Zuckerberg is having a good day. Facebook is on deck for a road show to meet investors in cities including New York, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago and Baltimore in advance of the anticipated trading date of May 17 or 18. At this rate, Facebook is on track to be the largest Internet I.P.O. on record, even ahead of Google’s debut back in 2004. What does this all mean? Well, a lot. But, at the crux of it all it speaks to the value our business economy has placed behind social media.  – Annie