10 Biggest Social Media Food Moments of 2013

By Amanda Spurlock  |  December 18, 2013
Credit: Instagram/tipsforjesus

With 2013 winding down, let's look back at the biggest food moments of the year that happened online. From tipping receipts going viral to horrifying food photos, to Courtney Love crossing paths with a former NY food critic, our top ten picks for best social media moments in food are below. What are yours? Tell us in the comments.

  • No. 10: Boston 30 Under 30 Doppelganger Tumblr
    Color us flattered when we noticed someone had randomly created a Tumblr account solely dedicated to the doppelgangers of every single honoree on our 2013 Boston 30 under 30 list. We’ve yet to discover the mastermind behind this true work of art, but the selections are so spot-on and the descriptions so entertaining, we can’t not give this Tumblr a little love.

  • No. 9: Oreo’s Super Bowl tweet
    It’s not every day a small (although delicious) cookie can get the Twitter world a’roaring in the middle of the biggest football game of the year. Well, Oreo has quite the media team and was able to take advantage of a *minor* mishap that occurred during Beyonce’s Superbowl half-time performance. Within minutes of the stadium power’s going out, Oreo’s social team was able to produce one highly effective tweet with matching graphic, perfectly capturing the situation at hand while poking a little fun and making us all want some Oreos. (#putanoreoonit?)

  • Credit: AMC

    No. 8: Breaking Bad breaks into the food world
    The end of AMC's Breaking Bad series was devastating for fans of the highly rated show, and people felt it all over the nation. That’s why restaurants around the US went a little cray-cray with their Breaking Bad-themed specials and menus as well as “tours” highlighting spots where the television show was filmed. While not a social media phenomenon specifically, the social media world certainly enjoyed the way they could carry on the show and its spirits for a little while longer. Um, blue meth-inspired rock candy anyone?

  • No. 7: Tipping goes viral
    Tipping has been one hot topic in 2013, making major headlines quite a few times this year. From the Ruby Tuesday’s waitress who paid for her military-tied customer’s meal out of her pocket during the government shutdown, to the scammer who claimed she was stiffed for being gay, to an anonymous saint dishing out extra thousands as a tip in the name of Jesus, the sky appears to be the limit with what people can do (or lie about for attention) when it comes to tipping.

  • No. 6: Martha Stewart food photos
    We all have friends who post terrible food photos on social media, but we certainly didn't expect this kind of Instagram mishap to come from someone like Martha Stewart. Martha Stewart is a social media star of her own right. (She tweets often and carelessly, like the time she publicly wondered if she should call Apple so they can pick up her broken iPad.) But the disgusting food photos on her Twitter handle gained some real social attention this year. Another Martha Moment this year we can’t go without mentioning: her signing up for Match.com. What can Martha possibly do online in 2014 to surprise us? Only time will tell.

    (PS, if you want some good-looking food photos to look at, check out our list of 30 Food Accounts to Follow on Instagram.)

  • No. 5: No-Shows Get Shamed
    The reservation system works because people make reservations in advance and then when the day comes, they show up. A booked restaurant has to turn away customers and can lose money if they don’t have anyone else to replace the no-show. One restaurant in LA, Red Medicine, took to Twitter this year to publicize those who had committed the cardinal sin of not showing up. They declared that the people they tweeted about are the very ones you can blame for those times you have to wait for a reservation you actually did show up for. And those times are extremely annoying. We’re not sure we’d condone their actions here, but it certainly made for some entertaining tweets.  

  • No. 4: Amy’s Baking Company Freaks Out on Facebook

    Some of the best social accounts are those managed without any PR or marketing involved, especially when they desperately need it. This year after an episode of Kitchen Nightmares with Gordon Ramsay, Amy’s Baking Company’s Facebook page was exactly where you wanted to be. The Arizona bakery had just been busted on television for pocketing employees' tips, mass firings, yelling at customers and serving frozen food.

    After the show aired and people started talking about the bakery on Yelp and Reddit, Amy’s Baking Company started posting some really intense Facebook messages that made us wonder how anyone would ever want to step foot in their store. Some samples include “I AM NOT STUPID ALL OF YOU ARE” in all caps as well as management threatening to take legal action against their detractors. Later, the bakery claimed their Facebook page had been “hacked” and hired a PR firm.

  • No. 3: Starbucks Tweet a Coffee

    How often have you wished you could tweet something and it could magically appear? Well, Starbucks is working on that apparently. This year they launched a campaign that allowed you to “Tweet a coffee” to a friend, loved one or anyone whom you wish to treat. To receive the free coffee, your friend simply had to click a link to add the $5 gift to their Starbucks account. Brilliant. The day it launched, our editors became quite the Starbucks Fairies. If only other companies would get on board with the idea and someone would tweet us a new car.

  • No. 2: Paula Deen’s YouTube apology
    In effort to appear more “real,” when the Paula Deen racism scandal exploded in controversy this year, she took the YouTube approach to issue an apology. Unfortunately, her team managed to make this supposed-heartfelt apology the most highly produced nonsense to hit the oft-DIY platform. The jarring and obvious cuts every few seconds and awkward experience didn't help Deen's case one bit and probably made matters worse. Not to mention, this follow up video they released shortly after. Now that we think about it: when has a YouTube apology ever actually worked the way its creators intended?

  • No. 1: Frank Bruni finds Courtney Love’s cell phone in a cab
    Not exactly a food moment per se, but the serendipity of former New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni getting in the exact same cab where Courtney Love had lost her cell phone was one of the quirkiest things to happen on Twitter the entire year. Once Bruni realized the phone was hers, he tweeted at her to let her know and arrange a pickup. Through the exchange, Love revealed how relieved she was that a class-act such as Bruni picked up the phone instead of someone over at the NY Post. Oh snap!