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#Austin360Eats: How Instagram, social media food photography have changed how we eat

Addie Broyles
Camille Styles shot this photo during the cover shoot for her new book, which is coming out this fall, and it’s one of her favorite Instagram shots.

If you scroll any social media feed these days, you’re likely to see lots of pictures of what people are eating (and drinking), especially if you’re looking on Instagram, the social media service that Facebook famously purchased in 2012 for a mind-blowing $1 billion.

There are lots of theories about why people like to share pictures of food. Some experts say it’s because eating is one of society’s most essential communal activities, and sharing food photos virtually is the next best thing to eating together.

Others say that food photos are so appealing because we have always started a meal by eating with our eyes, while others suggest that food has become something of a status symbol, and sharing a photo of a meal, particularly from a buzzworthy restaurant, is as much about establishing social media hierarchy as it is documenting what we ate today.

No matter why we share photos of food, the fact is that we do it a lot. Even with the news late last year that looking at food photos can increase satiation while decreasing physical enjoyment of food, Americans are sharing more than 50 million photos a day on Instagram alone.

How many of those are food photos? About half, if I’m scrolling through posts from the 500 people I follow on the service. Granted, I follow a lot of people who care a lot about food, but no matter how you count it or on which social media site you spend the most time, no one would argue against the fact that we are sharing more food photos now than ever before.

With this in mind, we’re launching a new social media-to-print project today called #Austin360Eats, which will allow both Statesman staffers and readers to share the best of what they’re enjoying at local restaurants, trailers, cafes and bars.

To participate, all you have to do is use the hashtag — #Austin360Eats — in the post on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, along with whatever other information about the photo you want to include, and we’ll pull them into a gallery on Each week, we’ll publish the best submission in the print edition of Austin360, and you can chime in on the conversation at Facebook/Austin360Eats.

Our goal? To show, in as close to real time as we can, what Austinites are eating and drinking in every corner of our fair city.

To help launch this project, we reached out to a few of Austin’s top food Instagrammers to find out their favorite places to eat right now and what drives them to pause before eating to take a snapshot of the moment.

Questions? Email me at, and you can find me on Twitter or Instagram at @broylesa.

Kristen Davenport, Owner of Capital City Bakery ()