That was Tori Avey's experience shortly after launching Shiksa in the Kitchen. Through a fluke series of circumstances, Avey (she brought the latkes to the potluck) ended up volunteering to host the first meeting of Food Bloggers L.A. that she ever attended — even though she'd never met a single member. "I just figured, 'Hey, jump right on in,' and folks couldn't be more welcoming."
"Blogging is a lonely craft," Londre said. "It takes an effort to get away from the computer and get away from the kitchen. But every time we do that, we can share questions and tips about how to do things better."
For trained chefs Louise Mellor of Geez Louise (the homemade focaccia bread) and Cheryl D. Lee of Black Girl Chef's Whites (roasted root vegetables), that has meant learning how to expand their brand beyond well-crafted recipes and into monetizing their blogs, food styling and photography, and the art and science of nabbing Web traffic.
"These are people who help build each other up," Mellor said.
There are times, though, when the collective wisdom of this group of savvy social media experts and bloggers is beside the point.
"We might not see each other all the time, but we're tweeting and commenting and linking to each other — we're breaking bread together, virtually," Lee said. "I don't need to be related to you to consider you family. And I definitely consider this my second family."