By Shehtaz Huq ’14
Megan Matusky ’13 loves to share her cooking experiences. Writing a food blog called Cooking on Empty, she turned her passion into an interesting research project on digital media that combined English, sociology, and marketing.
As part of her research, Matusky wrote three blog posts a week that focused on recipes, health, money-saving dinners, or cooking time management. She also created a cooking video and a podcast.
“People are driven to these communities in masses because they gain social respect and connections,” she says. “It’s a basic human need that people don’t always get in the real world.”
Matusky used this insight as she took on the challenge of increasing her Cooking on Empty readership. She began commenting and liking other food blogs, following food bloggers on Twitter, and joining online food communities.
After establishing herself in the blogging community, she turned to more theoretical applications and began looking at the idea of algorithms within digital technologies, such as how Google decides page rank and what shows up in web searches.
“Knowing how these algorithms work is crucial to making your site search engine optimized, yet algorithms are not as cut and dry as people assume them to be,” she says. “Algorithms are created by people, for companies whose main goal is to make money. This means algorithms can be biased.”
She also expanded her research to include digital book publishing.
“The entire industry of digital book publishing is extremely unbalanced because no one knows if self-publishers and digital books will eventually overtake traditionally published books,” she says.
The research project has helped Matuksy in her job as an associate editor at GreogoryFCA, a Philadelphia public relation firm, where she is writing and editing for the company and its clients.
After work, you can still find her trying out new recipes and sharing them with her readers on Cooking on Empty.