Featured on Feb 07, 2011
"Someday, somewhere - anywhere, unfailingly, you'll find yourself, and that, and only that, can be the happiest or bitterest hour of your life - Pablo Neruda"
Soraya Darabi began her career as Manager of Digital Partnerships and social media at the New York Times, where she successfully led the drive to market NYTimes.com across multiple social media platforms. In 2009, her New York Times multimedia Inauguration Day campaign on Facebook won first prize at the INMA Awards for excellence in marketing. Darabi was named one of AdAge magazine’s “25 People in Media to Follow on Twitter” and was on the “Silicon Alley 100” list in 2009. In June 2010, Fast Company featured Darabi on the cover of its “Most Creative People in Business” issue. She recently served as Product Lead at drop.io, a real-time online sharing and collaboration and presentation service based in New York City newly acquired by Facebook. Darabi now dedicates her time to the location-based mobile application Foodspotting.com and to ABC News. She also leverages her social media expertise to help important nonprofit causes, including Charity: Water, The Robin Hood Foundation, The United Nation's Global Pulse and Goods4Good.org. Darabi earned her BA in English literature at Georgetown University. Hoya Saxa.
- Title: Co-founder, Foodspotting + Digital Strategist to ABC News
- Age: 27
- Location: Gramercy
- Contact: @sorayadarabi
You had a lot of success as manager of digital partnerships and social-media marketing at the New York Times. What are your thoughts on Rupert Murdoch's iPad digital newspaper?
The Daily has hired a brilliant team. MTV's mobile genius Greg Clayman, The Times's multimedia visualization guru Gabe Dance, Social-Media rising star Abigail Jones and some of the best writers in the business. I'm actually very excited to see where this esteemed digital group takes the product.
Which dish or dishes would you consider yourself an expert in and do you think that your own Foodspotting page is a proper reflection of these dishes?
Like most women, I'm a sucker for sweets. I pride myself in knowing where the best almond croissant or ice cream cone in any city I've lived in may be. My Foodspotting page is a reflection on the delicious dishes I've recently discovered more so than a report on all of the best dishes in New York.
Your favorite meal is Hot Bánh mì from the streets of Hanoi, Vietnam. Have you found anything comparable here in New York?
Amy Cao, our Social Media Director, introduced me to Saigon Cafe in Soho and I do like their vegetable rolls... but no, nothing in New York compares to street food - especially the Bánh mi - in Hanoi. Imagine a baguette you'd find freshly baked in Paris met with the spiciest Asian marinade you've ever tasted. It's perfection.
You were named number 53 in Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business list for 2010. It was mentioned in that write article that you’ve “ earned a reputation among the digerati as someone who intuitively, if not effortlessly, understands where all this social-media stuff is going.” So in your opinion, where’s it going in 2011?
It's all about location. I think we are at the earliest infancy of the location based data revolution. A few months ago about 8 applications were listed in the Apple iTunes store as 'location based.' Hundreds will be housed there by the end of 2011, and hundreds of new smart phones will be released this year.
I do feel location insights are changing our world for the better: I update the areas where I run thanks to Nike+. I switch up the types of food I eat thanks to Foodspotting. I spend more time out socializing with my friends thanks to Foursquare. The insights mapped from these applications and soon dozens more are significantly changing my offline, real-world behavior. In the past, social-media felt like passive browsing and location based mobile applications are making the social-universe active.
It seems as if you do a great deal of traveling. What has been your favorite country to visit and why?
Every international trip feels like a favorite to me, but a trip to the scenic nation of Malawi with the organization Goods4Good.org back in 2007 was by far the most meaningful.