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6 questions for Marcella Hazan, queen of social media

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Such is the strangeness of the modern world, though, that I could stop by Hazan’s Facebook page and ask if “Marcella Hazan” was truly Marcella Hazan. (“Yes, my dear,” she replied). And even more intriguing is the fact that the octogenarian author is one of the most interactive Facebook celebrities I’ve ever seen, using the social media service as a personal home page rather than a promotional tool. No, she doesn’t play Farmville, but she writes elegant short essays in the “notes” function, she recommends magazine articles, she engages with friends and fans (currently numbering 3,232), and she leads discussions on food culture. She answers fans questions on issues such as whether prawns can be added to her recipe for fennel risotto. Her information page innocuously (but accurately) refers to her employment as “Self.” (Education: “Studied Biology, Paleonthology at University of Ferrara.”)

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I wondered what Hazan gets out of Facebook, what else she’s reading and writing about online, and whether we can expect to find her on Twitter next. She graciously answered questions via email:

1. Why did you join Facebook? And why join using a personal page (limited to 5,000 “friends”), rather than a "fan" page?

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