Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Bigger . . . Not Necessarily The Better

Bigger is better.

Bigger cars, bigger houses, and yes, even bigger burgers are the best.

In high school, my friends and I would visit Wendy’s and proudly test out their newest sensation, a “triple with cheese”—what was the biggest and the baddest burger at the time—three quarter pound all beef patties along with three slices of all American cheese and all of the fixings. There was something to be said for achievements having challenged almost a pound of food and won. 

The burger would hardly fit our hands and post consumption was a blur of slowed brain activities and slushed blood flow. I swear I could feel the cholesterol going straight to my veins; and at 18 years old, my hyperactivities did not stand a chance. The behemoth of a burger would slow down my sense of time and alter my sense of reality; we would vegetate for hours on all of consumption that was enough to feed a hungry village in China.

Guilt never entered my sluggish mind at the time; years later I would regret my decisions.

These days there are even bigger burgers—pounds of beef and ham and bacon and eggs and cheese on buns; some even deep-fried to add the bit extra all Americaness. These days, we cherish the silly TV hosts who would be paid to travel the country and take on their biggest rivals and slowly killing themselves with ten pound burgers and even worst ideologies disguised as all-American patriotism.

These days, if you don’t love the biggest burgers or the biggest man eating the biggest burgers, you are not American; you can hardly pass as a patriot.

I hope somewhere, real patriotic people know that false patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. I hope somewhere in America, they are disgusted by things such as Man vs. Food and the sins of gluttony.

A few weeks ago I heard the same principal argument made with regards to the new social media phenomenon. As journalism slowly fades into irrelevance, more and more people are jumping onto the bandwagon of social media and professing to do what journalism has done for our democratic ideologies. I too fell pray to that trend and if you are reading this now, you are equally guilty of indulging in at least some intangible rants. I don't fault you, passing judgment is only reserved for my own misgivings.

NPR’s host had compared our over-consumption of information in this information age to our glutinously experience with the industrialized food fetishes. The guest goes on to argue that as much as we should avoid the “triple-with-cheese,” we should avoid the “triple-with-cheese” of the Internet age.

I second that sentiment.

As information becomes more readily accessible, publishing made easy, and we become increasingly isolated by our ignorance of what is actually good for us, we should curb our appetites, wisely choose what is good for us, and eat a balance diet of health and slow food—a balanced diet of health and slow information. Following Kim Kardashian’s twitter account to gauge our democratic ideals may be the same thing as eating the five pound burger hoping we would cure our diabetes.

Let’s not kid ourselves.

Recently, Wizness, the online network dedicated to sustainability professionals, announced it has partnered with the Social Media Sustainability Index (SMI) to identify social media sustainability best practices and trends.

The SMI and Wizness Social Media Sustainability Index, found that the number of companies embracing social media for their sustainability initiatives had more than doubled in 2011. They predict 2012 will see more of an increase.

The goal of "The SMI and Wizness Social Media Sustainability Index" is to provide a social media roadmap for communicators throughout the sustainability and CSR community. It ranks the ways in which 100 of the world's largest companies communicate their CSR initiatives with social media, provides recommendations on managing reputation and highlights the top 10 companies on the list.
(You can read the press release here regarding to the Social Media and Sustainability initiative.)

The press release, in its cautionary approach, noted: 

[T]hat good social media communication shouldn't be judged by the number of fans on Facebook or followers on Twitter. Ultimately, successful community building and social media engagement is about attracting the right audience, not necessarily the biggest audience.
Judge as how you would yourself but as you strive for healthier eating and better lives, and as you decide you can no longer stand my ignorant rants, I urge you to become that engaged audience--follow the trend sensibly and refuse to just become the biggest audience, but the smartest.

If I see you, I see you; if I don't, I wish you luck on becoming a healthier you. 

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