(Image sourced from google)
I know, its not a great way to start a blog by calling everyone fat but don’t’ fret, it’s not the physical fat I’m referring to. Instead, it’s the very serious problem of ‘information obesity’ occurring in todays technology infatuated world. And similarly to the physical pandemic of obesity, it is predominantly and rapidly consuming the young generation of today ie. Us! The reasons behind this crisis is clear, we have (and the generations after us even more so) grown up with the web, have been exposed to social media at a younger age than any other generation, and have developed an attachment to this easily accessible technology like our life depends on it. However, as our virtual cellulite spreads further and double, triple and quadruple chins start to form, social media sites such as Facebook, search engines such as Google and other websites that are constantly visited are laughing while we eat up everything they feed to us both explicitly and subliminally through their sites.
In the same way that the overindulgent consumption of food can lead to obesity, the overconsumption of information that we are exposed to on a daily basis can result in ‘information obesity’. Whitworth (2009) defines this term and ideology as the use of information that has not properly been converted into knowledge to comfort and support us in our lives, minds and bodies. Like the endless amount of junk food products that line our supermarket shelves, a homogenous effect occurs with the abundant supply of information on these websites, social media channels and apps being utilized. And I agree, it’s hard to avoid their ubiquitous influence!
Ironically, this surplus of information has been labeled a contributor to physical obesity in the younger generation. This being due to a large fraction of the information distributed and consumed revolving around our greatest weakness, food. The ability of today’s technology to interact and actively engage its consumer through blogs, social media, apps etc. indicates the feasibility of making an emotional connection to their contents. As a result, we are engulfing the cyber junk being fed to us and consequently, real life junk!
An example of this ‘information junk’ in use can be seen below. It was as easy as logging on to Facebook to find this example, and refreshing the page to find another.
Uploading these print screen shots to Photobucket, I found another, just like that! (screenshot of a video advertisement for an energy drink)
Now think about all the different channels of social media you use, the sites you visit, the videos you watch, the blogs you read, and the list goes on. You are consuming a lot of content without even realizing it. Now, I don’t want to be the one to point it out but, I think its time we ALL went on and information diet, don’t you agree?
This post was informed by:
Jolly, R. (2011). Marketing obesity? Junk food advertising and kids. (Working Paper 9). Parliament of Australia.
Montgomery, K., Grier, S., Chester, J., & Dorfman, L. (2011). Food marketing in the digital age: A conceptual framework and agenda for research. Washington, DC: American University, School of Communication, Kogod School of Business.
Poiata, C., & Zimerman, R. (2013). Information obesity: Food for thought in the digital age. Digital Trends, 2-13.
Whitworth, A. (2009). Information Obesity. England, UK: University of Manchester.