Here’s a heartwarming story about kids, free speech, bad school lunches, blockhead adults, and the irresistible impact of social media to right the wrongs of the world.
For the past two months, one of my favorite reads has been Never Seconds, a blog started by 9-year-old Martha Payne of western Scotland to document the unappealing, non-nutritious lunches she was being served in her public primary school. Payne, whose mother is a doctor and father has a small farming property, started blogging in early May and went viral in days. She had a million viewers within a few weeks and 2 million this morning; was written up in Time, the Telegraph, the Daily Mail, and a number of food blogs; and got support from TV cheflebrity Jamie Oliver, whose series “Jamie’s School Dinners” kicked off school-food reform in England.
Martha complained about the quality of her school lunches and even provided pictures to document the horror. Those pictures apparently confused the local school board who stopped Martha from blogging. That, of course, starts the free speech argument, then add in Jamie Oliver the celebrity chef fighting to save eating one meal at a time, other platform journalists, mix in Twitter and you’ve got Change!
Update 3: Martha wins!: Three hours after its defensive statement was issued, the leader of the Argyll and Bute Council, Roddy McCuish, went on the BBC’s World At One program on Radio 4 and announced they were backing off the ban in response to a request from Scotland’s education minister along with vast pressure from social media.
Huzzah for the vast pressure of social media!
Even as you feel good you know something is wrong with the Vast Social Media Pressure Hypothesis. Why would a 9 year old kid blogger writing about bad school lunches attract over a million readers just a couple of weeks into web publishing? Millions of desperate tweets are twittered everyday and the Cool Table misses, ignores, or misunderstands them all. Then one day for reasons that no one knows, you get confirmation of the Vast Social Media Pressure Hypothesis. Why all this variability in the response of the Cool Table and the Vast Pressure Of Social Media against all that suffering, real or imagined?
I say again. There Are No Laws of Persuasion. If anyone did know how to make a story like this take wing, you’d find pork in the tree tops along with that mystery meat so beloved by all who ever ate a school lunch.
P.S. Jamie Oliver. Again. He’s the master of stepping into somebody’s spotlight. It’s the Vampire Persuasion Play™. You suck the blood out of another living persuasion event to stay alive yourself. Thus, Jamie is persuasive because Somebody Else is persuasive.
Maybe Vampire is too polite for the name of the Play.