Tuesday, April 17, 2012

On "pink slime" and social media

Great quote of the week from a story reflecting on the seeming demise of Beef Products, Inc. (BPI), maker of so-called "pink slime":
Why the outrage around BPI? The Web petition? The TV coverage? “That’s the wrong way to think about this,” says Matthew Salganik, an assistant professor of sociology at Princeton University. “Imagine a forest fire. No one thinks, ‘Which lightning strike did it?’” More telling are the scant rainfall and hot weather that set the stage for a blaze. The meat industry has been taking heat in books, films, and news stories for years. Add a catchy phrase, schoolchildren, and the prospect that some icky-sounding stuff is in Junior’s Whopper, and you have a PR disaster. “Social media is something that adds oxygen to the environment,” explains Salganik. “It increases the chance that a small spark will turn into a big fire.”
Salganik's remarks underscore the nature of social media as a connecting force that enables viral communication among humans.