Media snack or good food guide?

I’m taking Sherrilynne’s tag bait on her post: Media snack attack which was prompted  Jeremiah Owyang.

However, I am not convinced the concept under discussion, or the tag round, is a .  There seems to be a lot of effort among PR bloggers to pass around ideas, but how many have real momentum or can be said to be a genuine unit of cultural information?

The idea of a media snacker is someone – demographically a young, digital native – who digests information in short bite size pieces, largely on the run.  It links into the idea of and the need for surfing rather than in-depth reflection as part of modern consumption of so much mediated information (let alone the direct stuff).

The meme asks bloggers how they accommodate media snackers.  In some senses, the blog itself helps snackers as they can quickly surf (using their bloglines or other RSS reader account) what is being said online.  But blogging also contributes to the overload in information that has led to the snacking habit.

So should we feed the media snacker with nibbles instead of serving up a quality gourmet feast?  The analogy is with those whose eating diet reflects grabbing fast food leading to society becoming increasingly “super sized.”  Has this been a good model to emulate in terms of gaining information?

In her “encore” slaying of the PR business, the identifies a number of problems that I believe relate to trends such as media snacking (that are themselves pseudo-social science).

She highlights the inability of PR to make a case based on a skill of written, evidential argument.  Instead, she notes the rise of unsubstantiated opinion.  Ironically, given the general criticism of PR education by practitioners, the skill of proving your case is honed through pursuing professional academic qualifications.

The pursuit of Search Engine Optimization, to ensure our information is easily found via Google is understandable.  But, I believe it is pointless to be found if you have nothing meaningful to say.  Back to the snacking analogy – you can find junk on any corner.  The mechanisation of food production utilising technology does not create good food any more than, as Strumpette observes, “a great computer does not make a writer”. 

Media snacking also supports her complaint that we’ve rejected healthy discrimination.  She directly states that ” McDonald’s equaling steak means we lose the learned language of fine steak.”

In terms of value vs volume, popular versus independent vetting, and the race to lowest common denominator, media snacking is evidence of the problems that the Strumpette lays at PR’s door.

Personally, I don’t believe PR is alone in supporting a lot of the trivialisation of life.  So as part of an effort to reject the nonsense, my answer to how I’m accommodating the media snackers is this long post.

If the snackers don’t like it – then great.  I’m much more interested in people who want to think and reflect on the information they digest.  Let’s champion real media – a good quality writer espousing on something interesting and meaningful.

Switch off the computer – ignore the clamour created by PR and marketing communicators with zero nutritional value – and go and read a classic book or quality newspaper instead.


  1. Ouch. But unfortunately no digital natives (only digital immigrants like me) will have read all the way to the end and reached your punchline.

  2. Well I read it all the way to the bottom. Thanks for taking part Heather. You always give quality and quantity! Yum!

  3. Okay – so do I appeal to the natives’ tastes with a short summary of the post? I’m going to ponder on the merits of a Greenbanana lite version…

  4. DK says:

    Great contribution to the debate for the PR sector…

    Have just added your voice to the many:

    MediaSnackers Founder

  5. james higham says:

    The idea of a media snacker is someone – demographically a young, digital native – who digests information in short bite size pieces, largely on the run.

    Whole problem of the blogosphere, Heather. Most thought out pieces fall flat, the short bites grab people.

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