This weekend I saw a segment on the morning news about the investigations into Russian Troll Farms. These are the places that pump out emotionally charged, often ridiculous, social media posts, in order to sway your views, votes, and your opinion – and further divide our country.
For example, from the presidential campaign:
Page: Army of Jesus – “A Vote for Hilary is a Vote for Satan” – clearly targeted at Christian voters.
Page: Born Liberal – “Bernie Sanders: The Clinton Foundation IS the Problem!” – followed by some “quotes” by Bernie Sanders ripping on the Clinton Foundation – clearly targeted at potential Liberal voters, in order to sway votes from Clinton.
These are from sites that have been proven to be fake accounts, with the main goal of creating division and emotional knee jerk response.
The problem is people share, share, share, and share these posts as FACT, without even looking into them.
I see it all the time on social media – people simply sharing viral memes, and infographics that have cherry picked data, clever editing, and “facts” that don’t often tell the whole story.
So what the heck does this have to do with fitness and nutrition?
It’s the exact same problem.
“This ONE Food Will Trigger You to Gain Fat Instantly!”
“This 4 Minute Workout is ALL You Need to Get Shredded!”
“This supplement changed this woman’s life, and she’s sharing her secrets!”
“Lose 14 pounds in 4 days with this SCIENCE BACKED CLEANSE”
“Cut out carbs, and never DIET AGAIN!”
All this is bull****. But people click, click, click and share share share.
Just like the political posts, these are meant to get you to buy products (in the case of political posts – your support via votes)
We have become a society of instant gratification, social media justification of education (it has been proven that most people share things not to try and educate others, but to prove that they are “smart” about said topic), and using dumbed down memes to display our feelings and thoughts about various topics.
So here is what I encourage you to do:
1) Learn For Yourself
See a claim that one food will solve all your problems? Look for references. Look for data. Look for the source of the article. Look into the claims before jumping to a conclusion and buying an entire case of grass fed butter to put in your coffee. Reach out to a professional, ask questions, and learn about the claims being made.
Does the post tell the whole story? Or did they leave out some pretty important details?
2) Think For Yourself
After looking into claims, ask yourself “Does this make sense?”
Do you agree with the claims being made and feel that they are legit, and credible. Come to your OWN conclusion based off of actual research and data.
While social media does a lot of good – it also has created a mass echo chamber where everyone “likes” and “shares” stuff with the simple click of a button – and we become numb to actually thinking for ourselves. “If this guy has Dr. in front of his name he MUST be legit!” or “She has a killer body, so she MUST be a fitness and nutrition professional!”
Spoiler alert – if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is!
3) Speak For Yourself!
Instead of just sharing a selectively suggestive post, write up a few sentences expressing how YOU feel. Create your own content. Speak from the heart. If this is how you feel – be confident in your position, but also be open to adult conversation and debate.
If you are convinced that “Carbs Are the Devil” – be ready to share what you found from looking into studies and examples – and be ready for some discussion.
I fully respect and support anyone who can come up with their own beliefs and conclusions, and will support their right to these beliefs – even if I don’t agree with you.
So lets do better folks. Start learning for yourself, thinking for yourself, and speaking for yourself.
Only then can you actually start DOING for you yourself.
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Stay healthy my friends,