Monday, December 10, 2012

dumb article - "social media may be a weapon against obesity, experts say"

dumb article - "social media may be a weapon against obesity, experts say"


One of the dumbest articles I've read. From boston.com (emphasis mine):

In a new scientific statement published in the journal Circulation, the group calls for more research into how to incorporate social media into programs fighting childhood obesity. However, the AHA acknowledges that current research on social media intervention has been mixed and that social media is also linked with a few drawbacks. "Teenagers are texting and using Facebook and other social media as their primary communication with their peers, and we need to find out what factors can be incorporated into social media that will increase the effectiveness of these interventions to initiate and maintain weight loss in kids and adolescents," says Jennifer S. Li, lead author, in an AHA press release.
Yet while the statement notes that children are drawn to social media, preferring texting over paper journals, Li and her team note that social media also plays a role in cyber bullying, sexting, and privacy issues. "Doctors need to understand digital technology better so that they can offer guidance to patients and their families on avoiding such issues, and will be aware of any such problems that occur," she says. The report was published December 3 online and will appear in the January 15 issue of the journal Circulation. 

So many things wrong with this article, I'm not sure where to start..

  1. Who are these "experts"?
  2. Scientific study? And their results are: kids use social media, so we should try to figure out how to use that to make them exercise more? Really? How is that different from any other company in the world saying "Our customers use Facebook, so we should get a Facebook page"? Basically, they're publishing a study saying they have no idea what to do.
  3. Regardless of how they spin this, social media rarely makes you eat less and exercise more. My guess is the more you're using social media, the less you're outside, and the more likely it is that you have a bag of Cheetos and a Mountain Dew sitting next to you.


Don't tell me social media "may be a weapon", but you're not sure how to use it. You know what else "may be a weapon" against obesity? A shrink ray. But I'm not sure how to build one.

-Chris Butterworth

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