When Consuming Social Media, Chew Your Food Slowly

The other day I heard a report that evaluated how quickly we chew our food, or rather, the number of times we chew our food and how that affects our overall consumption of food.  Ultimately, too much consumption (without any energy expended) can result in becoming overweight, or worse, obese.

This particular study found that when test subjects were told to chew their food 15 times before swallowing, they consumed more than subjects who were told to chew their food 40 times.  Those who chewed their food 40 times before swallowing consumed less food and felt full after eating.  I found this fascinating.  

My husband and I both work, have two children and while we are committed to eating together as a family every night—at the dining room table, without the television on—these are not what you might call leisurely meals.  We consider the fact that we’re eating together at all a small miracle.

The Experiment

So, in typical fashion, I launched my own little experiment with the family the other night and the results were amazing. First, we had to really concentrate on what we were doing (eating) in order to even reach 40 ‘chews’ per bite before swallowing.  It became an exercise in observation and active participation in the meal itself, rather than consuming in order to move on to the next thing on the schedule.

I began to really taste what I was eating and evaluate whether or not I liked it. My son really got into it, giving us blow by blow accounts of his stats as he ate.  He’s been known to shove rather large bites into his mouth, barely chewing, gulping down and then moving on to the next thing before he even registers if he’s full.  He’s not alone, on any given night we’re all looking for more food within an hour or two after our meal.

Slowing down and actually digesting what we were eating did in fact lead to a feeling of fullness –we were satiated.

The Social Media Buffet Effect

Anyone else beginning to draw a correlation here with our ‘consumption’ of social media? It hit me like a lightning bolt.

We’re guilty of gorging on anything and everything in an effort to keep up and stay ahead, without really digesting what we’re reading, and in many cases without ever feeling satisfied.

How in the world should we address this phenomenon when we’re all (business owners, marketing strategists, PR pros) encouraged to be “up to date,” “stay ahead of the trends,” and “be in the know?”

I challenge you to not get caught up in the great big social media buffet that is before us. Refrain from becoming a glutton and “hoovering” up the latest trends, then just as quickly spewing them out to everyone in your stream without fully understanding what you’ve just read.

Your audience wants to know things. They want to know about the things that you have experienced, used, researched and yes, consumed.  Avoid stuffing yourself so full that you forget to actually digest and worse yet, misunderstand what you’ve just read, shared and now hold “authority” on.

“Wow, that’s really Pinterest-ing!”

Take Pinterest for example. I’m on it. Barely use it. Not quite certain of my plan for it and literally cringe every single time I get an alert that someone I know is following me.

But my goodness it’s HOT.  Am I writing posts on it? Absolutely not.  I share what I understand and find interesting, but I’ve not yet taken the time to consume and digest what is before me.  There are plenty out there doing just that (ahem, Gini Dietrich). Until I have the time and fortitude to actually dig in and chew each bite slowly so that I digest it, you’ll not hear anything ‘pinteresting’ out of me.

Slow Your Roll, People

It’s ok not to be ahead of the curve or creating the next big trend or crafting the box within which you will ultimately get out of.  It really is.  Chew your food and your information slowly.  Savor it. Figure out how to perfect it. Digest it. Understand its implications.

Your waistline and your audience will thank you for it.

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