Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Buyers Beware...Sellers, Too


Social media is really the business of storytelling. But it's also about telling a story.

Why is that a problem? Because sometimes the story is one that is not meant to be told.

Check out this little diddy on a couple of stay-at-home dads trying to make the world a better place. One pound of bacon at a time. (Remember how much I adore bacon?)

Mike Sula, a food writer for the Chicago area, used social media avenues to tell - and sell - the story of these two renegade pig butchers and bakers. Sula wrapped up the story nicely by showing all sides to the argument of whether or not it's safe practice to be a stay-at-home sausage-assembler, but in the end he painted a picture of optimism benefiting the small food processing business.

The problem is...he also shed light on the fact that the two pig-slicer and dicers held no official USDA certification to sell their backfat to other local businesses and restaurants. That's the part of the story that USDA officials were particularly interested in. That's also the reason they invaded restaurants who had purchased the questionable meat product and ordered them to get rid of the potentially faulty goods in the name of public health and all that is wonderful and properly-sanctioned. So Sula followed up with another social media quest for total transparency in reporting and marketing communications. In this latest story, he basically takes responsibility of publishing the details of the underground meat processing by tagging the story, "bullshit."

Call it a dog-eat-dog, people-eat-pig kind of world, if you will. But the fact is that times are tough for some folks and even tougher for others.
As one commenter commented, "wow, three harmless businesses and hundreds of jobs slammed by one story. Can't you write about the crooked bankers instead?" (Don't look now, but this comment was made by Laurence Mate.. author of "This Little Piggy," a blog about being an ameteur charcuterie...)

Oh, I don't know if we need to switch from talking about piggies to talking about kittys. Seems to me that much is being said about "fat cat bankers" in the news today and not much is actually being done about anything. Unless, of course, you ask the poor bastards at Frontera Grill as they tossed out hundreds of dollars worth of sea-salted pig shoulders during a Christmas season where hunger knows no holiday.

In this era of ubiquitous telecommunications and never-ending media manipulation, maybe it's time we act as individuals and personally sharpen our focus on determining the real answer to the burning question of, "Just because I can, should I?"