Last week I posted an article on my Italian blog. The article is a reaction on a slideshow that was sent to me by an acquaintance. I was one of he many receivers of this mail. After having viewed the slideshow I understood why it was forwarded to a whole bunch of people. Besides the fact the recipients could be found in the “To:” field of the mail instead of the “Bcc:” compromising the privacy of other people’s mail address, I wanted to analyze the message in the slideshow in common sense working out the real motivations and consequences.
The slideshow is about the benefits of fruit and about how fruit should be eaten. The point of view is very Italian and the storyline reminds me the average early morning television show where every day a different topic is chosen to be promoted. The first slide supposes you haven’t a clue about eating fruit stating: “To learn how to eat fruit is very important” and “Fruit is a very important nutrient” and goes on stating that it takes very little energy to digest and gives a high return to the body. The second slide states that glucose is the the only nutrient that is making you brains work properly and that the fructose can be transformed easily into glucose and that the high water content takes care of rinsing the body. The next slides tells the reader that the majority of people does not know how to eat fruit and that it is digested by the small intestine and should be eaten before anything else. If eaten later it might start fermenting. At a certain point there is a quote from a Cardiologist stating that fruit is the best food we can eat to protect the body against heart diseases and jumps to the Chinese and Japanese who use to drink hot drinks with their meals concluding you never should drink ice cold drinks since the cold is slowing down digestion. Hot drinks improve digestion and can even help us to loose some weight! Then there is a sudden end to the story with a last slide quoting a cardiologist (no name this time) who says: “If everybody receiving this message is sending it to 10 other people we can be sure to save at least 1 life” and closes with: “I did my part”. If I read this message again I read that you might save at least one life even if we send it to hundreds or even thousands of people… It is a statement with an “if” and a “might”, so it has no real value.
It is not the first time I receive a message like this one but I never took a moment to look at it thoroughly to study the message and to figure out the consequences and/or impact on others. To me this slideshow is a collection of quotes and statements that seems to be carefully chosen because of the trigger points they use. It is not clear where the slideshow originates from, the fascinating part is to see that the message on the last slide motivates the reader to take a chance and get a feeling of “I’ve done something good today, I’ve contributed in saving a life” without seeing it is most unlikely they will by sending around this message, not seeing all the other consequences of sending around emails to lots of people. The good feeling thus prevails over taking responsibility for an action.
By commenting on that mail and writing a blog about it I took my responsibility and deal with the reactions I had when reading the mail and the slideshow, providing a different point of view and showing how I deal with this kind of messages. I realize I can only be an example to others and have to be patient regarding to others opening themselves to a more conscious way of dealing with information.