Be Informational Not Confrontational

by Robyn Wright on March 24, 2013

in Social Media

Be Informational, Not ConfrontationalThis weekend there has been a new drama online about KFC’s kids meals. KFC invited several bloggers and their children to an event and they were promoting their updated kids meals. Then as the attendees started sharing on social media the drama started when those who are not fans of KFC (or fast food in general) jumped in too.

I have seen this type of thing happen before in social media. I appreciate that social media gives everyone a voice. What I dislike though is when people are being attacked. It is not generally a direct “Blogger Mary is stupid and a bad mom for feeding her kids XYZ Brand”. Instead you see generalized attacks about how gullible and uneducated bloggers who listen to the corporations must be or that even if they do know things they do not care because they got a free trip or free stuff. This bothers me tremendously.

What I would rather see is those who are opposed to something be kind and informational, not confrontational. I get that there are many who are passionate about healthy foods and I appreciate that – but instead of bashing something instead share on your social networking channels what you feel are better choices. If you do not like what KFC puts on their chicken, offer your alternative recipe on your blog. If you are concerned about additives in food, share your resources about those additives to inform others.

All of us want to have healthy food in general, although most are okay with an occasional splurge. I am one of these people that has been overweight for many years and it is something I am now working on – BUT there is a lot to learn. Like many, I learn best when information is presented in a positive way rather than reading so many negative things. I am always happy to read blogs that do this and I am learning as I go.

I am not perfect, I’m sure I could go back through my blog and find some posts that might not be so great. But we all learn and grow and try to be the best people we can be each day hopefully. Let’s just all try to be kinder to each other and be informational rather than confrontational.

© 2013, Robyn Wright. All rights reserved.

  • http://ChristinaGleason.com/ Christina Gleason

    None of us makes perfect choices all the time – the healthy eating brigade included. What I saw with this KFC fiasco was not a group of people helpfully talking about better food choices; I saw moms attacking other moms for making the same choices 72% of Americans make about enjoying fast food occasionally. It was not helpful or even professional. Other moms like me viewed the behavior as bullying, and the B word was also bandied about by marketers and random observers, turning our community into another punchline about mom blogger drama. Stop SHAMING each other.

    • http://twitter.com/JaMonkey Meghan Cooper

      Well said!

    • http://www.RobynsOnlineWorld.com/ Robyn’s Online World

      I’m with ya! Educate not infuriate!
      Subject: [robynsonlineworld] Re: Be Informational Not Confrontational

  • http://twitter.com/JaMonkey Meghan Cooper

    I totally agree. It reminds me of the “Mom on the iPhone” post that went around also. There was another blogger that put it quite clearly…why does everything have to be so negative. Besides, last time I checked it’s my child…not yours so mind your own business.

    • http://www.RobynsOnlineWorld.com/ Robyn’s Online World

      I totally missed the mom on the iphone LOL – hard to catch all the drama, and that’s a good thing! Subject: [robynsonlineworld] Re: Be Informational Not Confrontational

  • Mimi

    I have to agree with you. Educating someone instead of attacking them sounds like it would be a better, more positive way to get their message across. Making them feel bad as parents I don’t think helps them want to learn more as much as it makes them feel bad and defensive. What could be more empowering than education?

    • http://www.RobynsOnlineWorld.com/ Robyn’s Online World

      Thank you! Yes, it is just like kids. If a teacher makes them feel ashamed of getting a bad grade on a spelling test that does not make most kids want to study more. However, if the teacher gives them more tools for studying and encourages them chances are that child will try them and do better in the future! Subject: [robynsonlineworld] Re: Be Informational Not Confrontational

  • http://twitter.com/kngmckellar gloria mckellar

    I agree with you completely. Well said!

    • http://www.RobynsOnlineWorld.com/ Robyn’s Online World

      thanks Gloria!

      Subject: [robynsonlineworld] Re: Be Informational Not Confrontational

  • Tammilee

    Well said!!! We need to motivate each other not pick on each other.

    • http://www.RobynsOnlineWorld.com/ Robyn’s Online World

      Thanks Tammi!

      Subject: [robynsonlineworld] Re: Be Informational Not Confrontational

  • Leah Segedie

    Thank you for keeping the conversation going dear. I know how busy moms are and we are so fortunate to have so many of you seeing that KFC graphic that Kim made. I see fast food as a desperation meal that moms rely on when they are crazy busy. It happens to us all. I’m sure even Martha Stewart has taken her kids to drive thrus too.

    But I DO have a problem with large food brands that are partially responsible for creating a State of Unhealth defining what is “health-IER” actually is. The kids meal that was launched really isn’t any better for your kids than before. It still has carcinogens (which are cancer causing toxins), MSG, hydrogenated oils, transfats, LOADS of sodium and among other chemicals. Let’s just call a spade a spade. Does it have less calories? Only is you use their recommended sides, which I’m sure most people are not doing anyways cause their kids want that popcorn chicken. But for children, good nutrition has nothing to do with calories and everything to do with food sources. It’s about what’s IN your food.

    I don’t know about you, but I just don’t like it when fast food companies try to dress a pig up with lipstick to confuse the public. I don’t have a problem if you use KFC out of desperation. That makes you no different than the rest of the population. BUT I still want to help educate the public on what health really is and fast food just doesn’t cut it. Let’s stop berating ourselves from guilt for a minute because we have given our kids fast food, and take a look at the ingredients. I think there is danger in a fast food company confusing the public on what healthy is and then moms purchasing those items thinking they are making a better choice. It basically means EVERYONE is confused. I’m asking KFC to stop confusing the public. It’s a pig with lipstick. But a pig is a pig.

    Also, about the bloggers. I like most of them. Some I don’t know at all. But most of them I do. I just wish KFC would stop hiding behind the women and children and answer some of our tough questions.

    • http://www.RobynsOnlineWorld.com/ Robyn’s Online World

      Leah I totally understand that you are coming from a place of educating people, and I appreciate that. You know I am working on my own health and weight loss and it is a long process and it is a lot of information to take in. I have learned much from you. I know you are passionate about your causes with health and foods. I am not trying to defend fast food either. I am just trying to ask that everyone – all sides – be kinder to each other. Even though specific words may or may not be said, many times they are implied. It is hard to read inflection online often and moms are especially tough on themselves when they feel their parenting skills are being attacked. For anyone who has opposing opinions, I always think it is best to come from the side of education and kindness – err on the side of niceness! Subject: [robynsonlineworld] Re: Be Informational Not Confrontational

      • Leah Segedie

        I completely agree with you. Unfortunately, we live in a world where most people don’t really see the endgame as clearly. Bringing friends to the finish line together is best, building bridges, etc. Helping people be better instead of ripping them a new asshole, etc. AND I still think we can ALL come out of this better as an industry of bloggers who work with brands. Seriously. Mom bloggers are amazing and I am REALLY proud to be part of this community. I brag about you guys ALL THE FREAKING TIME because we as a group are so influential and really the perfect example of what “the people” really are. Brands bend over backwards to get our attention, spending millions of dollars for impressions, love, chatter, etc. The future of the change we can create together is SO BRIGHT. I’m an optimist. And yet, I’m also a food supply activist. But I adore you Robyn. Always have. :)

        • Leah Segedie

          Btw, there is ALWAYS a place for you at Mamavation if you want one. Weight loss is hard, but solid community is very helpful to learn from others who have been successful at it…challenges are shared experiences. We all benefit. We all triumph.

        • http://www.RobynsOnlineWorld.com/ Robyn’s Online World

          The feeling is mutual Leah :-) Subject: [robynsonlineworld] Re: Be Informational Not Confrontational

      • April Tara

        And I have yet to meet ANY mom or dad who was under the impression that fast food is healthy. It’s not like someone is going to read those blogs and think “Oh, yay, now we can have KFC every night!” Once again, there’s a handful of women in the community who appoint themselves to the position of Concern Police and go on the attack. It doesn’t work. Like Robyn’s headline says, be informational rather than confrontational.

        But trying to shove your judgments and opinions down the throats of other women as if they’re too stupid to know that fast food is bad for you? That just makes you look bad and I highly doubt it’s changing anyone’s mind.

        • http://www.RobynsOnlineWorld.com/ Robyn’s Online World

          And to be fair, it is not everyone who was upset about the KFC stuff that was being confrontational, but there were definitely some of them out there.Subject: [robynsonlineworld] Re: Be Informational Not Confrontational

  • http://naturallyeducational.com/ CandaceApril

    I looked through the stream a little, after reading your post. I was not involved nor aware at the time. While I can’t say there wasn’t any nastiness going on since I didn’t read the whole stream, I didn’t see any attacks on any moms participating or saying they eat at KFC. So, I can at least say it didn’t seem to be rampant, at the least. I did see a lot of people complaining about the use of the hashtag. I’ve said a bit on this subject before…I think a hashtag is a public conversation. If a brand opens a public conversation, they need to be prepared for both positive and negative participation. As long as it is on-topic, it is not spam. Also, while it is wonderful to be positive most of the time, sometimes you have to speak up when something just is not Kosher, in your opinion. As long as you are respectful of the *people* in the conversation (and brands are not people), then you should have a right to be part of that conversation and are not bullying. It looked like most of the people in the stream were being informational.

    • http://ChristinaGleason.com/ Christina Gleason

      The stream looked a whole lot different 24 hours ago. It’s gotten much better since.

      • http://naturallyeducational.com/ CandaceApril

        I did go back to yesterday–though, admittedly, not to the very beginning. I am not saying I don’t believe there may have been a few nasty tweets–though without any examples, I can’t say there were, either. Just that I often see people being called out for “attacking” or “bullying” when they are just adding information about the brand and the issue. My point was just that it is a valid addition to the conversation to share negative information about a brand or protest their push into the social media space with misleading marketing.

        • http://ChristinaGleason.com/ Christina Gleason

          I saw a few instances of things like, “You should be ashamed of yourself, forcing your child to test out that garbage. You’re giving them cancer.” I’m paraphrasing, but that was the gist of several tweets. Bloggers were accused of being stupid, being shills, being bad parents for participating in a fast food event. Rant at KFC all you want, but don’t personally attack the bloggers at the event. Not all of the critics were guilty of this, but a vocal few were.

          • http://naturallyeducational.com/ CandaceApril

            Not denying it is possible–but I didn’t see anything like that and without specific examples with exact language, I can’t say for certain one way or another what I would think of those tweets. No one should get nasty but I do think that if you sign up as an ambassador or make any agreement with a brand other than simply listen to what they had to say, you need to be ready to be challenged on that. But it should always be done respectfully.

        • http://www.RobynsOnlineWorld.com/ Robyn’s Online World

          I opted not to include any specific tweets in this post because that would be me calling out specific people and it may feel like I had attacked them – which of course is what my post is about not doing. Subject: [robynsonlineworld] Re: Be Informational Not Confrontational

    • http://www.RobynsOnlineWorld.com/ Robyn’s Online World

      Earlier on there was more of the confrontational things happening. I agree that it is a public discussion and open to all. Plus when you add a hashtag it becomes a very specific topic. I do love when people add their opinions – in that respectful manner. Subject: [robynsonlineworld] Re: Be Informational Not Confrontational

  • http://ChristinaGleason.com/ Christina Gleason

    Also. It’s almost NEVER a decision between eating at KFC versus cooking up a meal with hormone-free boneless skinless chicken breast and organic vegetables at home. It’s the decision between KFC and McDonald’s. It’s the decision between getting the fried chicken with a side of saturated fat-laden macaroni and cheese and a buttery biscuit or the NEW grilled chicken leg with applesauce or green beans. Yes, it’s still KFC, but it IS a better option. That IS healthier than the alternatives offered at the fast food restaurant you were going to go to anyways. (The fat and calorie content DOES matter, too.)

    Shaming people about eating fast food isn’t going to make them stop eating it. Informing people that there are COMPARATIVELY better choices available than there were before is not a bad thing either. Change comes in small steps, both personally and in the corporate world. So by all means, advocate for change in the fast food industry. Convince the restaurants to use better ingredients. But don’t disparage consumers for what they consume.

    Meet people where they’re at. Today, a child can now choose grilled chicken instead of fried chicken, and that IS an improvement. Maybe next week he’ll ask his mom to make the grilled chicken he previously thought was yucky, because he found he liked it when they went out to eat. Maybe he tried the green beans, and now he and his sister want to try growing their own in the back yard. We are constantly trying to improve as human beings. Berating people for accepting a small change in the right direction because it isn’t enough in your eyes? That’s just counterproductive.

    • http://www.RobynsOnlineWorld.com/ Robyn’s Online World

      Great points! That is kind of where I am at personally with food choices – it is baby steps!
      Subject: [robynsonlineworld] Re: Be Informational Not Confrontational

  • http://www.sayitrahshay.com Rachee

    Very well said! To make this a me too moment: I recently was invited to be a rep for a fast food company. When the lot of us announced that we were going to be working with the company there was so much push-back and negative comments. When we met with the company, I liked what they said and the presentation made sense.
    No where am I under the delusional that eating fast food daily is good for me but the occasional treat, the occasional splurge with options makes more sense than not having any.

    • http://www.RobynsOnlineWorld.com/ Robyn’s Online World

      Thanks Rachee. And obviously many feel the same way – heck just look at the photos on instagram and FB where folks snap pics of fast food they are eating even.Subject: [robynsonlineworld] Re: Be Informational Not Confrontational

  • Kenny F

    Well put!

  • Anne Coleman

    Thanks for writing this, Robyn. I’m on the side that tries not to feed my kids bad stuff, but I have 7 of those kids and sometimes it’s a necessity to grab and run. I don’t think I would think poorly of the bloggers who were sharing for KFC, and I’m sorry that anyone has made anyone else feel badly. Mom bloggers whether moms for health or moms for convenience are all in this together!

    • http://www.RobynsOnlineWorld.com/ Robyn’s Online World

      Thanks Anne – and I agree – we are all in this together! Subject: [robynsonlineworld] Re: Be Informational Not Confrontational

  • http://www.facebook.com/sheila.vives.1 Sheila Vives

    Unfortunately sometimes information that is delivered out of heart is perceived as confrontational just because it takes a different view regardless of how it is presented. While the Internet leaves out the advantages of voice tone, inflection, and body language, the problems would persist regardless. We all can learn to communicate better and more effectively. It doesn’t always mean someone else will adopt our views, but we can reduce the stress of any topic that may be viewed differently by different people. How we sound to ourselves, isn’t always how we sound or come across to someone else.

    • http://www.RobynsOnlineWorld.com/ Robyn’s Online World

      Agreed Sheila! Listening (reading) can be a hard skill for many – it is different in our heads sometimes than how the person meant it. Subject: [robynsonlineworld] Re: Be Informational Not Confrontational

  • http://jessicagottlieb.com JessicaGottlieb

    Robyn I have tremendous respect for you but I think you’ve missed the mark here.

    I will never be respectful to KFC, it’s just not going to happen. If a brand has a hashtag they’ve opened themselves up to discussion, sadly KFC was not interested in discussion, they hung those bloggers out to dry.

    When an incredibly unhealthy brand uses influencers to send a message that they are somehow healthy there’s going to be a backlash. When influencers parrot the words fed to them with no forethought they become less influential, less trustworthy around that topic. Clearly I would ask not one of the women who were at the KFC event for advice as it relates to food, nutrition, health or policy. That’s a fair conclusion to that particular series of events.

    As to the “bully” lob. That’s just ridiculous and unfair on all accounts. I’ll probably end up with a much longer post about it but asking questions of a corporation is not bullying and, frankly, all bloggers need to get thicker skin. They’re just words and if they sting then perhaps it’s time to look inward and decide if something needs to change.

    • http://www.RobynsOnlineWorld.com/ Robyn’s Online World

      Thank you Jessica. I really do understand your thoughts about KFC – and while that was the topic of the hashtag, it was not so much the topic of this post. And I definitely don’t want anyone – on any side – to feel attacked. As I told Leah, I appreciate learning healthy information from everyone who shares it – I’m learning myself. I also agree that when someone disagrees with us and their words sting a bit we always need to look at why they sting – I’ve learned this in therapy. I’m looking forward to reading your post about this entire KFC event as well :-) Subject: [robynsonlineworld] Re: Be Informational Not Confrontational

  • Jacqueline Cromwell

    Ok, this is a safe place right? (She looks over her shoulder;) We eat fast food sometimes. There I said it. i saw just the beginning of the twitter controversy. I admit it, growing up my family would do fast food (and specifically KFC) multiple times a week for dinner and life wasn’t healthy the rest of the time. But attacking is something we have to be careful of. It makes me not want to converse with some people bcz I am afraid of them turning on me. And I might really learn something in those conversations but I run.

    I am also working on my weight too but still do fast food some. To the point that I had KFC Friday after hearing all the talk;). I had been craving it for weeks and haven’t had it in like 5 years. I even had biscuits. The world didn’t explode. My kids didn’t die. 1 of them had never even had KFC in her life. And they still ate their snap peas with lunch today;). No revolts occurred on their behalf;). But I was to big of a woose to admit to it on Twitter or Facebook;).

  • Nicole

    I actually don’t think this was bullying at all. Think of it this way…
    What if your best friend came over to your house with a bunch of these meals for you and your children and said look at how cute the packaging is and how much healthier they are, which is essentially what all those tweets said. You would look at your friend as though she had been brainwashed, you would be concerned, no? I sure would be. Let’s say you pressed this friend further to find out where this was coming from and she said, “well, KFC paid me $50 and gave me all this free food to come over here and tell you this”. Would you not be angry? Would you not feel deceived? Wouldn’t that have an impact on your relationship?
    I think that is what happened in this case. The mom’s who were sending out these tweets were being called out. They sold out their children’s health and their credibility for $50 and some free chicken.

  • http://twitter.com/rkosully Robin

    I had not heard about this controversy, but i agree that when information is presented in a positive, constructive way it is much more effective. Thanks for weighing in and keeping a level head!

  • terrik

    I think the personal attacks are a turn off, but I’ve seen this sort of campaign & then backlash many times. While I don’t want to sound disrespectful, I find that neither the campaign nor the backlash influences me. In this particular case, I’m on the sidelines as an eye-rolling almost-vegetarian.

    As a consumer, I’m interested in specifics and appreciate the bloggers who try to share specific information that makes me think. To me, that’s much more valuable than cheerleaders and bashers.

  • tannawings

    As a non blogger, the whole thing makes me sad. I see all the time folks going on trips, conferences etc paid for by brands . This time the brand happened to have been KFC. The folks who went are all smart ladies. So, they went on a trip. So it was branded, so it was fast food. Big whoop.

    I have seen folks going to conferences and twitpicing drinking , over indulging at buffets , all kinds of ‘healthy’ things.

    I dont get what the big deal is, truly I dont. Granted fast food isnt the best for you, and granted some people do need lessons on what is good to eat. Leah makes wonderful contributions and has done so much good, I understand her frustration too.

    What the whole thing did for me as a follower of most tweeting back and forth is jsut be a little sad there wasnt more of a middle ground.

  • Pingback: [BLOCKED BY STBV] Don't Bite the Brand That Feeds You()

  • http://twitter.com/bargainbriana bargainbriana

    Very well said. I also think while the bloggers tweeting against say they aren’t “bullying.” They in fact are no matter how many times they say it.

  • Pingback: [BLOCKED BY STBV] Don’t Bite the Brand That Feeds You //()

  • http://twitter.com/phdinparenting PhD in Parenting

    Robyn, I appreciate this, but I know from experience that it doesn’t matter how respectfully you share information, people are STILL going to get upset about it. At a P&G moms event a few months ago, I shared information about the toxins in their products. I didn’t call people names, I didn’t say anyone was stupid or a bad mom, I just shared information about the toxins so that the bloggers would have information to ask questions if they wanted to. I’ve done similar things with other brands too. It always results in me being called names for sharing the information (which I don’t take personally). No matter how respectfully someone shares information, someone out there will be offended by it and will think they should have taken it down a notch, until we’re all faced with no option other than silence. And that doesn’t sit well with my conscience.

  • Sarah Hirsch

    I agree…an unhealthy meal on occasion isn’t the worst thing…it just can’t become a regular thing.

  • http://twitter.com/jnbwrs Nancy Bowers

    Agreed! I admire your positive attitude. And I think people in general should be less confrontational and more informative.
    njb414 at gmail dot com

  • Lori

    My husband is a college nutrition professor so we eat at KFC if he is out of town. :) It almost seems like eating healthy has recently become a religion for some people. I know some raw foods friends who’s kids judge everyone for what they eat, which reveals some of what they are being taught. I think it’s touchy, when someone feels their religion is being attacked. I think some people need to keep their food thoughts AKA religion to themselves. People will not learn healthy tips if they are being judged and hated on. Now one on one, that is the time to share, someone may actually learn something good.

  • Julie Height

    Bravo, just plain Bravo!

  • Lisa Lightner

    Great post! While I wasn’t the online bullied, I did experience many negative sentiments when I “came out” as a McDonald’s ambassador. As the point of your post says, you can be passionate and professional at the same time. Overall the whole thing unfortunately got a life of it’s own and I think several bloggers looked bad in the process. http://adayinourshoes.com/when-did-mcdonalds-become-a-symbol-of-bad-parenting/

  • Ravzie

    You are right, the internet makes it easy to take swipes at others. Why be nice or worry about other people’s feelings when you can spit out hate? Even when people may be well meaning and trying to help, it’s hard to read that intent in typed words.

  • http://twitter.com/OnlyLaila Laila

    Yes, yes and yes. I’m glad that I missed all of this drama. And it’s sad to see moms attacking each other for these choices. But there is a lot to be learned about how to use social media for good instead of just being loud. In my head I’m thinking “you’re fingers are typing but you aren’t saying anything”.

  • slehan

    At the risk of sounding like a radio talk show: ditto! Everything in moderation, including comments.

Previous post:

Next post: