9 year old food blogger Martha Payne won the Internet’s heart after exposing the quality of her meals at the school’s cafeteria. She began taking photos and wrote full-on reviews of every meal on her blog NeverSeconds which became a worldwide Internet sensation generating approximately 2 million visitors.
The popularity of her blog put immense pressure on the local council to improve the quality of meals at schools in the region. This they did and it seemed like Martha Payne’s blog made an impact. However, the young blogger was also barred from using her camera phone during school hours in order to prevent her to continue writing her popular blog.
This morning in maths I got taken out of class by my head teacher and taken to her office. I was told that I could not take any more photos of my school dinners because of a headline in a newspaper today. – Martha Payne
The newspaper article in question was published in the Daily Record with the headline Time to fire the dinner ladies which caused the school’s staff to worry that they were about to get fired. This lead the local council to ban the usage of her camera phone at school.
After having to close her blog, Martha’s dad added: Martha’s school have been brilliant and supportive from the beginning and I’d like to thank them all. I contacted the Council when Martha told me what happened at school today and they told me it was their decision to ban Martha’s photography. It is a shame that a blog that today went through 2 million hits, which has inspired debates at home and abroad and raised nearly £2000 for charity is forced to end.
However, that wasn’t the end of it: The world of social nedia exploded and rallied support for the blog lead by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver who tweeted to this millions of followers while the free-speech organisation Index on Censorship also weighed in on Payne’s behalf. The following day it was confirmed that Martha was allowed to snap pictures of the cafeteria’s meals again. Local Council 0. Social Media 1.
I have just instructed senior officials to withdraw the ban on photos from the school dining hall. It is a good thing to do to change your mind and I have certainly done that. (…) There is no place for censorship in this council and never will be whilst I am leader – Council leader Roddy McCuish
Big ups to the school district for admitting they had made a mistake in banning her camera phone and allowing her to continue to snap photos of her school’s meals. To re-evaluate their decision takes courage considering all the attention that this story had gained.
I love the Internet – not just as a source of information but also a form of communication and the ability to share content. 20 years ago, the story of this nine-year-old food blogger wouldn’t even have reached the national news let alone reach the millions of people. But more significantly, she would not have been able to make such a big impact! It took one young and confident food blogger but it was the support of Internet that rallied behind her and amplified her message to bring about the change.
How can social media change your community for the better? Share your ideas & comments.