How Memes and Millennial Culture Can Keep Food Safe

By Prof. Dr. Darin Detwiler.

I recently heard a joke that a Zoom call is much like holding a séance – the older the participant, the more likely they will say “We can’t see you,” or “We can’t hear you.” I shared that observation with some young students who use Zoom all the time, but they had no idea what a séance was.

Two elements define a strong message – the sender and the receiver. If the sender does not understand how the receiver will access, engage with, or interpret a message, then the efficiency of the message may be lost.

Regardless of the platform, engagement must come in three forms – introducing, developing, and practicing – in order to be effective.

Over the past three decades, a variety of challenges and advances have impacted how we engage with millennials – those audience members reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century.

The internet has allowed millennials to grow up with access unlike that of earlier age groups, especially when it comes to access to information about food products, food companies, food recalls and outbreaks. Millennials have grown up with books, magazines, support groups, blogs, videos, and professional resources. The largest audience may engage more passively as public viewers or actively connect with those who send messages that they want (or need) to hear. Social media, however, has become a platform where millennials are notoriously active.

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