Thursday, September 15, 2011

Facebook's Favs: Chocolate and Quotes

Without fail, when I open Facebook and see the sea of status updates in the News Feed, there are two guaranteed themes that compel others to comment. The first one is one I rarely adhere to. The second, I've learned holds merit.

Full disclosure: I am a firm believer in original thought. When someone posts quote after quote, it has two effects: 1) it leaves the impression that they don't have one original thought of their own, and 2) the quotes only become a meaningless blur of ABC soup..People's e-obsession with posting quotes sends creepy-crawling-cat claws up my spine. I did manage to find one other author,Van Heerling, who shares this peeve, so though I'm out numbered, I have a friend in kind.On the rare occasion that I do post a quote, such as "You is kind. You is smart. You is important." - the Help, I always have a caveat to the post. In this case, I noted that I couldn't get the words out of my head, so I was given them away to my friends. They were well received...of course, because people love quotes!

#2 Holy chocolate, Batman! 
People love chocolate! Though my other author friend, the unintentional antagonist in this post, Mike Sullivan, has many wonderful Facebook status updates, nine out of ten times that I happen to catch them in the News Feed, they are about chocolate! Mike posts about where he hid the last piece; how he's running out at 10 p.m. after everyone is asleep to buy more; or did you know the freezer is not the safest place to hide chocolate?  Full disclosure: Mike lives in a house with his wife and three daughters.

I began to worry about Mike. This man has an addiction to chocolate worse than flies to ketchup on a diner counter top. I also began to notice something else. People were responding! All the time! Here I was writing compelling, thought provoking posts about the demise of Borders really being the fault of iTunes and NetFlix since Borders sold music, videos and books; and yet no responses. Hmmmm. I can't be that far off in my evaluation, can I? But, it didn't matter if I was or not. After 5 p.m. people don't want to think so hard anymore. And since I'm in California, any post I write after 2 p.m. is already dinner time on the east coast. At that time of night, people want other people to do the thinking for them, so they read and post others' brilliant thoughts. And, they want dessert...ideally in the form of chocolate. Add some humor, and you've got a winner!

So, because Mike and I have been friends for a long time now, I messaged him and called him out on his chocolate obsession. I let him know about my thought provoking post at the same hour he posted something about cold milk, chocolate cake and a game...which, by the way, he didn't even mention the sport he was watching! It didn't matter though. What caught everyone's attention was the chocolate cake. So, I interrupted Mike's perfect evening of milk, chocolate cake and what I think was a baseball game...even his puppy was sound asleep at his feet...and asked him flat out - what is the deal with chocolate? Graciously, Mike took a moment between innings or periods or half time to answer my question. And, indeed, his answer was brilliant - and I believe original enough in nature - and it made me smile because he was right. What did he say, you ask? Simply this, "Food with sugar provokes emotional responses!" True that, Mike!

I also let Mike know that right before I messaged him, I tested his food for thought theory by posting a status that pondered if I could make brownies in my new Crock Pot. Within minutes (and not too long after my Borders post), I had a slew of responses...and some wonderful soup recipes.

The "Take Away"
People seek Facebook as a way to bond with friends, commune over shared emotions, and for it in the e-sharing of food or the read of a reassuring quote at the end of a hard day. What other platform in the world gives you these to peace offerings with just a click? It is quite compelling that we can have our cake and eat it too. There, I quoted a cliche. Happy now? (Just don't tell Van!)

With love and respect,

Heather Hummel,The Gypsy Writer, is the author of the Journals from the Heart Series featuring Whispers from the Heart and Write from the Heart.

Her nonfiction titles include:

GO BIKE & Other Signs from the Universe  (PathBinder, 2011)
Gracefully Looking and Being Your Best at Any Age (McGraw-Hill, 2008)

Heather's books have appeared in newspapers such as: Publishers Weekly, USA Today and the Washington Post; and in magazines that include: Body & Soul, First, and Spry Living, a combined circulation of nearly 15 million. Visit Heather's website at


Anonymous said...

Heather thanks for the mention. Hmm is it weird that I now want to shovel chocolate cake down my throat while reading “Treasury of Spiritual Wisdom: A Collection of 10,000 Inspirational Quotations” by Andy Zupko

Heather Hummel said...

Make that your Facebook status and you're golden.

Mike Sullivan said... you got me thinking and dreaming and longing for some soft chocolate ice cream :) Great blog Heather!

Anonymous said...