This morning the HuffPo reported on a marginally successful cell phone restriction at Eva Restaurant in Los Angeles. The upscale spot offers a 5 percent discount for diners to put their cell phones away during meals.
We've tackled this subject here before. Last year we lobbed the idea of a "cell phone free day" to a few different restaurants, and while most agreed less would be more in terms of cell phone use, none were inclined to actually stifle the rights of diners. Besides, an uploaded photo of pasta, doused in a romantic Instagram sepia tone (edges slightly blurred) is free advertising.
Still, cell phones at the dinner table are generally annoying and borderline embarrassing when everyone starts taking pictures of their plates. We've been here before though. This is old news.
But now I have a new idea I've been toying with for a couple of months. With diet-laden new year's resolutions in mind, I think it's the perfect time to set my brilliant idea free.
What if we all documented everything we ate for an entire month on Facebook? Everything. If you're willing to post your fancy pants sushi rolls, why not Taco Bell nachos at 2 a.m.? Wait. You'd probably post that also. But, stay with me...
I call it the Facebook Diet. And shame is a key factor. Your commitment must be all or nothing. No more selective brandishing of great meals, but also the good, bad and ugly.
The catch being, are you willing to eat it if you have to tell the world about it? The strategy has proven successful in keeping food journals: a lot of people pause before popping that Reese's peanut butter cup into their mouth knowing they'll have to actually write it down. The Facebook Diet doubles-down on your fickle will power. Not only do you have to account for it, the world will know about it.
The upside could be an accumulation of "likes." Say your salad at dinner garners 75 likes. Your restraint and diligence has been duly noted and perhaps will serve as inspiration for your next meal.
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The downside could be those same "likes." If 10 friends pat your back for a 2 a.m. Taco Bell run, will their complicity diminish your guilt? (Heck ya. For a while, anyway.)
Shame is surely the game-changer here though. You ever hear of the old joke that if you eat an Oreo cookie and no one sees you, then the calories don't count? So, how many calories are in a Facebook cookie?
I say if you're going get your cell phone out at dinner snap a photo, then go ahead and post up. Post it all up, though.
Who knows if you'll actually eat better, but you'll probably lose some Facebook friends, which could be just as good: less updates to comb through during dinner.