Choose your news carefully to become an informed consumer

The recently publicized controversy concerning Dan Cathy—Chick-fil-A’s president—and his opposition to same-sex marriages was kindled and fueled mainly by posts, comments and virtual shouting matches on social media site Facebook.

While Facebook can be a good informational medium, social media-driven movements like the boycott/appreciation of Chick-fil-A do raise a legitimate concern about the future of the informed consumer.

They raise questions like: How many people would know about Cathy’s stance if there hadn’t been a series of memes and events streaming to their laptops or iPhones?

Being an informed consumer does not mean reading a friend’s status update and then taking a side in an argument based on the number of likes each following comment has.

You should not make the assumption that all that you consume has been produced in an ethical fashion or that the morality of the people producing it aligns with your own. And Facebook should not be the only method you have of learning of this discrepancy.

Being an informed consumer does mean taking a proactive stance on your consumption of goods and services, and actively researching the companies you support. Companies like Walmart, Nike, Abercrombie and Fitch, Hanes, Ikea, and Kohl’s are all notorious for their business practices, but have lost media attention over time.

We may be upset about Chick-fil-A now, but were we a year, or even six months ago? They had the same opinions and donated to the same organizations then that they do now.

We cannot let important movements like this become social media fads like ‘memes’ or ‘lolcats’ that we can move on from once the next one comes around.

Already the posts and comments have slowed down to almost nothing and the fires that started this summer both on the side of appreciation and indignation have nearly fizzled out completely.

The next time you want to go out for dinner or hit the mall for some shopping, take a few minutes to research the companies you will be endorsing.

The Internet is a wonderful tool, and a quick Google search can give you an overview of the controversies attached to just about any business. Do not let being an informed consumer become something passive. Know that every purchase you make affects the lives of many more people than yourself.