Nine-year-old Martha Payne, a pupil at Lochgilphead Primary School in the west of Scotland had started a blog – Neverseconds taking photos of her school meals and rating them. This became a worldwide hit. It has already more than 5.3 million page views.
Martha, an aspiring journalist, began the blog in late April as a writing project with her father. With permission from her teachers, she posted photos of her school lunches alongside commentary on each meal’s tastiness, nutritional value, the number of mouthfuls it took to eat it and whether any hairs had been found. Soon, readers from as far away as the United States and Taiwan began sending in photos of lunches that often appeared more edible than Martha’s.
But last week, a local government council in her home town in western Scotland banned photography in her school’s cafeteria, effectively putting an end to her wildly popular project. That was their first mistake: censoring a nine-year-old who probably has more popularity on the web than many newspapers these days. So that prompted the first part of the Twitter backlash, using the hashtag #neverseconds, the name of Martha’s blog. Amid the torrent of bad publicity, the council swiftly revoked the ban.
Throughout all this, Martha also had a charity page set up to raise funds for Mary’s Meals which provides meals in African communities and helps build kitchens. Martha has used her site to raise money for Mary’s Meals, a charity that helps feed children in poor countries. Before the ban, she had raised about $3,000 for the charity. She has now already raised more than $110,000.
The web, social media has made it possible due to its immediate and wide reach. People can voice their opinions. It’s definitely a nice way to gather the public opinion. True, that this is available only to those who have the access to the technology. With the increasing spread of internet and mobile network the technology has now reached to quite a large section of the society.