Friday, June 22, 2012



Have had quite a few conversations with folk lately who have noticed that switching off the media is good for you. In America they've given this the name 'media fast'.

For most of my life here in Northern Ireland our airwaves and newspapers brought nothing but reports of murder and terrorism, to immeasurable effect. Thankfully that is (largely) over. Now however the coverage is dominated by (to steal a phrase someone used recently) the political, the public sector and the pointless. No matter what the subject matter (eg something truly life-altering like the shocking price of Jaffa Cakes) we are force-fed a stale format where we are given a Unionist view and a Nationalist view of everything*. This is usually followed by the latest public sector report exposé of yet another financial or competence flop (yet which mysteriously no-one seems to be held responsible for). And, then to lighten the mood occasionally, a bit of entertainment stuff like golf, rugby or Snow Patrol etc... before starting all over again with something political again, and so on.

One of the advantages of "social media" is that you can choose to avoid all of the above and just communicate with your friends or read what they're up to, and connect with like-minded folk. Some of it might be trivial, but at least in a sense it's relationship-building and contact-maintaining. I like catching up with people who I've maybe not seen in person for a while, for them to say "I read such-and-such on your blog..." which then kickstarts a conversation.

There's been much discussion lately about the death of newspapers and the upsurge of 'new media'. I think that this misses the point. If anything is dying it's people's appetite for being spoonfed the same old stuff by corporate media, and the upsurge is in being able to stay in touch with real people. 9 out of 10 cats still prefer authentic instead of contrived if they are given the choice.

> Try the 'National Day of Unplugging' here
> Try the 'Undo List' here

(There was a bit of a tangle here on a similar theme a few weeks ago).

*presumably the Unionist spokesperson would approve of Jaffa Cakes because of the orangey bit.