I’ll tell you one thing that bores me rigid. It’s the Royal Family. I have a reasonably high level of respect for the Queen, who somehow seems to have managed to keep a level of sense in an insane position. But basically the whole notion of a monarch in the modern age is bonkers. You can’t buy into it without sharing the bonkersness. I avoid as far as a I can all of the stories in the media that attempt to turn an anachronism into a soap opera. I pity the people born into it who can’t escape it no matter what. Basically I want nothing to do with it.
So when a ‘huge’ royal story comes along in the form of a ‘controversial’ interview with Oprah Winfrey, the last thing I want to do is engage with it. Unfortunately that isn’t an option open to you with the way the mainstream media works, nor with social media. My social media of choice is Twitter. And to avoid the bruhagh I’ve meticulously stayed off it, while also only skimming the headlines of newspapers and stearing clear of news broadcasts.
This is quite a bit change in my life as a news junkie, Twitter casualty and political obsessive. And I have discovered that it has had a bigger impact than I imagined. I have gone through periods of news blackouts before. I find that it is the best way to get big projects out of the way. But this is the first time I have done one out of the blue without a particular end in mind.
So what has been the effect? For a start I have been getting to bed earlier and waking up earlier – and sleeping better when I am in bed. And I have also started reading more. A lot more. In the five days since the interview was broadcast I have read 185 pages of Les Miserables. I started reading it 5 years ago and was only on page 5. It is a great read and I am thoroughly enjoying it. This has become basically my substitute for Twitter time – I open it when I get up and read it last thing at night and fit it into spare minutes during the day. I’ve also been keeping notes on my reactions to it which will quite likely end up as blog posts. I’ve also started working on other blog posts too.
I miss all my friends in my phone. Twitter has a real buzz sometimes, and it is always full of informative, funny and sometimes quite moving stuff. It really is the best bits of socialising distilled into a convenient stream of conversation you can keep in your pocket. I’m not saying that it is not a marvelous thing. But right now, when I imagine it is safe to go back on it now the royal interview stuff has died down, I am seriously wondering if what I give up for Twitter isn’t more valuable than what I gain.