After the past week, during which millions of words which will change nothing were written about a former prime minister, this article brought me up short. So much so that I blogged it twice.
News is irrelevant. Out of the approximately 10,000 news stories you have read in the last 12 months, name one that – because you consumed it – allowed you to make a better decision about a serious matter affecting your life, your career or your business. The point is: the consumption of news is irrelevant to you. But people find it very difficult to recognise what’s relevant. It’s much easier to recognise what’s new. The relevant versus the new is the fundamental battle of the current age. Media organisations want you to believe that news offers you some sort of a competitive advantage. Many fall for that. We get anxious when we’re cut off from the flow of news. In reality, news consumption is a competitive disadvantage. The less news you consume, the bigger the advantage you have.
I decided, with immediate effect, to try living without news for a month. After that, I’ll see how it goes. This morning, for the first time in a long time, I didn’t switch on Radio 4 as soon as I woke up. Well, I did in another way: deciding to listen to an interesting programme about Expressive Writing I heard yesterday for a second time.
Going without news means I’ll have to also avoid most of the Twitter. I won’t commit Twittercide (yet), but I won’t keep up with it, and I won’t follow links to news stories or even news commentary. Please don’t be offended.
Call it a mid-life crisis.