Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Mainstream

Metro story today:

"How David Bowie infiltrated our minds with his viral ad campaign"

Did he now?

There seem to be a lot of people like myself who, for whatever reason, have simply opted out of being exposed to mainstream media. This could in some cases be described as a coping mechanism - the individual knows that being immersed in mainstream media is akin to drowning oneself in the constant push of stories, celebrities and happenings that vie for attention from resources which that person may think better directed elsewhere. So the act of avoidance becomes a kind of self-defence against distraction.

I don't have a TV. In truth, I haven't had a TV for many years. Oh, I have certainly watched TV; I think I spent most of my teenage years doing that (when I wasn't playing bass, smoking weed or failing at maths) (those items are vaguely related, by the way). Teenage Fractos can be found on the sofa, lying on one side, the remote held in an outstretched, balanced grip; watching every detail of a programme before discarding it and flicking channel - a remarkably cyclic act in pre-Cable-TV days. At some point, after years of this behaviour, I was distracted by other things and that was the end of that.

The principal reason I avoid TV now is simply the wall-to-wall advertising. That said, I don't think TV has been the same since Horizon went shit, although that was somewhere in the mid-1990s. But there is something else, too, and I think it has to do with not connecting with the attitudes and personalities that present news and media. Programmes have personalities; channels have personalities, and it is my belief that I have found them to be more compatible with my own personality in the past, but no longer.

Now, we can choose our news, we can choose our streams of information. For example, I may not have a TV but I will catch up on Twitter every chance that I get. Within that medium are things of my own choice: channels and conversations that I have either expressed an interest in, in the people behind those words, or in particular flavours of news reporting.

Often I will learn from Twitter of news items before they ever hit the TV or news websites, and indeed some will never actually appear elsewhere. That is important because there is a sense of beating the media at its own game. Media dictates its own presentation pace and content; All will be revealed... right after this commercial, provided the board and the editorial team lets it through! I don't like that and I definitely do not want that. News should not be squandered and we are not all huddled around the radio any more.

When important things happen, news travels faster through some mediums than others. Even if I have turned away from the mainstream, I still feel superluminal.