I made a ‘heroically pointless’ New Year’s resolution this year (apparently) when I announced to the world that I would not be buying / reading newspapers in 2010.
The ‘experiment’ is / was designed to see how I’d cope as a PR consultant, but also as an everyday Joe, without access to arguably the most powerful medium in the world.
Here’s are my observations from week one…
January News Blues? It Doesn’t ‘Ad’ Up.
I’ll start with the most surprising (and shocking) thing I noticed: I miss print ads. Seriously.
I didn’t realise until this week how much / how important print advertising is in delivering valuable information.
Movie release dates, flight deals, new product launches…I wasn’t ‘forced’ to consume these messages so I didn’t…and as a result, I didn’t obtain them from anywhere else.
Impact? Strangely, negative…even though I wasn’t subjected to messages that I mostly try to avoid.
Picture This? I Couldn’t.
It snowed (and snowed, and snowed) in London this week and as the lovely folk on BBC London 94.9 kept repeatedly telling me there were some amazing photos of the snow on the front pages of my papers.
Sure, I could have hopped online and taken a look, but a front page splash on low quality paper is a far superior experience. Editorial images on screen just don’t feel as ‘real’.
Impact? Negative (and one that’ll take a lot of getting used to).
I Choo, Choo, Choose You!
I always knew the Tube (train) journey to and from work was going to be the biggest challenge of the week…but also the most insightful.
Why? No mobile / wireless signal…everyone crammed around me reading a paper (would I take a ‘sneaky’ peek?)…all of a sudden this ‘idle’ time needed to be filled.
OK, I admit, I took in a couple of unintentional glances – impossible not to – but to my relief, and my pre-experiment belief, I didn’t discover any ‘new’ news.
For example, I saw a footballer on page one of The Metro on Monday and just assumed it was the guy who scored in the Leeds v Man U game (which I watched the day before).
The big discovery from this was that I realised I don’t actively seek ‘celebrity news / gossip’ – I only read those pages because they were put in front of me – I didn’t hop online when I got in the office for my fix…instead I caught up with what ‘real’ people were doing / saying on Twitter.
I was actually surprised at how much I noticed in week one, with other bits including:
– The only time I consume non-mainstream sports news is when I stumble across the little bit of ink they might get amongst the depths of a newspaper sports section…I definitely don’t seek this information.
– I was happy. Now I’m not saying that general negative news brings me down, but I did notice that when I did seek news via digital channels, I didn’t actively chase the latest terrorist update…I only consumed things of specific / niche interest to me.
– My BlackBerry RSS feeds are a God send when above ground, especially in transit. I probably did more quality reading this week utilizing those feeds than I would normally via a mostly newspaper driven existence.
– TweetDeck is an excellent news source – especially if you follow Sky’s breaking news service – also, setting up a search column in areas you’re interested more than fills the newspaper ‘news’ void.
– Opinions. Now this was the one I was most wary of. The talented folk on the nationals who apply their own unique stamp on an issue. Now, I could still get this online, however, I found myself drawn to the opinions of ‘real’ people via Twitter, Forums, Blog posts etc and found their take / views much more appealing.
There was actually a bunch of other ‘discoveries’ but I’ll save those for the next update.
Am I surviving? Yes.
Am I thriving? Not sure just yet.