Election? What Election?
I was in the US a couple of weeks ago. On my taxi ride to the airport I asked the driver about all the political posters displayed on at least every third doorstep. “Sure, we have elections coming up” he told me (but I thought you’d just had elections I mused silently?). And he went on to explain his political independence and how he would decide nearer the time which party he was going to vote for. He was valuable to both sides he laughed.
Don’t Watch The News
In the bubble that is internet business, I’ve noticed a trend – a trend advising us to turn off the news. News is depressing, it’s full of negativity and it will drag us down. In the last couple of weeks three highly respected marketers I follow and two I work with have told me this in phone calls and blog posts.
When I first heard this advice I thought, OK I can see the logic in that, no need to expose myself to the violence and devastation in the world. It kinda made sense.
But later that day I was watching the evening news and I thought back to this advice. Did it really make sense?
I live in the UK. Our government is announcing serious budget reductions. Deeper cuts than we have faced since the period following World War I according to some commentators.
The news is full of discussion about which budgets will be slashed: will it be health administration down by 46%, will it be the de-commissioning of aircraft carriers, raising retirement age, removing free bus passes for the elderly, tripling university tuition fees, cutting child benefit, business support budgets, scrapping of non-governmental organisations, cuts to the monster budget of out-of-work welfare and disability. Probably most of the above if we’re being realistic about it!
But whatever the politics, what really struck me, watching the news that day, was whether those who argue so strongly to turn off the news had thought this through?
Do Watch The News!
If I didn’t watch the news how would I know what was going on? And if I didn’t know this then how would I hold the government accountable? And so on.
As a business owner, a mum, a user of the health-care services, I want to be able to listen to news that affects me. And maybe even influence it if I can.
Last week the EU voted on extensions to paid maternity leave. Even if this doesn’t affect you and your business directly, right now, then who do you think is going to pay for our care as we age? At least in Europe with the vestige of a social welfare system where we still rely on future generations of taxpayers!
And I have a teenage son. I want to teach him how to interpret what he reads and sees around him. Who is saying what in the news and how do they say it. What do they really mean? Second hand stories just don’t come close.
Sure, I don’t want him to watch the drivel that some channels and so called ‘news’-papers churn out. I want him to be able to differentiate. And so can we.
Even those marketers who are telling me to turn the news off completely have a choice. Are things really so bad that we need to turn off everything?
And so, recalling the conversation with my American taxi driver, as I read and listen to my mentors telling me to turn off the news coverage, I wonder: If you don’t watch the news how do you know who to vote for?
I’d love to know what you think about this. Should be shut ourselves off from negativity or should we follow what’s going on? Is there a happy medium? Is it entertainment or civic duty? Please leave a comment below!