A couple of days ago I liked an article in The Guardian and shared it on my FB page, which basically argues that the internet far from broadening our horizons, that instead we actually choose to limit them. This is great news for the advertisers who want us to fit very specific remits. It made me think about what I look at and yes, I have to admit how most of my use is within at best 10-15 sites each day, probably less, broadening mainly when I am doing research for my writing.
My regime is look at FB and e-mails, I don’t bother with Twitter only use it for notifications, I usually have a look at the Port Vale site and Onevalefan to see what is happening at my favourite football team. I have a few blogs I read most days and wander round in Pinterest a bit. Messy Nessy’s blog is a favourite as it always brings up some interesting photos. Most days I read a few articles in The Guardian. All of which just back up what I already think. During a week I’d look at various music sites and often a couple of poetry sites. I probably get more from listening to the radio.
There is so much available that we cannot take in what is available. I don’t know if it is true but Leonardo DaVinci was supposed to have read every book available at the time of his life, a good myth, now he would be unable to read everything written in just one day. Do we write too much rather than read and understand? Look at me now writing to what could be a total void!
When I was working for the FWWCP a report on them had been written by The Arts Council a year or so before I was employed by them. One of the things which really annoyed some of the members was a point made that people should stop writing and read more, they may then understand what they write and write better. I mainly agree with that, though it is important for people to write, it is probably more important for people to read and think more about what they write. Poetry is written by millions and read by hundreds. Few people read poetry, especially contemporary writers. It is something most people think they can ‘do’, perhaps because it was part of school writing. I find it sad that so many write and could express their feelings and viewpoints better if they just studied others, and learned about critically editing their work.
Is mine so great? Well not really, but, especially in poetry, I work hard on how each word fits, the meaning of words and phrases, the double or hidden meanings, the irony.
How do we broaden what we look at? Opening the mind is hard, early in our lives we build walls of prejudice that limit us. A friend of mine buys The Daily Star, a paper I cannot even be bothered to scan when she leaves it at my flat, hence I know nothing about the promiscuations of Big Brother contestants or the eating habits of people in reality TV. I don’t bother looking at right wing papers or websites. I am prejudiced against anything the current Government puts forward and am pleased to see their ideas fail.
When I used to go to the Library many years ago, I’d look through The Daily Telegraph and The Times as well as The Guardian, I didn’t agree with a lot I read but it was useful to read stories from another point of view. For a while I used a cuttings site but it just became a mess! I look at Peurop which is useful as it offers stories from newspapers around Europe, often giving very different viewpoints, but it often just backs-up my pro-European viewpoint.
Does it matter? Well yes, my viewpoint may not be important in the greater scheme of things, but this narrowing goes across the board and we need people to have a much more open view, this goes especially for politicians. In the UK they are going for strong so called populist stances as the next election looms onto the horizon, but which are representative only of tiny pressure groups, much as the politicians in the USA are.
Today’s photograph is of some brickwork I found on a warm cloudy day.