News alerts and notifications can often let us know about what’s happening around the world as it unfolds, but is this too much information?
Are we constantly bombarded with details we don’t need to know about? Or are we more informed and educated than ever before?
Ultimately, is staying on top of the news important? One married couple talk about their very different opinion on news consumption.
‘I don’t feel the need to be always in the know’
First things first. I don’t ignore the news, I just choose how and when I engage with it.
I have one news app on my phone, the one you’re reading this on but I have opted out of receiving push notifications or anything like that. I’ll read the news maybe every third or fourth day and watch it on RTÉ once a week, but I’m not obsessed by it the way some people are.
Take Donald Trump for example. My husband is obsessed with what he’s up to and how it’s an outrage that he was voted into office and how he should be impeached for this, that and the other.
But, the way I look at it, what’s the point in reading about his latest indiscretion when nothing’s going to change? He’s still going to be the US President no matter what he does and me reading about it is not going to change anything. I had a very low opinion of him before he was elected so him proving he is unfit for the job isn’t going to change that. And if he is going to cause World War III or something, I’m sure I’d find out about it without a news alert.
Of course, I know I do miss out on some things. I only found out Dolores O’Riordan had died, for example, three or four days after the fact. It didn’t change how I felt about the news though. I was still sad for her and her family but, again, I’m not sure I was any more or less upset than someone who found out straight away.
I’m not on social media so, unlike my husband, I suppose I don’t feel the need to be always on, always in the know. But why shouldn’t I just engage with it when I want, when my head is in the right space to deal with whatever it throws up? News doesn’t haven’t to be new to make an impact.
‘It’s good to be informed and not live in a bubble’
I’d say the biggest arguments my wife and I have is when she gives out to me for being on my phone, checking the news, but I’ve always been nosey.
I used to sneak around my house listening to my parents’ conversations just in case I missed out on anything and I even volunteered in primary school to help out in the staff room just so I could get any juicy gossip.
I think that has stayed with me as an adult and it’s probably the reason I’m obsessed with the news and I don’t just need to know what’s going on, I need to know straight away. That’s why I’ve news alerts set up for every media organisation in Ireland and a good few in the UK and US too.
I also religiously check Twitter as soon as I wake up and before I go to bed, just in case I miss something so, I suppose, I probably am a little obsessed with the news but I think it’s good to be informed and not live in a bubble just because a lot of the time – even most of the time – the news is a little depressing.
Take Donald Trump for example, seeing as my wife mentioned him. The reason I’ll read everything about him is not that I expect my opinion to change – I still can’t believe he was elected – but because this feels like a seminal time in history and it’s fascinating to watch it play out in real-time.
My question would be, how can someone not be interested in that?