The other day, whilst trawling the internet in one of my all too frequent bouts of boredom, I stumbled across a link which took me to a message board. Nothing unusual in that you might think but this particular one was overflowing with vitriol aimed at a journalist. Mind you there’s nothing unusual in that either.
However, what captured my interest in this instance was the reason for that vitriol. It was the fact that the journalist had written a piece about the Hillsborough disaster.
Now as any football fan will know, Hillsborough is an emotive issue, especially to the people of Liverpool. And as someone who has written extensively about it in the past and being one of the few people who question some of the sentiments which have come to cloud opinion surrounding what happened, I know better than anyone that if you write about Hillsborough, unless you want to get slaughtered you had best get your facts right and/or be prepared to back up every letter you commit to paper.
Sadly, this journalist fell foul of both of these golden rules because to say his article was ill-informed and poorly researched would be to give new meaning to the word ‘understatement’. To make matters worse, the inevitable negative response to his article was discussed on one of those dreadful news debate shows the US media love to produce and if anything, that was even worse! Because whilst their defence of their colleague was stout, their references to the disaster were equally flawed! Not surprisingly, the subsequent response was, to say the least, equally colourful.
The problem was however, that the bulk of those responses were based on a particular perception of what happened on that fateful day. One which placed every single ounce of blame on the police. And as anyone who has ever read any of my work will know, in spite of my sentiments toward the thin blue line, I don’t subscribe to this view at all.
Normally, given that Hillsborough is one of the subjects I tend to shy away from these days (extreme right-wing politics, immigration and women drivers being amongst the others) I would have avoided becoming involved in this debate. However, on this occasion a heady mix of irritation, boredom and a desire for amusement sucked me in.
Even more unusually, rather than make tongue-in-cheek comments designed simply to get people fired up, (as I said, I needed a bit of amusement) the fact that it was about such a serious and controversial issue actually resulted in me behaving myself. The consequence being that aside from resulting in a quite reasonable debate with a guy who eventually almost conceded that I had a point (which obviously I do) I suddenly realised that I had wasted an entire day.
And that, in a nutshell, is the point of this blog.
No, it’s got nothing to do with Hillsborough. It’s to do with time management. Because that day is a day I’ll never get back and it really should have been spent doing something more productive.
Yet all too often in recent years, I have fallen into the trap of getting involved in pointless debates with even more pointless people and if I should have learnt one thing by now, it’s that to anyone who is self-employed, Facebook and Twitter are the tools the devil has devised to exploit our inherent weaknesses and steal our valuable time.
So please excuse me if I frequent them less from now on. Indeed, if I am to make a new years resolution it will be to stay away from social media sites. Although saying that, I do have this idea for a fabulous book about Facebook.
No honestly, it’s genius. It just needs a bit more research……