For those of you who didn't read my tweets from earlier this year, on new year's day I vowed to not watch television for an entire year. It turns out to have been far simpler than I thought it would be :).
Of course, notice my phrasing, I didn't say "television shows" I said "television". The idea of waiting around for someone else's schedule to watch programming has seemed weird and foreign to me for many years, here I'm just taking it a step further. My iPhone and laptops are my televisions now. No TV tuner though, all of it is from internet sources.
I’m a bit less angry now
The first thing I noticed was I'm less angry in the evenings. I have an insatiable appetite for news, it's why I unsubscribed to a bunch of wire services on Google Reader and later retired it for Twitter. I hate being kept out of the loop. If someone took away my internet access today, news would absolutely be the number 1 thing I would miss.
As I'm sure is the case in many places, the news on commercial television in Australia is terrible. Even if there was a major humanitarian disaster somewhere or a new scientific discovery, almost without question the first 10 minutes are about mundane local affairs, followed by a token amount for business, then the rest is entirely dedicated to painfully detailed sport analysis. I admit I find the whole idea of most sports to be terribly dull, pointless and uninteresting, but in Adelaide they have to analyse AFL, a primitive contact sport nobody else in the world even plays.
Then don't get me started on the tabloid news programmes. A Current Affair and Today Tonight represent the absolute dregs of media reporting in Australia, but often they would have at least one story I'd be marginally interested in so I'd find myself watching them. ACA and TT are like poisons, there's no safe dosage.
I cut these shows entirely out of my diet, and I'm a happier person.
Not limited to time and place
Less than five years ago if you didn't watch television you were pretty limited online, but thesedays with podcasting and legal media downloads (cough) I'm spoilt for choice. Not only that, but I can choose where and when I watch media, for example I've made it a habit of watching Media Watch on Tuesday mornings on the train. It's a ton of fun :).
At some point I'll write up all the video shows I download. It's as if I have my own personal television network!