Today’s the day the Dáil rises for the Summer. Yes kids, it’s silly seasons for realz. Seems like the best time to put election.ie to sleep for while. In fairness, that blog has been asleep for a while. Why I am posting here so? Well, I started this post over yonder, and then it seemed to change mid-stream. Before I had begun this post, I wrote another – a vanilla Gone Fishin’ post and well, that seemed a bit disingenuous, so I hit delete and kept writing…
The thing I really love about covering politics live is that kinetic spark. Watching things live-streaming their way into history. Small exchanges at weird hours about fisheries policy. The plight of a swimming pool on the North-side of Dublin. Up close and personal at the counts, those wee political heads you shout at on the telly or on the radio, all being their gregarious selves hanging back in groups gossiping over egg sammiches or the awkward handshakes’n’nods they gave their rivals. The pol corrs looking sharp and somehow lackadaisical but watching everything so very carefully. The bits between. Those things, I love.
And being online watching, commenting and adding to the debate. I loved that too. But it seems somewhere between the demise of the last Government and where we are now, the discourse online has changed somewhat. The promise of change in Ireland dimmed. The promise of New Media hasn’t really changed anything. Sure,the speed of things has accelerated, but as an society, we’re caught in some kind of feedback loop.
Granted we’re in an Attention Economy now, Scrappy, the kinds of online conversations we’re having now and the speed with which they are happening, haven’t really had much effect. Click Zombies Have Inherited the Earth, it seems. Or some would like them to. Exhibit a: the layers of Twitter conversations we’re having now are hazy forgotten-stance once we hit the bold number of 3200, they are then packed into little compartments for consumption by buyers of Twitter’s fire-hose. Freeze-packed ambient conversations. Sure people have been hired, fired, fallen in love on there. It’s human nature, you scream. I know. I know.
Back to the real world. Things are still happening out there. Out here. You know in the interesting bits between formal news delivery. It’s happening you and me everyday.
This past April I travelled to New York. Yes, it was wonderful. A city with a very young history, so rich and diverse. I fell for the city just a little. On the way home, I came to the simple realisation that just iterations separate Dublin from New York. Yes, I know it’s nigh on impossible to compare the two given the culture, population mass or the economics at play in the cities, but iterations separate us.
We haven’t looped enough as a nation or an online community. Our political classes have stalled beyond belief. Some could dub it fear before a twenty-four hour news cycle, some could dub it consensus politics. But we’re too young. The Celtic Tiger was our first pocket money spree, and didn’t it all turn to shit? Online we’re no different. I fear for the Irish Times online. A publication which I love and hate usually in equal buckets (it’s good to disagree with a paper of record, nay, healthy). I fear it following the usual suspects by BuzzHuffMailing its way online. BuzzHuffMailing is no way to read or live online.
No doubt election.ie will be back in one guise or another in a bit. But I need to loop. We all need to loop a little.