I follow nearly 300 people and organisations on Twitter. My feed is full of users with a pronounced environmentalist and political slant, but not exclusively so. And the majority of these accounts aren't 'corporate users' - i.e. they come with the rider that all comments and views are the tweeters' own.
So why so little mention of the X Factor? Two theories on this one
Primus, you all have fantastically good taste in music and TV and don't tend to the Notes on Camp approach to popular culture espoused by the Guardian Liveblog on the X-Factor and Strictly.
Maybe you were watching that nice BBC programme on Rome - as several members of my newsfeed were - maybe you weren't watching TV at all.
You have resisted the lure of Cowellian mass culture. Congratulations.
photo courtesy Alison Martin of SimonCowellOnline.com.
Secundus, you tend to focus your communications on work-related issues and are (justifiably) wary of showing Tweeterdom a human face. In other words, you don't like to admit to the world what you watch on a Saturday or Sunday night.
I want to come back to the second point in a future post, but the first, this resignation from mass culture, is the thing that concerns me as an activist and organiser.
Even in a bad season, the X-Factor final pulled in 9.5 million viewers (as against Strictly's 12.5 million), not counting watch-agains.
That's in a population (as of 2011 census) of just over 63 million. So around a third of the population were watching either programme live.
Don't worry, I'm not going to make you feel bad for not watching it. You may regard The X-Factor as exploitative, as the bin ends of our culture and our corporate music industry. You may have conceived a passionate dislike for Gary Barlow. You may ask 'Who is Olly Murs?' And you'd be justified on all counts.
But my question to anyone serious about change is simply this: how can we bring people together and make things better if we can't at least empathise with the mass culture that they endorse and participate in?
Another example: I live in a town where a large 24-hour Tesco has just opened next to a small but thriving high street. Many of us know the environmental, social and economic arguments against the big supermarkets well enough I won't rehearse them here. But on Twitter (I search by the hashtag for my town), the consensus seemed to be that this was the most exciting thing that had happened here since the mines closed.
Again, we might tear our hair out at this, but isn't this dumbfoundedness telling? It doesn't mean we're wrong, just that we're not on the same page as many other people yet. And they have may have things to tell us about their lives we can learn from before engaging mouth, brain or well-crafted petition.
I have no solutions to offer in this post, but I'd be really interested in hearing your reflections.