NOW that we chronicle our lives through social media it’s no surprise that reality TV is probably the best watched by the nation.
We have become obsessed with the way we live and how other people live and can’t manage without seeing evidence of what they had to eat or drink last night, their holidays and family milestones and quirky pictures of activities or outfits.
Thinking about it, this is pretty odd behaviour for a nation which always prided itself on its privacy and where a display of emotion usually amounted to “I’m not very well, Cynthia” while sporting a crippling gunshot wound.
As a result of this cultural shift, though, we avidly watch every type of reality show covering something as mild as gardening projects to full-blown operations with all the gory bits.
In between all that are blockbusters like The X Factor, Love Island, The Great British Baking Show and Bake-Off, The Only Way is Essex, Geordie Shore, Motorway Cops, Heir Hunters, An Idiot Abroad and, of course, Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
Personal favourites are Strictly Come Dancing and the Next Top Model search in absolutely any country but occasionally I’m glued to Four in a Bed – the one about bed and breakfast landlords trying out each other’s premises – and Ice Road Truckers which is just compelling stuff.
Buying into other people’s lives – their emotions, triumphs and failures – is a harmless bit of escapism that gives us something to talk about around the coffee machine at the office or with friends. But what it may mean long-term is that we are trivialising our own lives, only seeing them as social soundbites for others to enjoy.
That sort of addiction would be sad. In the meantime, though, you just can’t help gaping at other people’s lives, can you?