Amol Rajan: A voice that stands out in a crowd

 

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The Independent Online

So, about that snoring.

Last week I revealed in this space that I snore like a monster. Given the threat to my relationship, my sanity (because of lack of sleep), and the NHS - who would have to fork out more than £1,000 to pay for the operation - I appealed for snore cures via Twitter (#snorecure). And then came the flood.

@nickrich1 suggested a mouthpiece, which is "rather uncomfortable but gets tolerable with perserverance". @DigMy_Mood reported: "I had to have a surgical procedure to ease my airways. Less fatal than the stopping breathing my wife suggested." @mandybeaumontUK argued "surgery is the last resort and can be unsuccessful".

@bebebunting said: "Just a bit of logic here. You can't snore if you are laying on your belly - might be worth a try" - to which both @el_quesogrande and @alex_penyfai responded abruptly: both sleep on their fronts but their wives say they still snore. @hcw2 wrote, scientifically: "Seemingly the only thing that works is that gumshield malarkey thing that brings your jaw forward. Good luck"; and @winchesterlady1 asked the questions on everybody's lips: "Are you carrying too much weight and how many glasses of wine do you drink per day." (No and not enough, I replied).

I have, in other words, a number of options to try before burdening the NHS. But the Twitter response indicates something else too.

Journalism has changed. In his final column for The Independent over the weekend, Richard Ingrams wrote that journalists ought to ignore readers. I humbly disagree. In the new media age, consumer is king. Readers can dictate what they read. Being sensitive to that partly explains the success of @theipaper.

In his unmissable book, The Wisdom of Crowds, James Surowiecki argued that pooling decisions was usually effective in improving their quality. Readers of this newspaper have no shortage of knowledge and wisdom from which we hacks can benefit. Talking two ways, rather than lecturing from on high, is thereby our industry's future.

On which point, one response I received was the wisest of all. "Have the op. Thank the NHS. Save your relationship," @carryfaircloth, my prospective mother-in-law wrote. And with that, the matter was settled. Even in the wisest crowds, some voices matter more than most.

Simon Kelner is away.

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