This morning I sent an e-mail which goes to people all over the world.
I opened with this paragraph –
“Yesterday morning Adam arrived at work and his computer failed to start. What a great way to get under way on what the media call Blue Monday. Goodness knows how they research these things but apparently we – the public at large – are at our lowest point in the whole year on the third Monday in January. My day turned out a bit dodgy also and I also played badly at badminton in the evening!”
To my surprise I got a couple of replies – both from across the pond in the US of A. One was balanced but one was quite hostile saying that I should maybe think before making references to Blue Monday. Basically they were pointing out that the third Monday in January is celebrated in America to the memory of Dr Martin Luther King.
A little taken aback I sent the same message to both –
“My apologies – that is the problem sometimes with world-wide messaging. I am of course referring to what the media in the UK is calling that Monday. Absolutely no disrespect meant and I admire Dr Martin Luther King greatly but was totally unaware that there was a specific day in the US to mark his life.”
But my curiosity had been aroused and as I had only seen headline references to ‘Blue Monday’ I realised I had quoted something as scientific fact without checking on my facts. Beware what you read in in the press or Wikipedia.
A search on Google – this is typical of news reporting about Blue Monday:
As CBS New York and other news outlets are reporting it, a British psychologist has developed an equation showing that the third Monday in January is the most depressing day of the year. (That very important and not at all made-up equation takes into account weather, debt, time since Christmas, time since screwing up on our New Year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and the feeling of a need to take action, according to a press release issued by the UK’s Mental Health Foundation in 2009. Science!) This morning, Blue Monday was a top trending topic on Twitter, just below Martin Luther King, Jr., Day and above the Golden Globes.
BUT – and here is the real point. It turns out that the founder of the formula – a Cliff Arnall of Cardiff University – for working out the gloomiest day of the year has questionable qualifications for putting forward the equation in the first place. Furthermore if you DO use the formula then the gloomiest day should be next Monday. Oh well!
If you want to see a real ding dong going on about the qualification of Mr Arnall then pop over to:
Brainduck’s Blog – http://brainduck.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/blue-monday-green-communications/
Great fun – eh!
Makes me nervous about writing anything.
It’s all onwards and upwards after next Monday – I am sure.