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My daughter is 9 next week.  I want her to be 9.  I work hard to keep the child in her alive and defer her teenage years until she is at least, oh I don’t know, let’s say thirteen.  So that can’t be so hard?

You’d hope not, but this is a great example of the kind of thing which sets me off: ‘Boob-Job piggy bank’.  I was going to link to the original site, but don’t want to give them the pleasure of the page views…  Thanks to Karmadillo for sending that one through.

Why ever would you present that as a purchase for a child?  Or frankly an adult, but that’s a whole different blog post.

This article gives some good clues; Kids Today are growing up way too fast.  “Marketeers call them “tweens”: kids between eight and 12, midway between childhood and adolescence. But tweens are becoming more like teens, leaning more and more toward teen styles, teen attitudes and teen behavior at its most troubling” 

And the striking findings reported in that article place a large part of the solution firmly at my door:  “Kids are on their own, goes the premise”.  Parental absence (they suggest through parents working long hours without reference to full time absenteeism) is a major factor in this.  

Phew, so glad I work for an organisation that gets it: one which allows me to reduce my working hours and do them flexibly, so I can pick her up from school and take her to her activities – or just flop in front of a film together.

So ironic though, that I should be the one sitting at home alone, with no real plans for the day whilst I write this.  An absent child… My daughter, out all day acting her heart out with a bunch of creative tweens.  Her peers are where, why “up town” of course indulging in the “fad-crazed marketplace” of the greedy marketeers.

And me, well I think I’ll just pop up town, see you later…

 

I’ve been playing a little game with myself. 

Regular visitors will have noticed my habit of posting photos often without explanation (ref: bins and workmen categories). 

I have a pretty clear reason for putting them up.  For me, there is a clear story behind them and a clear reason for posting them.  One of the interesting consequences of posting many photos, is that as I post more photos, my story changes.  What I also wonder is whether they tell the same story as I set out to tell. 

So, the little game I am playing with myself is to see how long I can hold out before I tell the stories.  

When I set out to write this post, I thought I’d reached that point where I would write them down.  Now I realise, I can stand it a little longer.  In fact, this post gives me the chance to ask you what stories you glean from my photo posts – if indeed you hear a story at all…  I look forward to your comments.

Meanwhile, here I am still playing that little game with myself…

bins-21 Nov 08

It appears they didn't plan far enough ahead...These workmen spent the day installing some very nifty bollards.  It appears they didn’t plan far enough ahead.  Not sure how they got the van out in the end…

Workmen demolishing Matthew Boulton College, brick by brick

Workmen demolishing Matthew Boulton College, brick by brick

Bins 20 Nov

Brummie workmen building the bullring

Brummie workmen building the bullring

Our fabulous tryptych by Gail Troth… (Graduate of Birmingham City University – formerly UCE)

I Twitter, I meet people. I meet people, I join networks. I join networks, I discover ning. I discover ning and before I know it I’m offering to create one, in a national meeting.

OMG says I, I know not what I’ve done.

Ah well, it can’t be too hard and besides, I know one of my new Twitter chums will help. So what do I do? Contact him, talk it through, work on it together? No, of course not, I dive right in… and 5 minutes later, I have a network.

Yes, 5 minutes.

It looks great. http://multimillions.ning.com/ My colleagues can blog, chat, put up photos and images, create groups and all sorts.

I’ve sent a message out on Facebook to some of my friends who were then when I volunteered to do this hard thing. I’ve asked them to join (still waiting?!?!)

I’ve told my new Twitter friends, who have been delightfully supportive of this simple effort.
and all from the comfort of my own living room while my daughter sleeps and hubby works late. Who needs a night out, I haven’t felt this much flow in years.

What can I do next?

I’ve been twittering for about a fortnight. Like every micro-world it takes a while to acclimatise. But this week I think I’ve found my voice. What are the characteristics of this? Well I’ve developed a raft of new skills:

• I can now follow more than one conversation at once
• I can also follow one conversation thread in the wrong order and across many hours
• I can send a tweet to a complete stranger without fearing that they will ignore me
• I can cope with the fact that when I tweet a complete stranger, they sometimes ignore me.

I’ve made contact with some colleagues I may never have met and with a raft of other great people from all round the world. I never expected to follow or, more excitedly, be followed by the Stephen Fry.

But most of all, I’ve made friends with a crowd of folks I’ve never met. People who’ve already helped me out with info and ideas. People who could live anywhere, do anything for a living (although most are social media junkies) and haven’t got a clue what I look like. People who I’m drawn to by what they tweet and vice versa.

It feels like a thoroughly pure way of making friends – just hope they don’t all click “block” once they’ve met the me!

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