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0092It’s Wednesday so it’s bin day.  Or is it?  Of course not, it’s Christmas Eve.  Here are the bins, out back.  But they’ll have to wait until next week:

I’ve been tweeting and blogging for a few months now.  As Christmas holidays approach it seems like a good time to reflect on that.

So, some numbers, as of Thursday 18 December [anyone who reads my tweets or knows me at all, will know I’m comfy with numbers].

On Twitter:

  • 131 people have decided to follow me on Twitter
  • I’ve posted 1,244 updates since I joined in September 2008.
  • most, 272, of these have been on Wednesdays
  • I’ve sent over 300 of my replies directly to only 2 people!
  • My most active hour is after 11pm.
Thanks to for most of these stats…

On my Blog site:

I’ve also joined 1 Ning and set up two others.  Interestingly none of these particularly feature in my everyday life.  Conversely I have been suffering something of a Twitter addiction and do keep on top of my blogging. 

From Twitter I have learnt loads and met so many new people.  It was only because of a desire to meet new friends made online that I attended the December Birmingham Bloggers meet at our Frankfurt Christmas Market earlier this month.

One of the features I’ve noticed about this new world is that many things happen just because some folks are interested enough to make it happen and not expect everyone else to do it for them.   There is a high sense of achievement.  I’m not sure if that is just amongst the people I’ve decided to follow or twitter-land in general.

Another is that professionals and amateurs rub along together very well.  So, many of my followers(ings) make a living from the internet and social media one way or another, whilst the rest are keen amateurs or just like to commune.  I’m not sure how the pros put up with some of our amateurish nonsense on some evenings, but we have a great time…

I’m constantly pondering how exactly to use all of this at work.  How to really embrace social media to engage our 25,000 members beyond Facebook.  I’m looking forward to seeing what Ed Walker does at UCLAN SU as he embeds it more there.  I’m also contemplating how we go about using the web to “walk alongside” our members, where in the past we may well have demanded they come inside…  Looking forwad to where that will take us, I think it may be an interesting model going forward.  I feel it will give us a greater chance of building a positive reputation: one of a students’ union who cares enough about what it’s members choose to do, that we join in with them rather than necessarily the other way round.


So what does 2009 have in store:

  • It’s looking likely that I’ll host a Birmingham meeting of Twitterers in the not for profit sector. 
  • More bin blogging [including 1st bins on vacation post planned for Feb 2009]
  • More workmen [at least two sites up my sleeve, just need the camera at the right time
  • More ramblings
  • More Tweets
  • …oh, and more time with my family – not sure how they are compatible, but need to find out real soon.

Like now!


Happy New Year

I’m in the very fortunate position of taking part in a pilot for iPhones at work.  I’m required to give feedback and want it to be constructive.  For this to work best, I need to record what I find as I find it.

So what have I found.  Well day 1, here goes:

On the +ve

  • It’s feels like such a treat to have one.
  • It’s beautiful: packaging and machine
  • It’s easy to use, it just makes sense
  • It was sooooo easy to set up the wifi connection at home
  • I’ve added a couple of apps very easily (facebook and twitterfon)

On the -ve

  • I couldn’t find the instructions in the beautiful packaging.  Of course they were there, but hidden away.
  • On the keyboad, there is no ctrl function.  Maybe it’s different in apple land, but I want Ctrl c, x and v!
  • The phone didn’t appear to work (which is ironic at the least) – I updating the firmware and now it’s ok.
  • My email wouldn’t send and ditto
  • The screen gets really quite mucky and I don’t want to carry a cleaning cloth with me.
  • It took me a while to get itunes working with it – not sure how to use the cloud thingy

There we go, I’ve used it for one evening and already uploaded photos, downloaded 2 apps and got to grips, somewhat, with safari.

So, despite my -ve list being longer, I am liking it.  I will write more when I’ve done more with it.  Am, of course, delighted to get any top tips from experienced users…

Bin day

Workmen cleaning Brindley Place

Workmen cleaning Brindley Place


Snapped whilst at a very fine AMSU Midlands Regional meeting at the Ikon.  Thanks to Emily for going out with the camera whilst on a ‘fresh air’ break.

At the Creative City Awards
At the Creative City Awards

This is a photo of a video clip which was run at the Creative City Awards (Nov 08).  All I can say is I clicked too soon. The next frame superimposed the exciting and creative logo for the event, which friends of mine love so much.  So sorry I missed that for you [Shona], workmen and inspiring graphic design in one shot would have summed up my November…

I’ve only had about 15 carrier bags from shops this year – it was a new year’s resolution: I would say no whenever I could and therefore cut down my personal use of plastic carrier bags.  The biggest win has been “town” shopping.  When I used to feel a new skirt had to go in an M&S carrier, I now pop it in a pre-existing bag of my own.  It’s been a successful campaign and one I urge you all to join.  The only down side is that shopkeepers do often give me funny looks and on a bad day I can seem a little crotchety with them, when I insist that I can carry a sandwich, drink and packet of crisps without the aid of their bag…

But, I’ve noticed something worrisome, which is this.  Since my campaign and since it rightly became hard to get a free carrier bag in supermarkets, we’ve acquired a very large number of re-usable bags.  Many of them so-called bags-for-life; when I count mine, I see a long life ahead of me.  Many are hessian; carrying various worthy messages.  A few are cloth; my personal favourite from the 2005 Hay Festival.  I came to realise a fundamental flaw, I had got into the habit of buying a re-usable bag whenever I liked the look of it, because it was better than using a shop plastic bag.

Since that “obvious with hindsight” realisation, I then discovered a far more fundamental truth.  If I want to reduce my impact on the world’s ecosystem, then the carrier bag in which I place my shopping is the wrong worry.  The right worry is the shopping itself.  What junk have I bought, so that I can carry it in a re-useable bag.  What clothes have I worn no more than a handful of times.   How many times do I need to buy the paper at the weekend, before I realise I really should read it before it goes in the recycling pile…

So now, I go shopping with a small re-useable bag and mostly only buy those things that I really need. Oh, and if anyone knows a good place to recycle bags for life, let me know…


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December 2008
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