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Make Your World Bigger in 2016 #mywbpledge

25 Jan

‘And I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep.’ – Kurt Vonnegut Jr

Those of you who follow me on Twitter (You don’t? Seriously? Why not? Find me here: @ThatPaulCoxon) will know I have been talking about Discovery Channel’s Make Your World Bigger pledges (#mywbpledge) for 2016 quite a bit over the last month.

This is the second year for the Discovery campaign, having already inspired lots of people in 2015 to get outside and out of their comfort zones to do something incredible, something they would not normally do and something that they have always wanted to do. In short, people made their world’s bigger and, in 2016, the pledges are back, better than ever…

Here’s what Discovery Channel has to say about the campaign:

At Discovery we think there’s always more to know, explore and experience: life is about collecting moments, not things. Because every moment, insight and experience makes us grow.

Not just the big stuff, like exploring the limits of outer space, or the depths of the ocean. (Though we do that too.) But everyday stuff, like taking an alternative route to work. Talking to someone different in the office. Trying a new dish at lunchtime.

To try, succeed, fail. And move on, all the better for it.

Every day we go in search of surprise and wonder. It’s not just our job. It lies at the heart of what we believe and how we live our lives. It’s in our DNA.
And to the millions who share our view, come and join us. Make Your World Bigger. – Source

There’s probably something sitting unfulfilled at the back of your mind, something you have wanted to do for as long as you can remember, but haven’t been able to either because of time or money. If this sounds like you, why not make your pledge today, simply go on Twitter and tweet your pledge along with the Hashtag #mywbpledge.

Discovery will be taking the top 15 pledges and opening them up to a public vote with the top 3 pledges after voting set to receive £5000 to make their world bigger in 2016. You’ll need to be relatively quick though as the competition closes on Sunday 31 January.
Find out more about the 2016 campaign here: Make Your World Bigger in 2016.

The ever-increasing borders of our world

One of the things I am most grateful to my parents for is showing me, by inspiring me to read and travel, that the world is a huge place and that, if I wanted to, there would be opportunity a-plenty to explore it. They dearly wanted their son’s world to be bigger than theirs had been growing up and I’ll always be thankful for that. One of the many things my wife, Lara, and I have in common is a shared desire to see new sights and experience new things, which has meant we have been able to pursue experiences our parents could only dream about.

This desire to expand our horizons is a big part of how I see myself, truly an integral part of my DNA and has led us to some truly wonderful places and experiences all over the world, from volunteering to re-build medieval castles in the South of France to tours of the ancient temples on Bali, to the Mayan ruins of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula and, most recently, the middle of a Manta Ray feeding frenzy in the Maldives. These are the stories, with associated pictures and video, that I hope one day will inspire our own children to make their worlds bigger and to be positive advocates for nature and the environment.

Even though we have seen so many far flung places, met so many wonderful people and done so many things that never cease to cause spontaneous smiling just by their thought, I too have a list of things that I have always wanted to do but so far have not managed to get round to, which brings me nicely on to my pledge:

My #MYWBPledge

My pledge is this:

In 2016, I’d like to find the opportunity to spend a few days swimming, free diving and filming up close with a pod of wild Orca.

This is something I have wanted to do for as long as I can remember. I’ve had more the a few dreams involving being in crystal clear waters surrounded by a pod of Orca swimming all around and beneath me. These are my flying dreams.

I’ll be honest, swimming with Orca is something that I’ve always thought about in the same vein as a desire to visit the moon ie something that would be fantastic but astronomically unlikely (excuse pun) to ever happen to me. I thought it so unlikely when I recently penned my ‘Big Fish Bucket List’ I left it off, assuming it impossible. Space is the proserve of astronauts, swimming with Orca that of the marine scientist (infrequently) or so I thought, until recently.

Two documentaries, The Cove and Blackfish, blew the lid off the practice of keeping cetaceans (whales and dolphins) in captivity. Venues such as Seaworld went from being viewed as harmless forms of entertainment to being seen as cruel (often grotesque) circus shows discarding animal wellfare in return for a quick buck. Consumers became more aware of opportunities to swim in the wild with cetaceans and eco-tour operators began to spring up in many locations to meet this need.

In the years after the release of The Cove, there have been thousands of eco-tour operators springing up to offer tourists and adventurers opportunity to swim with dolphins in the wild and on the animal’s own terms. Similarly, since the release of Blackfish a small number of the marine scientists who previously held the monopoly on swimming with Orca have begun to open their research trips up to small numbers of paying tourists affording them opportunity to swim in close proximity with the animal’s whilst helping to fund vital research. It is one of these trips I hope to join.

The questions everyone has asked

Everyone I have spoken to about my pledge has asked me the same question: isn’t this a bit dangerous? Won’t you be scared?

You’ll have probably noticed I’ve been careful to use the term Orca rather than Killer Whale, which comes loaded with some pretty heavy meaning. There is no escaping that Orca are a top Apex Predator, huge, fast and incredibly powerful. There are well documented accounts of Orca hunting and killing large sharks, but the staple of the Orca diet is much smaller prey such as Salmon and the like. There have been no attacks on humans by wild Orca and 99% of Orca aggression towards humans comes from captivity situations where there are likely extenuating circumstances.

While I would be cautious and respectful around such powerful animals I do not imagine being afraid and my pulse quickens a little just thinking about it.

The other question I’ve been asked is: Why now? That one is simple, last year losing Tristan and almost losing Lara made me realise how precious and short life is. Added to this, is the very real fact that Orca are critically endangered as a species, by the time we have children and raise them to the age where they might seek out their own Orca experience, there may not be Orca left in our oceans.

Some of you will be reading this and thinking: I could never do that, not brave enough. You’re wrong, we can each do a lot more than we think when we give ourselves permission to dream. My Mum used to say, you only regret the things you don’t do. Let’s make our world’s bigger and foster fewer regrets in 2016.

Can you help?

If you are a marine scientist working with Orca and think you might be able to accommodate me on one of your trips and help me to realise my dream of swimming with them, I would love to hear from you. Likewise, if you have had this experience and can give me some tips, get in touch.

Check out the pledges

Please take some time to have a look at some of the many pledges that people have already been making on Twitter, who knows it might inspire you to pledge to do something incredible this year. I have been really impressed by both the scope of challenges that people have set themselves and the reasons that have inspired them to do so. Read the pledges.

Okay, so you know the drill, if you don’t like these thoughts, maybe stick around, I have others.

Be still my beating (Twitter) heart

5 Nov

So Twitter is outraged this week…okay, I will definitely need to be more specific than that as Twitter is always outraged about something, but this week Twitter is outraged about Twitter. Specifically, the company’s decision to replace the favourite function, previously represented by a star icon with a like function, now represented by a heart icon. I know, right? Shit just got serious, I’m struggling to write these words through the sheer weight of my unbridled rage and hatred.

It was no secret that this change was coming. Twitter have spoken about it frequently for months and even tested the new functionality with a number of selected users but this still hasn’t stopped an outpouring of anger normally reserved for sex offenders and war criminals.

I’ve been watching the outpouring of anger and it seems to be emanating from three distinct groups, which I find interesting enough to warrent this post.

The Lads

Firstly, the lads – the Bros for my American and Australian readers – they object to the new hearts because a heart is just too effeminate.

I mean, Stars, now stars are manly, all that burning hydrogen and potential for vast supernova explosions, few things more manly than a star and they’ve been happily throwing stars around, like kebab meat at pub closing time on a Friday night, for years.

The lads don’t want to send other men hearts on Twitter, bit namby-pamby, innit? They largely only talk to other lads on Twitter and now they are stoically refusing to even consider the vast threat to their masculinity posed by a blood-red heart.

I have followers that I often engage with who have frequently favourited my tweets who I’m almost certain won’t now because a heart is involved even though the only thing to have changed is the icon. The mind boggles.

The Fauxmenists

If you are wondering how to spot a Fauxmenist, they have the word ‘feminist’ in their Twitter Bio but nowhere in their timeline will you find a single mention of female genital mutilation or any of the stunning injustices inflicted upon women around the world. Instead, you will find them shouting ‘don’t you f***ing #notallmen me’ ad infinitum at any men trying to engage them in reasoned discussions; or trying not to drown under the sheer weight of their Daddy issues; or misrepresenting the joke of Nobel prize winner Sir Tim Hunt; or getting astrophysicists sacked for having lousy dress sense.

The Fauxmenists are outraged because the evil people at Twitter – who are obviously all men even though they absolutely are not, but hey, let’s not let facts get in the way now – have formulated a way for men, evil, evil men, to harrass them and invade their safe spaces with sexually loaded hearts. It’s basically tantamount to rape, is it not? (It. Is. Not)

The Fauxmenists think Twitter is already designed with the sole intention of facilitating sexism and the harrassment of women and the hearts are the straw that broke the camels back. They’ll now definitely be finding another social platform where they feel safer…but maybe tomorrow. Today they’ll be ignoring the fact Twitter has built in block and report functionality and screaming ‘don’t you f***ing #notallmen me’ ad infinitum.

The minority

The minority of dissenting voices on Twitter are those suggesting that the company have not really given thought to the way the previous favourite functionality and associated star was being used by them and many others.

They argue that they used the favourite function to bookmark tweets that they might want to come back to in the future and that it did not mean they necessarily ‘liked’ the content of the tweet. The fact that this neutrality of bookmarking with a favourite has been replaced with a more Facebook-esque like is, for them, a retrograde step. Fair enough.

Twitter is free

As none of us have ever paid to use Twitter as personal or business users (unless paying to promote tweets) I’m not terribly sure how useful it is to shout about Twitter not listening to our views about the product we use. If you genuinely don’t like it, then vote with your feet.

It strikes me as somewhat disingenuous to moan incessantly how terrible the environment is while you’re tweeting 100s of times each day and coming back every day. It’s basically like repeatedly punching yourself in the face and complaining about headaches as you go.

I just can’t find it in myself to be angry about stuff like this. I used to pay to play World of Warcraft, trust me if you ever want to see a company not really care about their userbase, check out the psychotic disregard that Blizzard have always had for their users. I didn’t complain much then either even though my grounds for doing so were fairly sizeable.

Paul’s guide to hearts

Still worried about the intention behind a heart, I’ve collated a few of my tweets on the topic into a handy guide. Hope it helps:

IF you wake up to find yourself unable to move while someone is knelt on you, brandishing a handsaw and trying to access your heart through your chest, this is sinister and reasonable to object to.

IF someone leaves a scrawled heart in their own blood (or any other bodily fluid, for that matter) on your windscreen this is also sinister and it is perfectly reasonable to worry about that person’s intentions.

IF someone sends you a family member or beloved pet’s heart in a box on Valentine’s Day, definitely bad and cause for concern.

BUT

IF someone hearts your last tweet it probably just means they enjoyed it and/or are bookmarking it to read later.

Still not convinced?

If you genuinely can’t abide the new Twitter hearts, they are causing you deep and enduring pain and you don’t mind a bit of code wrangling, well Gizmodo have a solution just for you, my sensitive friend. Here it is: How to replace Twitter’s dumb heart with an emoji of your choice

that #ff thang #2 He Who Licketh the Skip

6 Sep

I’ve never had to point a firearm at someone and make the decision to pull the trigger. I hope I never will. My Granddad did. It was a decision taken, not out of anger, or fear (though he was afraid) but from duty and the instinct to live. ‘Here be man’s most monstrous’ he’d write in margins. It was horror that he could not find words to express, at first. He awoke screaming for the rest of his life and never spoke of the war if he could avoid it. Granddad died before anyone knew what Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was. My Granddad was a hero.

I’m posting this a bit earlier than Friday to meet the real (not one of the squidgier variety) deadline for this week’s Weekly Blog Club. It’s such a great initiative aimed at encouraging people (especially in public & 3rd Sector) to write. Each week, there are suggested topics for any writers who are struggling to come up with something to write about, one of last week’s topics was Hero’s and it reminded me I should post this one. Anyway, I highly recommend checking them out on Twitter and visiting the site, they always have a lot of great content from some really brilliant writers.

My mate Skip’s a hero.

He’s seen darkness far worse than anything Granddad saw, but took the same action and lives with a similar consequence.

SkipLicker, to use his own description,  Is:

King of the Stickmen. Hardcore Troll. Carried a rifle once, then got shot at… Fuck off and be offended somewhere else

It’s the Hardcore Troll bit that gets some of my followers hot under the collar and not in the groovy, post-watershed way. To them, Skip’s just a Troll and Trolls are bad. mmkay? There is only one other person* I am warned about more for following and talking to on Twitter than Skip.

I like Skip, I have from the first time I read one of his blogs and chatted to him. I take people as I finds them and Skip has always been lovely to me. More than this though, Skip has a lot of very interesting things to say about a lot of different things. He is a fantastic writer with a voice that swings, often disarmingly, from sneering, acidic wit to warmth and empathy.

I’m most interested in his thoughts on war. You see, Skip’s writing a book about his experiences and, just as I think she’d approve of my granddad’s journals, I think Mary O’Hare would approve of Skip’s portrayal of war…

If you’re wondering what the hell I’m talking about, it probably means you haven’t read Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five. You should rectify that situation immediately, it truly is a brilliant book. Vonnegut was writing a War book too – an anti-war book in fact, as perfectly pointless as an ‘anti-glacier’ book – he was reminiscing with an old war buddy, when the man’s wife interrupted:

“You were just babies then!” she said.
“What?” I said.
“You were just babies in the war — like the ones upstairs!”
I nodded that this was true. We had been foolish virgins in the war, right at the end of childhood.
“But you’re not going to write it that way, are you.” This wasn’t a question. It was an accusation.
“I — I don’t know,” I said.
“Well I know,” she said. “You’ll pretend you were men instead of babies, and you’ll be portrayed in the movies by Frank Sinatra and John Wayne or some of those other glamorous, war-loving, dirty old men. And war will look just wonderful, so we’ll have a lot more of them. And they’ll be fought by babies like the babies upstairs.”
So then I understood. It was war that made her so angry. She didn’t want her babies or anybody else’s babies killed in wars. And she thought wars were partly encouraged by books and movies. – Slaughterhouse 5 – Chapter 1

I think we can be certain that wars are not even party encouraged by books or films but, just in case, Skip’s writing will have no role for Frank Sinatra or John Wayne. Read this: Words in a Skip: Hang em’ High and this: Words in a skip: Holes and Me

Quite recently, Skip has been a voice of reason in the growing cycles of online ‘outrages’  following trolling and is amongst a group of interesting folk asking important questions about Freedom of Speech. One of the few things that the Left and Right of UK politics seem to agree on is the need for freedom of speech applied to some and not others. You can threaten to blow up an airport and get away with it, but don’t dare threaten an Olympic Diver…

Skip thinks you should be able to say anything you want and he’s right, I think. That is how Freedom of Speech works? I’m asking, not telling. Either everything is okay to say, or nothing is. Read this:  Words in a Skip: Frankie Says Relax and this: Words in a Skip: Sticks and Stones.

Skip suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. That didn’t come from nowhere, it came from the things he saw and did at war and the things done to him in preparation for war. Skip is not alone, there are likely huge numbers of troops returning from war with mental scars invisible to the naked eye, but that are as debilitating as lost limbs. Read more of my thoughts on War and the armed forces

So there we have it, follow my mate Skip…but not literally, that probably won’t end well.

*The dubious honour of ‘Person I am warned most about on Twitter’ goes to Milo Yiannopoulos (@Nero), Editor-in-Chief at The Kernal. I like him too, he’s a brilliant writer with an acerbic tongue and yes, if you’re going to tell me about the horrible things he’s said…I know. He’s said a lot of things that I find pretty awful, but I suspect a lot of them he has said because he likes to shock and, besides, he’s always been sweet with me, as I said before, I takes ’em as I finds them. Also rumour has it that he is a great deal nicer in real life than how he sometimes chooses to present himself in print.

You Know the score: If you don’t like these Thoughts, stick around, I’ve got plenty of others.

The Prince is Naked. Please don’t look.

22 Aug

Hands up who wants to see Prince Harry’s cock?

Just joking.

It’s not that kind of blog. But…

I bet a lot of you would quite like to see those naked pictures of Prince Harry and the lovely, lovely girls. It will not matter whether the UK media decide to honour the Royal Family’s request to not publish the pictures, many of you will see those pictures anyway. This fact is largely the fault of the Royal’s themselves, as the brilliant Robin Bogg put it:

https://twitter.com/robinbogg/status/238309391806369792

I woke up this morning not really thinking about Prince Harry’s knob and here I am 10pm writing a blog about it. Well done the Royals on missing the point and calling upon the Lawyers before you call on the Public Relations People. So…

Should the UK media honour the Royal Families wishes not to publish the pictures? No, they should not.

On another note

I like Prince Harry. I liked him before, I like him more now. He”s human, he’s flawed and, best still, he’s really shit at hiding it.

If we have to have a monarchy, let’s at least allow it to contain humans who come equipped with foibles, vices and demons; it beats the regimented tradition and stuffiness that seems to typify the vast majority of the Royals. Good on you Harry, you’ll drag the Monarchy kicking and screaming into the 21st century one picture of your cock and one spliff at a time.

To all the people moaning about the money being spent being Tax Payers…Really? The vast sums of money that the Royals piss away on a plethora of entirely useless and unnecessary junk, houses, boats and God knows what else; I’m kinda glad at least a little bit of that money is being used so that Prince Harry can have his end away in Las Vegas.

Anyway, lots of great Tweets on this topic today, here are some of my favourites:

https://twitter.com/fleetstreetfox/status/238323315733823488

https://twitter.com/fleetstreetfox/status/238333201565769728

https://twitter.com/karlminns/status/238259158753898497

https://twitter.com/NicDaviesUley/status/238388399298469888

https://twitter.com/richquick/status/238774839966572544

https://twitter.com/psyphour/status/238748273886769153

In short: Bad PR for the Royals and Good PR for the Royals or at least Harry, who is basically doing what most of us would do if we were him. 

That Friday Follow Thing: Social Care

25 May

For those not familiar Friday Follow (#ff) is a Twitter convention whereby on a Friday you recommend people to follow. This is considered, a fantastic way to make new connections via a trusted recommendation or one giant internet circle jerk where bored idiots stroke their egos, depending on your side of the argument.

Me?

I do it occasionally and it does end up taking a considerable amount of time up but, by the same account, I do follow a lot of people who I learn from on a daily basis. My preference is that if you’re going to do it then rather than just tweeting #ff and a list long list of names,  tweet a single username and the reason that you are recommending them, have to say I have personally founded quite a few new people to follow by such recommendations. Anyway enough of my personal Twitter etiquette, I will be doing posts like this from time-to-time on a Friday instead of doing it on Twitter, I’ll be doing the recommendations based on themes and today’s theme is Social Care. Even though our current Government seem to have forgotten about Social Care with the latest delay to the long awaiting and much needed White Paper, time and change wait for no one. Twitter is an exciting place to be for Social Care content at the moment, lots of connections are starting to form, debates are being had about the big issues affecting the practice and management of Social Care from people working in Local Authorities, Charities and from private sector providers of care. Without exception, all the social care Tweeters that I have met have been linked by desire to engage and that’s exciting for me, people are starting to share ideas and best practice in an open environment like Twitter and that can only be good for both the profession as a whole and to the public perception of it.

Call to Arms: Do You work in Health or Social Care?

We need you. We may need you to lead us, if you’re willing and your vision is strong enough, but we certainly need you. You might have the idea that makes it all work, we might have some ideas that work for you. I really want to see a lot more Social Care and Health tweeters and bloggers over the coming years, there’s a reason for this. Eddie Izzard does a sketch about bee-keepers:

You guys working front line Health and Social Care, you’re the bee keepers. I’ve met very few people working in Health and Social Care who told me they were ‘just doing a job’ or ‘just doing it for the money’ the thing that I have noticed is they share a genuine passion for helping people by offering the best services that they are able and that, in itself, is no easy task. So come on guys, let’s see you on Twitter, let’s hear your thoughts. We do not have to wait for a Government that has seemingly forgotten about us, we’re here, we’re talking; there is not a single movement in the history of civilisation that hasn’t started this way. Anyway, if you want to find the most interesting content on Twitter on UK Social Care here are the people I recommend you follow.

This list is by no means exhaustive, I have chosen the people I regard as the best curators of content, through these people you will find a lot more people to follow and engage with.

Shirley Ayres (@Shirley Ayres) – Shirley is a true leader and a bit of a heretic at times and quite right too, heretics have more fun! Shirley is responsible for well over half of the interesting content I read on Twitter around Social Care and Health, her skill at curating content and asking the right and difficult questions is legendary. I follow Shirley closely, she is always engaged in fascinating discussions on a variety of topics and I learn a lot. You should read her superb blog on Connecting Social Care and Social Media.

I have a list of people I intend to go out of my way to meet and learn from, Shirley is on there, we keep missing each other, but we’ll get there soon.

Ermintrude2 – Anonymous Blogger Ermintrude2 is another superb creator and curator of thought provoking content around Social Care. She is someone I would hold up as a superb ambassador for the profession, always sharing best practice and experience and always eager to engage in important discussions. Ermintrude is the antidote to the often skewed picture of  Social Care that is in the media, we need more people like her! She is involved in The Not So Big Society Blog, which I highly recommend.

GndSocialCare – Sometimes working in Social Care you’d be forgiven for thinking the national media an enemy. Unfortunately bad news sells more papers than good news, so a lot of the stories that end up running about Social Care are about the times it goes wrong or we get it wrong. The Guardian are on a wonderful mission to present a bit more balanced perspective on Social Care issues and their content just gets better and better. Check out the Guardian Social Care Network.

Claudia Megele – Her Twitter Profile States: There is little I’m not curious about & even less I’m not interested in… and that about sums up the content she creates and curates, always fascinating. Claudia is a Senior Lecturer, MSc Module Leader, Author and Researcher.

LearningSHaCK – This account is close to my heart as run  by friends and colleagues in the Learning and Development Service at Warwickshire, I helped them to get started on Twitter and am pleased to say they have become fantastic curators and creators of content.

And last, but no means least, a recent one, but immediately brilliant:

WhoCaresWalsall – Provides information about care services in Walsall and began with the live-tweeting of the morning in the life of Sheila who cares for her husband Ron who has Vascular Dementia. You can read the full story and you should, it was a superb piece of storytelling in real time and perfectly highlighted a lot of the issues of caring for someone who has dementia and also someone living with dementia. On every level I am in awe and certainly one to watch; there don’t have to be flashy unicorns, it just needs to be real and this is. Check out the blog and huge Kudos to Tina and Becky from Walsall Council for Tweeting such a powerful story. Also credit to Dan Slee for being awesome.

Are you working in Local Government Communication?

You need to be following Comms2Point0 and check out their awesome blog .

Social Care in Warwickshire

Social Care and Health

Adult Social Care

Children’s Social Care

Warwickshire Resource Directory

Recognise and Report Abuse

Paul and Twitter – Old Friends, New Friends and Endless Opportunity

17 May

I logged in to Twitter over lunchtime today and the first thing I saw was a familiar face smiling back at me from the ‘Who to follow’ box. That face belonged to Tom Page, a great friend and house mate throughout my time at Warwick Uni and part of the reason most of my First Year at is a memory black hole (but that, dear reader, is another story for another day). Sadly, I’d lost touch with Tom after graduation and had resigned myself to the fact I might not see him again, but suddenly there he was. I sent him a tweet and a few hours later we were talking on the phone, catching up on old times and what we’ve each done since leaving University. I find myself saying this a lot, but Twitter has been a string of near endless opportunities like this for me and this is the story I’ve been meaning to tell for a while. This is a story about Me and Twitter.

In the Beginning

To begin with I was very sceptical of Twitter, it struck me for a long time as being rather elitist due to the fact that you’re going to need a smartphone to get the most out of the platform. At the time, smartphones were not as numerous as they are now (and I didn’t have one), so I felt fairly confident in my opinions, until one day all that changed.

A Chance Meeting with Our Man Inside

Sometimes it’s a chance meeting with a stranger that helps us the most. The person who I always give full credit for changing my opinion of Twitter is Christian Payne, who I met by sheer good fortune through a mutual friend we have. I can’t speak highly enough of Christian, if you don’t already then I highl;y recommend that you follow him and any opportunity to hear him speak should never be passed-over. You can find his website here: Documentally.com.

Anyway, me and Christian got talking and he asked me what I did for a living. I told him I worked in PR and he immediately asked what my Twitter username was and looked shocked when I told him I didn’t have one. I’ll never forget what he said next: ‘then you won’t be as good at your job as you could be!’ I was shocked and a little offended and questioned him on what he meant. At great and fascinating length he began to tell me all the amazing opportunities that Twitter offered to PR professionals and all the doors it had opened up for him, the work he had got and the friends he had made. It was hard to argue with the case he was making and that same day I set up my Twitter account, which I ran using the web-based Twitter before finally getting a smartphone.

Without Twitter

I described earlier ‘a string of near-endless opportunities’ and the superlative soup was well justified. If I was to list all the amazing things that I’ve gained through engaging on Twitter this post would be huge, but here are some of the things I have Twitter to thank for:

Without Twitter I would not have learnt as much as I have about PR and met so many people facing similar challenges as me. Christian was right, if I hadn’t joined Twitter I would not be as good at my job as potential would allow. Thanks to the amazing people that I follow, I learn  new things every day and that is exciting.

Without Twitter, I would not have been able to be involved in so many interesting discussion with other people working in Local Authorities and in Social Care all over the country. There is a fabulous community to be found on Twitter in both areas and they have always treated me with nothing but kindness and warmth.

Without Twitter, I wouldn’t have had anywhere to complain that my phone was unlikely to last, on a single battery charge, for the duration of the March for the Alternative last year. I would not have been contacted by Sasha Taylor with the offer of borrowing a portable mobile recharger and therefore would have been unable to do the Audioboos that I did during the March. Sasha and I would not have become friends and collaborators; I would have not helped organise Warwick 4am project or BlueLightCamp and therefore I would not have met David White or John Bracey or Louise Matthews and we would not have been stood in Manchester gazing up at the International Space Station while Radiovicky captured the moment.

Without Twitter I may never have visited Tring and certainly have never met thinkingfox and had a fun visit to the natural history museum in the town. I would not have met Millymoo (who is a fabulous Orwell Prize shortlisted legal blogger) and Jules.

There is so much more I could list, but instead I will say thank you. To the people I follow who make Twitter fizz with potential and all the people I’ve chatted to, laughed with, met and will meet. You’re all awesome!

But really…

Twitter Doesn’t Matter

It’s just a tool people, it’s an amazing tool that started something, but it is just a tool. It’s People that matter. We matter. Twitter may one day not exist but, in my opinion, it has enabled a form of instant global communication, collaboration and sharing that will transcend it. I’m not excited by Twitter, the thought that every day I will wake up and learn something new, join a tribe or, who knows one day, maybe lead one.

Who to Follow

I’ve made some recommendations of people that I like to follow on Twitter, based on area of interest, you can read those posts below:

That Friday Follow Thing: Social Care and Health

Anyway, friends, you know the score, if you don’t like these thoughts then please do stick around, I have others.

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