A couple months ago I blogged some feedback about the new First Great Western online booking system. I also blogged about one particular member of their staff who I felt had dealt with me, and my fellow tweeters, particularly well – Ollie. Since then I have received lots of tweets and comments from fellow train users, I’ve learnt about the background of the booking system, had it inferred that I’m a simpleton, moron and indeed zombie, and also been promised a new upgrade to the system in April that will make it easier. Check out the comments on the first post for more of the picture.
So imagine my frustration when I went to book a ticket to Gatwick airport for later this month. Strangely trains seemed to run every hour but the FGW site didn’t allow me to book the 10.32 train direct to Gatwick – it would allow me to book two separate journeys – to Reading and then again on from Reading, at higher cost of course, but the 10.32 isn’t given as an option.
Reg, on the FGW twitter account today, replied to let me know that they all use the same booking system so it shouldn’t be any different – which is what I’ve been told before. I’m partly writing this post to share with Reg to provide evidence that there’s a gap between what *should* happen and what does happen. I’ll wait to see if this changes but in the meantime I’ll be taking my zombie arse down to the station to book in person later today and will have to hope the price hasn’t escalated in that time.
There’s nothing like technology making life easier, and more efficient….not.
It’s 101 days since Dad died today, I’d been thinking about this (non)-anniversary all week and was fully aware of it yesterday but couldn’t bring myself to concentrate long enough to write this post then. I’m confident Dad would appreciate the quirk of it being 101 days anyhow. So I’m going to keep this short (I tried…it didn’t work, sorry) but share some of my reflections on life after Bobby. I did a few posts in the immediate weeks following Dad’s death, one after a month and another after two months, but I’m hoping the passage of time will make this one slightly more considered and reflective.
It seems that the normal timescales for grief and grieving suggest that we should all be a little raw still, given how soon it is since Dad died. I’m not claiming I’m out the woods, but mostly I feel like I’m doing ok. The grief is there but it’s almost like a washed pebble, it’s like a lump that’s present around and within me, but it’s by no means raw and jagged. I wonder if part of that is because we had so long to come to terms with Dad’s illness, I’m confident part was due to the amazing support from the Rowcroft Hospice team when he was dying – it was almost like our grieving started when they arrived in with us, and they were phenomenal in that regard.
Don’t get me wrong, I do miss Dad, there are loads of occasions where I’m stopped in my tracks at my sense of missing him. I’ve had an almost visceral response on a handful of occasions, the most recent was when I was strolling around the Vasa Museum and I was thinking how much Dad would like it, it hit me like a ten foot wave, Dad would *have* liked it; past tense. I thought I was alright with that until I turned to remark aloud Dad would have liked this and the words stuck in the back of my throat, hard to form without an extra gulp of air or two.
On the plus side I’ve learnt that it is possible for anyone, even me, to cry Cheryl Cole tears. You know what I mean, simple beautiful diamond tears cascading down a cheek and deftly caught in a tissue, as opposed to the full on, red bloated face, tear avalanche accompanied by full on shoulder shakes that was the hallmark of my grief in the very early days. It’s not so much a learnt behaviour, more a necessity. If you find yourself thinking of someone you’re missing on public transport (I’ve learnt I do a lot of my thinking on trains) the you can’t afford to make a spectacle of yourself!
When Dad died I changed my facebook profile pic to one of him holding me as a baby. It was in some way a marker and virtual acknowledgement of the role he’d played in my upbringing, but on a very factual level it also served as an alert. Most of my friends knew Dad had been ill for some time but I hadn’t actually told many he was dying so having a new avatar meant people looked and very soon found out that Dad had died – this cut back on my need to contact people and let them know individually. In addition Dad had an epic beard which was an awesome talking point. Here, take a look it was this photo:
The avatar was also a bit of a comfort for me over the past 100 days. Every time I looked at it I’d smile at Dad’s beard as a starter, but also at the memory of his chest! I spent hours looking at his chest the week that he died, he’d take every opportunity to get his chest out in the sun, famously stringing an extension line into the garden so he could iron in his shorts in the summer (once a matelot always a matelot). One of the advantages of him being at home was that he didn’t have to wear full on PJs as he would have felt obliged to do in hospital, so that chest is scorched in my memory, in a good way.
What has that got to do with moving on. Well this weekend, encouraged by a throw away comment on twitter and a new hair do, I changed my avatar back to a photo of me. I’d been wanting a reason to do it for a wee while, I didn’t want to change it too soon and I was worried that I’d feel like I was erasing Dad in some way or moving on to quickly, but hell it’s what he’d have wanted and my barnet won’t look this good for long, so it’s back to me!
One of the joys of Dad’s death and dying has been the excuse to reminisce and share stories. There have been lots of words about Dad over the past 100 days and I’ve caught myself occasionally glossing over the bad bits and just focusing on the good, turning Dad into an almost virtual saint! Anyone who knew my Dad would laugh at that, he was all manner of goodness and had a true heart of gold and would give anyone his last penny, but he wasn’t no saint. Catching up with Mum this weekend it felt good to acknowledge as much, to discuss the good but also some of the more irritating or less favourable bits.
The most striking bit for me is the sense of freedom I feel now Dad has died. It’s not that I actually think Dad would have judged me, all he ever asked was for us to be happy, and yet in some way we didn’t often see the world in the same way. We were quite different people and I maybe it’s completely natural for all children to want to please their parents, but it feels a relief to know there is only one left to have to please! I guess this is wrapped up with a growing realisation of how full-on and demanding Dad’s illness was at times over the past five or six years, not to mention how demanding my relationship with work had grown (I quit my job in September, just before Dad’s health seriously declined and was working my notice period when he died).
It certainly feels good to be free of some of those residual pressures, and it similarly feels good to speak freely of them.
Getting back on the social media donkey
When Dad was dying I received a lot of support via social media, it helped me no end to know that people hadn’t forgotten about me, despite my absence. I lurked occasionally, ignored it a lot and really questioned how futile a lot of the interactions were once I returned. It felt like everyone was moaning on and being negative, and the last thing I needed was negativity in my life. I worked hard to stay patient with it, to remember that it’s not all about me, to respond to the virtual invitations and connections offered, and to force myself back into a space that has provided me such support over the past few years.
I keep using the analogy of learning to swim with social media – you can’t really ever understand it, get it, or do it until you jump into the water. You can read, you can watch, you can study, you can question, but until you get in the water you won’t fully experience what it has to offer. When Dad was dying I spent a lot of time at the edge of the virtual pool and it took an immense effort to trust myself to dive back in and commit to it, it would have been easier to just stay close to the edge, or to give it a little time but then walk away, after all a lot of the interaction was so futile.
Yet it’s not, it might look like it is from the edge, but the very real and genuine connections and support I’ve received from a number of different people has reignited the value of social media for me, and I’m back there swimming lengths with the best of them….now if only that would translate to an actual swimming bath
Finally I wanted to reflect on the future. I’ve been really keen to raise awareness of the fantastic support we received from our local hospice, Rowcroft, and particularly their Hospice at Home service. To that end an extract from one of my blog posts features in their latest newsletter and on their website. I hope that by sharing our experience people will realise what is available to them, will find comfort and hope for what may lay ahead for them, and members of the local community may even dig into their pockets and provide some monetary support.
I’ve also been taking the time after Dad’s death to consider my own future and what it might look like. I’ve created a Pinterest board titled Work Less, Live More that includes my quasi bucket/to-do list. Take a look and let me know if you want to join me on any of the activities and please do feel free to suggest others.
101 days without Dad has sharpened my focus and enabled me to address issues of balance in my life. I’ve not felt as optimistic about life, or as creative or energised for a long time. Life will never be the same, but I have no intention of ‘getting over it’, rather living with his memory and tuning in occasionally to his voice in my ear, encouraging me to stretch myself, take risks and enjoy life to the full. I’m finally learning to Let it Go.
When someone is told (or they decide) that their time is limited, at somewhere or something, I’ve observed an almost primal attempt to do more, fit more in, go further or faster, squeeze maximum effort into the remaining time; that or an almost instantaneous acceptance that time is limited so there’s not much point trying now, accompanied by an inevitable decline in performance/enjoyment/participation*.
One of my most recent personal examples of this was when I decided to quit my job. I had a three month notice period, within that time there was leave to use up and in the end some compassionate leave, but when I resigned I had anticipated, and seemingly most other people had also anticipated, that I would feel an instantaneous relief, that the pressure would fall off and life would gradually return to a more balanced state over the following three months. As it happened my Dad died during that period as well, so I’m well aware that brings it’s own pressures but I quit some months before that and the work pressure didn’t fall off instantly as I’d naively hoped. I’ve been thinking about this period a lot and it seems to me that at the point I resigned, the pressure started to climb (from a level that was already demanding more than I’d routinely hope to give to work, and had done for some time), before reaching a newer, higher peak and then what would have normally been followed by a decline was replaced by more important matters, for me at least, of my Dad’s death.
The simple fact was as soon as my time was limited not only did I attempt to perform most of the duties I’d already been doing (granted I relinquished a few but my workload did not drop considerably at the point I resigned). I tried to finish others that had sat out of reach for some time, I prepared handover and context notes, I met with people who needed reassurance/confidence in the future, I negotiated, brokered and contributed to new business and new bids. I did all of this while trying to support a staff group who were perhaps unsurprisingly delighted for me personally, but with some reservations of the impact for them, and I also wanted to give my time and attention to an exit interview process to ensure learning was captured for other colleagues/the organisation’s benefit. So the pressure and demands just kept growing.
I think I was unlucky in the timings in some way, that I didn’t get to also experience the gradual winding up process, instead that was replaced by family business. I cleared my office out one weekend shortly after Dad’s funeral and then took some time out for a holiday before Christmas. I’ll do more holiday posts in due course and Christmas probably deserves a post of it’s own. It wasn’t a bad one, and I’m not the world’s biggest Christmas fan at the best of times, but there was definitely a Dad, and Grandad shaped hole left since last year. A subtle, but constant reminder, that life is short and our time is limited.
So what I hear you ask. I’ve been so lucky with the support I’ve received from my friends and family, in real life and on social media. I can’t tell you how supported I’ve felt by the contact, the tweets, DMs, messages, the cups of tea, the promises of cake – the people who have not ran in the other direction but have stayed put and gently encouraged me to (re-)engage with life. My blogging has suffered over the last few weeks, I’ve just not been feeling the love for it, or for twitter; two avenues for my energy that have always felt so positive in the past. I think part of the challenge is that I was brought us along the lines that if you couldn’t say anything positive, you shouldn’t say anything at all….and I’ve not really been feeling the positivity (yet). I’ve also not been seeing too much positivity in my twitterstream, lots of people moaning and complaining about life/politics/each other/new business/old business/health/religion/anything else you can mention.
Overall I guess I’ve been feeling a residual pressure, like I’m on high alert. I’ve discussed with a few people the cumulative effect of stress and pressure, from work and my family situation, and the impact that has on your performance and health over time. I’ve spent quite a bit of energy trying to understand where I’m at, I’ve felt quite directionless, lacking drive or energy for most things. Until yesterday, when I fell upon my latest theory, the one at the top of the page about time being limited and it’s impact on performance (and perhaps preference). If my theory re work is in anyway accurate (and let’s be clear it’s my theory scribbled on the back of an envelope, and isn’t very subjective at all), but indulge me, if we go with it then I wonder whether the last few weeks have been my self trying to re-establish an equilibrium. They’ve been about recovery, and regrouping, and observing and identifying what it is, or where it is, that I wish to put my energies next. Almost to be expected really, so I’ve no idea why it’s so surprising.
There were a few catalysts this weekend to remember that time is limited, and that this is no dress rehearsal. There were three articles/blog posts that stopped me in my tracks:
1) Crossword master Araucaria reveals in puzzle that he is dying of cancer - I don’t even do crosswords, I struggle on easy ones never mind cryptic, but as I sat yesterday reading the comments on this article I couldn’t help but feel that what really matters in life is what you give, and you might never know what that is. I’m sure that the Rev John Graham knew he had a talent, and knew he had a fan base, but I very much doubt that he knew before his announcement the way in which he had touched so many people’s lives and given such pleasure.
2) Back for Good from Helen Fawkes – I’ve followed Helen’s journey with cancer for some time now, this is her third diagnosis and she writes an incredibly humbling blog sharing the news and ends with the following I know how I’m probably going to die and roughly when it’ll happen. It’s weird having a likely expiration date. I really hope my Best Before is at least 2023. But you know it’s not the years in your life that matter; it’s the life in your years. Once I have my affairs in order I’m not going to dwell on the dying, I will soon have a new list and a whole lot more living to do.
3) Sad News – Alice Pyne became an online sensation when she wrote her bucket list when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer and started raising money for charity. Her mum wrote yesterday: Our darling girl, Alice, gained her angel wings today. She passed away peacefully with Simon, Milly and myself by her side. We are devastated and know that our lives will never again be the same, Vicky. 12 January 2013 #nightnightAlice
All of these reminded me that life, and our time, is limited. Why should we wait until we are told we are likely to die to think about how to spend our lives. Why do we get so readily seduced into thinking that life is what we squeeze into weekends or holidays. Number one priority on Alice’s bucket list was to get people to join a bone marrow register, I’m already on it, if you are healthy and wish to join to you can go here and get a spit pack sent to register, simples.
Alice’s second priority was for everyone to have a bucket list. I’m working on it, going to give it some more thought and start compiling. After all, we all have one life, if ever I was aware of that it’s now. I feel like I’ve an opportunity to consider really what I’d like to achieve/see/do and start doing it now. Watch this space….all suggestions very welcome!
* This theory may fall short on a number of occasions, such as when exercising or studying – however once the finish line is in sight, nearly every half marathon/10k runner/undergraduate/teenager I’ve ever seen picks up the pace for the absolute final burst
There are two twitter conversations in the last twelve hours that have encouraged me to put fingers to keyboard – one was a discussion with @ermintrude2 @martinhowitt @copperbird @HelenHSAUK @jaxrafferty about obituaries and whether you should have ‘live obituaries’ and the other with a similar group and @timolloyd and @paulcoxon81 about social media and whether it can be taught.
You may be sat there wondering how the two can be linked, I’m going to suggest that they are, because they’re fundamentally about recognition and acceptance. Last night I posted my grandfather’s obituary from the local paper and I was delighted to receive comments from people who had read it and felt like they knew something of my Grandad. I guess there was a sense of recognition, I have a pride in being associated with such a great man (who if I’m honest is possibly no more or less great than anyone’s Grandad but I’m particularly proud of him because he was mine!) and I get a warm glow when other people also recognise in him what I experienced.
I was also remembering my first boss, who had worked for over 35 years in Special Education in Ireland when he retired. He spent about six months receiving awards and accolades, being dined and respected…all very definitely due, but we were talking over a cuppa on one of his last days at work and he remarked that he didn’t understand why it had taken him to retire, for people to encourage him. He was one of the most supportive people I have ever worked with, he saw my potential and invested a lot in me, building my confidence and belief. He took the time for me, we would often have early evening chats over tea once the rest of the department had emptied out. He was a truly great man, who had a significant influence on me and my thinking….and evidently on many other people’s. It did leave me wondering whether he would have had a better experience if he had received just some of that recognition earlier in his career.
So, how does that relate to suggestions about teaching social media. Well I guess for me, it all comes down to the same thing, recognition and acceptance. Anyone who can remember their childhood (I’m sure I’m not the only one who felt like this) can probably remember the mix of excitement and fear when you goto school for the first time (I felt something similar when I went to my first OU tutorial a few months ago) or when you join a new club, or move house, or start a new job – that sense of potential, wrapped up in a basal level of concern that you might not be accepted. That you might not fit. That you might get it wrong. I’m not sure that those of us who have been using social media for some time are necessarily the best people to advise on how to encourage or support people to use it, we’re already convinced or we wouldn’t be here. That said I do think people need to be comfortable to learn publicly, to risk making errors in public (most social media platforms are very public), to have a go, to contact people and risk that they won’t reply, to realise that there are slightly subtle differences in online communication, people may not reply because they don’t see something/are too busy but that doesn’t equate to ignoring someone – it took me a long time to feel comfortable with not trying to catch up with conversations.
So, what is this rambly post all about. I guess I have an overriding sense that we could all encourage each other a bit more than we do. In some way I suppose that is what #ff on twitter is about (although I don’t do that!) I hope it is also something of what Acknolwedgers is about too. Some public recognition. Maybe ‘live obituaries’ are a step too far, but perhaps an occasional public recognition or acknowledgement wouldn’t go a miss.
We rarely understand the totality of someone’s experience so if in doubt, a virtual high five, a word of encouragement, a response to their tweet, won’t do you any harm and it might have a considerable impact on the person stood at the edge of the circle trying to figure out how to join in. Go on, pay someone a compliment or give them an acknowledgement today.
Earlier this week I had the absolute pleasure of attending #innopints4 in Totnes. This was the first night off, and night out, I’d had in some time. During the evening I made a throw away comment to @phillirose about not being able to commit to meeting up on a particular day, because I wasn’t sure of my plans for the next while. Later on that evening when checking out how people had found it I noticed this tweet from @oerthepond
I was a bit confused, we were sat at the same table in the same pub and Kathryn hadn’t asked what I meant by the comment, but maybe the opportunity didn’t arise or she didn’t feel comfortable to. I read a certain incredulous tone in that tweet, maybe it was just the hmmm, maybe it was the question mark, maybe it wasn’t there at all, but I thought I’d use this post as an opportunity to explain further.
I can’t actually remember the last time I confidently planned something and didn’t allow a thought to flash into my mind that it might not happen for some reason. I can’t remember the last time I decided I would go away for a weekend or book a holiday or arrange a night out, without considering the consequences for other people if I had to bail at the last minute. My Dad has been living with cancer for four years and ten months now. He has been told he has months to live on five occasions, he has had a terminal diagnosis for the past couple of months and has been receiving palliative chemotherapy since April, the absolute last treatment they can give him to try and keep him alive, or dying well. This week his consultant agreed to continue his chemo for two more courses (6 weeks), his scan results suggest that it seems to be stopping his tumour from bleeding as much and none of them have got any larger, it also discovered a blood clot that they’d normally treat with warfarin but can’t given his other meds/blood loss they’ll just leave it and hope it doesn’t cause any problems. The hope is that he will live long enough to meet his second grandchild that my sister is expecting in six weeks. Knowing what my Dad is like with a target he may even manage that, I hope for him he does, but I wouldn’t be betting on it myself.
In an old post I tried to explain the cancer rollercoaster:
There are so many unknowns and so little certainty, the immediate reflection is that it can feel overwhelming at times. It’s like a constant faulty rollercoaster ride that you can’t get off, occasionally it slows, in fact sometimes it stops just long enough for you to feel rational/balanced/normal again then it’s like it flies off again, throwing any sense of equilibrium out the side of the ride with you…Then of course there is a continual, constant balancing act of making the right call around priorities in life. The hard thing about knowing someone you love is terminally ill is that it provides a lens of constant reflection, every decision (if you allow it) could take on a significance of monumental proportions. Well maybe I’m being a little dramatic, perhaps not every decision, cocopops or muesli for breakfast shouldn’t have a massive effect, but knowing whether to visit tonight or wait until tomorrow could.
Of late life has got even more complicated, my 94 year old grandfather is in hospital. Mogs has been ill, insignificant an issue you might think, but trust me trying to put ear drops in a cat single handedly, or being around regularly to give him five pills twice a day, alongside the five trips to the vet, has been a bit of a pressure. Work is work, which means it is invariably busy and there are never enough hours in the day. In addition to that Dad’s health is very up and down, he has had almost as many emergency admissions since he started palliative chemo as he has routine trips to get the chemo, he also still has to have regular blood transfusions and his picc line flushing.
The reality is that I do feel like most of the time I’m living on quicksand. It seems that the minute I take one step forward, something more happens that drags me down or back. I am beginning to feel exhausted with the uncertainty of life, and worse still I’m starting to feel it rubbing off on other people in my life, rarely in a helpful manner. It is incredibly debilitating not being able to plan or consider a future longer than a few hours away. The simple fact is that I can not plan more than one day at a time, sometimes more than a couple hours at a time – of course life isn’t that simple to live in such a way, so I’m left with one of two options, plan and risk the plan being disrupted, or don’t plan and don’t worry about letting anyone down. I find myself juggling those strategies all the time, at work, in my life, with friends, and certainly I don’t really feel like I have a life blueprint for anything past the immediate future.
What that means in a literal fashion is that I’m wary of making long term commitments, I’m increasingly wary of making short term commitments too. I’m meant to be at my OU Residential School next week and only booked my train tickets today – sacrificing affordable travel for the security of not booking tickets I then wouldn’t get to use. I have no holidays planned, although I have got a weekend planned in London in a couple weeks thanks to the awesomeness of FB who organised it, and I do have two days booked off work for one of my closest friend’s weddings in August. That said I’m sat looking at the hen night invite and toying with going or not – I don’t want to let them down, I don’t want to promise to go and then have to cancel at the last minute, that said it could be the dressing up as a flight attendant that is putting me off committing to that decision too!
Someone said to me today that you couldn’t make my life up at the moment, if you wrote it as a script for a soap opera you’d be told it was too dramatic and too unrealistic, no-one would believe it would happen like this. What that means of course is that when I make a commitment I have to trust that the people I’m making it with don’t mind if I cancel, or that they have an understanding of the pressure that I am (and by association some of the closest people to me are) under all the time. The great thing about #innopints is that @martinhowitt @carlhaggerty @fergusbisset @phillirose and @markbigsw are all such brilliantly generous and empathic people that while the last thing in the world I’d have wanted to do was cancel, I felt safe that they’d understand if I had to.
Support like that isn’t always easy to come by, this week they were my lifeline in the quicksand. Thank you lovely people.
Earlier on this evening I blogged about my fitbit, my favourite latest toy. There’s been quite a lot of chat in my twitterstream this weekend about being healthy and exercising, not sure whether it’s the cold dry weather, just that time of year, the promise of Spring, the hopeful shedding of our winter layer of extra blubber (oh no, that’s seals not humans), maybe it’s watching burly men in the six nations, maybe it’s just contagious human behaviour, whatever it is I’ve been enjoying all the positivity.
Last weekend I was chatting with Betty who was telling me of her two marathon plans for this year, two I tell you. She’s never run further than a 10k race before, although she does do triathlons. Running is her least favourite bit so she’s facing her least favourite head on. I left her house, having enjoyed her home baked banoffee pie, feeling suitably sluggish and suitably inspired.
This afternoon @amcunningham asked if I fancied the Cardiff Half this year. I ran my first, and only, half marathon in Cardiff the year before last. Anne Marie and Chris gave us dinner the night before and came to provide support on the day. I would have loved to return to Cardiff and ran the half this year but unfortunately the date doesn’t work for me this year. Anne Marie did get me thinking though.
Yesterday I went for my first run in far too long. I ran in memory of Sherry, you can read more about that here. I was just grateful I could run and each time my legs have ached today I’ve felt similarly glad that I can.
So, thanks to the twitter chat, thanks to writing down what I’ve know (and denied) for a while – exercise makes me happy, thanks to the inspiration of Betty, Anne Marie and Sherry, I’ve bitten the bullet and signed up for another Half Marathon in 4 months and 11 days. Given my first was in Cardiff (where I went to University and worked for a number of years), I figured I’d come closer to home, so Torbados it is, the English Riviera, Torbay Half. Bring it on.
(cc) Photo by Lawrie Cate
I got a fitbit for Christmas, it didn’t arrive until early January, but it was well worth the wait. I absolutely love it, in fact I think it’s one of the best pressies I’ve ever received…high praise indeed.
A what I hear you ask? What is it? Why is it so cool? And why does this post start with Jiminy Cricket?
Well the fitbit is a fancy pedometer, an activity tracker, my new found conscience and motivator all rolled into one. It’s not just a pedometer though, it counts steps and stairs (elevation) climbed, and calories burned. It also allows you to track your food consumption, weight and BMI. The fitbit works in conjunction with the website and an app if you wish to use that.
That’s not all though, it allows you to manage your data over time, so you can look back and identify trends. It also allows you to complete a journal, to measure your mood each day, and allergies if you suffer from those too. Even more excitingly, you can wear it on your wrist at night and track your sleep – telling you how long you sleep for, how long it takes you to fall asleep (or to lie still so the fitbit thinks you’re asleep), how often you wake in the night and judging your sleep efficiency. I love this aspect of the fitbit and it’s really helping with my challenge to myself to get more sleep this year. Here was my sleep on one night this weekend – I’m blaming a combination of Mogs and my partying neighbours for the interruptions, but it’s good to see proof.
The other thing I love about the fitbit is the trivia and the reward badges. Stairs are measured in fun terms eg 6 floors – you have climbed the Tallest Dinosaur, come on who wouldn’t want to measure the amount of floors climbed by dinosaurs, or pyramids, or buildings. I’ve included two sample days below:
In an attempt to convince you of how wonderful the fitbit data is I’ve included a day from a few weeks ago, when I was on holiday and out walking the Scottish hills. That said it is quite fun to challenge myself on days when I’m at work and less active, to see whether I can increase the flights of stairs I walk up each week (I’ve never been up and down to the photocopier as often as I have this year), or to see how many steps I can take. The other brilliant feature is that you can ‘friend’ people on fitbit and your data is compared on a weekly basis, which supports friendly rivalry.
My fitbit was a pressie so I didn’t spend £80 on it – that said I’d spend that tomorrow if I didn’t have one. In fact earlier today I thought I’d lost it (I eventually found it under my car – note to self, make sure it is clipped on properly) and would buy one in an instant. I’m not saying it would work for everyone, but it is definitely working for me. If you’re not sure go talk to the people at @fitbit and see if they can tempt you.
I’ve been delighted with the response to a tweet I sent this morning:
So far responses have included:
@paul_clarke - mobile/screen size adaptation
@Ermintrude2 - the reason I went is accessible and obvious. No auto video/audio!
@jaxrafferty - Important that a website is credible: whether selling socks, travel or research findings. Oh, & that it is not full of typos
@444blackcat - clear easy navigation
@copperbird - loading time, and how quickly can I find the info I want
@segelstrom – content
@amcunningham - most important to me is being able to figure out what it is about- access to simple messages
@missseapeaches – ease of use
I know I’ll not be on twitter for most of today so thought I’d create a blog post too so people could leave comments if they wanted to in more than 140 (because I know I’ll not be able to get into a discussion). I’ll copy further answers into here over the weekend. Thanks for all the answers.
At lunchtime today we had a meeting at work to discuss social media, with a particular focus on twitter. I met with a few colleagues in December and showed them how to use twitter, I wrote a post about it here and at the time asked people for their advice, which I had intended to write up in another post. Life took over and I never wrote the post, so today I asked the twittersphere some further questions (see above) and the responses are as follows.
What’s the point of twitter?
> What’s the point of talking? – @MartinHowitt
> What’s the point of talking, what’s the point of having a view and expressing it? – @Mikey3982
> Point of twitter, from the opinion of a young person:https://twitter.com/#!/DocNicola/status/162562761103114242 - via @JeremyPearson
What would you never do?
> Game follower numbers - @MartinHowitt
What twitter mistake do you most regret?
> Using the wrong account – @Phillirose
> Getting into pointless debates - @MartinHowitt
> Biggest twitter mistake was not getting something that was a joke and responding to it seriously @NursingTimes carving turkey! – @HelenHSAUK
What’s your favourite twitter success/outcome?
> Connecting with people over time, leading to mutual referrals over work/play – @phillirose
> Greeted last night at fab @jaimeelewis @HelenHSAUK #personalisation book launch as if everyone KNEW me! – @whoseshoes
> Meeting great tweeps offline. They know who they are - @MartinHowitt
> Almost all my current and ongoing work has it’s roots in a Twitter conversation. Weapon of choice! - @NatAltDesign
> Best twitter wins I have had are with solutions to ongoing technical failures. They need addressing, and publicly. Handy. – @zerosandones
So there you have it, the wisdom of the crowd. I’ve not got an awful lot to add, I’m shoulder to shoulder with everyone, especially Martin H, for me twitter is an opportunity to connect and chat – why not. I’ve met some amazing people, some I’ve not yet met in person, some I have, and I’m confident that many more are out there to connect with. If you’re new to twitter, don’t worry too much, jump in and see where it gets you.
You’ll notice that the successes and points of twitter far outnumber the mistakes and what not to do – so just have a go, we’re a friendly bunch.
Pick what you’re interested in…
- The sky in Torbados looking rather blue #devon instagram.com/p/ZdZXBxATbI/ tweeted 26 minutes ago
- @MartinHowitt foot or food - I'm struggling with my tweets to you today! Sorry fella. tweeted 3 hours ago
- @MartinHowitt not set food outside yet today - about to rectify that error :) tweeted 3 hours ago
- @Ermintrude2 fancy coffee? tweeted 3 hours ago
- georgejulian.co.uk/2013/05/18/pos… I wrote a blog post; collection of random thoughts re positivity, fundraising, crowdsourcing etc. Feedback welcome. tweeted 3 hours ago
- @lizith ah cool, hope they help in some way, I wasn't 100% pleased with them but anything better than nothing I guess :) good luck with it tweeted 6 hours ago
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