Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Giving up Twitter for Lent....

I gave up Twitter for Lent. 

What happened was as Lent approached, I realised I hadn't got a "vice" to give up - having done a (mostly) dry January I wasn't in the mood to give up booze, I don't smoke and I had done bread the year before, so wanted to try giving up something new.

I read an article which advised that it should be something that I would miss giving up and that I was worried about taking over or influencing other areas of my life. So I gave up Twitter....

A few people noticed initially and were shocked/surprised, and one friend said she'd give up Facebook and would see me on the other side - she didn't do Twitter that much. Now I'm not that much of a Facebook fan - it's too invasive, it encourages all sorts of validation seeking, people only put their "good side" up or worse, over-share. Some of these things happen on Twitter, but I think to a lesser extent, and also Twitter is very lightweight and it is easier to stop following someone than it is to "unfriend" them - with the implication you are being "unfriendly".

So, what were the results?

  • People missed me. This was really nice for my ego :) and also said I guess I must be doing something right with a mixture of sharing content I enjoy, comment on the news/politics and messing about with friends - both good friends and random people noticed they missed me
  • Lib Dem Spring Conference requires a bit more organisation, using Facebook to locate people and getting more phone numbers. This is OK, phone numbers are better communication than twitter I think - more direct. However it was apparent that some people do use Twitter as a primary communication medium - journalists especially.
  • My concentration span improved a lot and I got a LOT more done, in my personal life. I was able to concentrate on MY stuff, rather than pulled this way and that
  • I was able to "be in the present" more. 
  • I probably felt a bit less stressed. I'm calm in general, and fairly happy within myself, but it definitely stopped a lot of the "OMG" moments twitter can produce at times.
  • A lot of people told me that they "couldn't understand it" and "couldn't do it". This intrigued me - other things that I've given up, or given up for Lent, people have commented that they've tried, and failed, or tried, and suceeded - so it seemed odd to me that in this case it almost seemed like giving up breathing.
  • I still shared - just on Facebook, Google+ or by emailing/texting people. So giving up Twitter doesn't mean giving up sharing, and that in fact would be a very hard habit to break
  • Facebook annoys me just as much as ever and I've had to hide people, leave groups and turn off notifications as it's bleepy, bleepy (now literally!) ways actually invade my consciousness more than I want.  I can never do as some do and have push notifications on either Facebook or Twitter, but even the little "world" notifications on Facebook got turned off for all but my favourite groups - principally because I was spending more time there.  L'enfer, c'est les autres dans Facebook.....
  • I'm aware the last two points contradict themselves!
  • The last week has definitely been the hardest!
  • I've missed the cut-and-thrust of my friends (and strangers!) chatter, comment and want that back.
  • I've missed the immediacy of news, tho you aren't actually THAT far behind in the real world with news programmes, radio and email, there is a sense of "missing out" if you aren't on Twitter. 
Do I think I'll do anything different when I get back to Twitter (on Easter Sunday)? 

Well I hope I'll preserve the new organisational habits - Inbox Zero through using Mailbox, prioritizing everything, putting all notes in Evernote. I hope I'll read as much as I have been doing - I've read more books, more long articles from the likes of the Economist, and understood more difficult posts like this one from Fraser Nelson. I've kept up with my Top 2 - Stephen Tall and Dan Hodges through RSS feeds  - which means Netvibes (since Google decided to close Google Reader whilst I was gone). And I finally read Brideshead Revisited, and it was great! 

One thing is, I hope to have breaks in the future, and do recommend it as a "palate cleanser". But it is hard work.

If you've ever tried a Twitter break or want to, let me know in the comments.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Awaiting pronouncement on the scale of my blog....

Once again Stephen Tall gets to the heart of the issue

What is a small scale blog?

My 2p worth -

I can't say that it's not bothering me i.e. what I am allowed to write and when. I'd like to think I'm not likely to libel anyone with my thoughts on emotions in politics and related issues - but  I'm not sure of :

a) what the legislation actually means, 

b) whether I'm covered by it 

c) whether I need to sign up for a regulator

d) what rights I have to defend myself
 e) if a vengeful litigious person/organisation might have more rights than me

All said, this restricts both my typing fingers, and I would say the creative process. I continue to write for myself, but can't share it at the moment. 

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Relating the Preamble to #RockTheBoat

I've been impressed recently by my friend James Shaddock's grassroots campaign -  Rock the Boat - Lib Dems against Sexual Harassment. There are details on how to join the campaign at the bottom of this post.

Today I've been inspired by bloggers I admire (Alex Marsh, Caron Lindsay amongst others) responding to the challenge to write a blog on what Liberal Democrat values are. I think I'm a little late for the deadline to get maximum linkage, but still wanted to do it anyway. 

So, in time honoured Liberal Democrat activist fashion, I'd like to look at the preamble to the constitution. It is what we often refer to when we are thinking about what our values are, after all.

 It's on my mind as Julian Huppert wrote a thoughtful piece on LDV the other week, which inspired me to go back and look at it. Some people hold this up as a reason why we shouldn't do this or that policy, but as Jock Coats shows here, there could different interpretations of what different parts of the preamble mean.

I'd like to take the parts out that explain to me, why we should be standing against sexual harassment in our party, and not either dismissing or minimizing claims. I think it's time those of us who joined the Lib Dems for reasons about equality, dignity and fostering diversity, want this party to reflect our values, the values we joined the Liberal Democrats in support of.

Furthermore, if we want to encourage women to stand for selection, election and to help our party achieve it's aims in government, local government and opposition, we need to both support them and provide a safe place for them to achieve these aims.

I think investigating any claims properly and by having an independent body involved with this procedure is what I want to see in the party, and it's good that Tim Gordon, our Chief Executive has implemented these investigations. 

That I think is a commitment to these values and to this issue in particular.

So, to summarize - my view of what the values of the Lib Dems are about - liberty, equality, community and freedom from conformity, promoting diversity and dignity of the individual. 


If you're a Lib Dem, there are details on how to join the #rocktheboat campaign here: 

The Facebook group is here: and you can find the Twitter account at @LDrocktheboat