I’m talking to some Year 12 pupils on Monday and I’m thinking of using this as my main point: the world is your oyster – it’s down to you. But the number one most important thing in your life is to make the right friends.
I’m live blogging Thinking Digital’s early morning coffee with Chi Onwurah (left) – the Labour MP for Newcastle currently leading the Digital Government Review. The session is chaired by Dr Joanna Berry (right), Director of Engagement at Newcastle University Business School. We’re about to start – please keep refreshing the page for updates. [And please also note: the conversation is paraphrased not direct verbatim].
7.50am: Thinking Digital founder Herb Kim kicks off: thank you everyone for coming despite the rain and early start, and possibly a few beverages after lunch yesterday [...] Let me start by introducing Dr Joanna Berry, director of Engagement at Newcastle business school. Great to welcome her on stage for the first time. Continue reading →
As you may well know, I’m not a developer. I don’t even come near being one. But Mint CEO Cameron Price told me about Github a few years ago, and I’m interested in the way it works as a remote platform for its community: it’s a flexible working thing, and that all feeds into my interest in how technology enables us to work differently, the way we want to (see the Beach with Wifi blog for some examples). Continue reading →
I’ve got a soft spot for Spain. I lived there for two years. The language is easy, the food’s great, the sun (nearly) always shines and the people are friendly. They’ve also got a healthy attitude to work, with the siesta (aka three hour lunch break) still common in the middle of the day.
So maybe it’s no surprise that call centres in Spain have a better reputation than ours when it comes to customer service. Cheer and good humour? The Spanish do it naturally (unlike in the UK where training seems to be needed). Local cultural nuances are important in customer services – especially now that social tools are increasingly being employed. Continue reading →
Big thanks to Alison McClintock and Sunday Publishing for asking me to write a piece on kids using social media for Vodafone Digital Parenting – my article’s on p.9 of the latest edition (download full PDF). There’s loads of other useful stuff covering everything from online bullying and stranger danger to interviews with Jamal Edwards and six digital media moguls under the age of 21. So, this guide is inspirational and practical at the same time. If you’ve any friends worried about the effects of digital media on their kids (and mainstream media does its best to hype up the issue), please help spread the word and pass this link on.
So BrewDog, the craft beer brewery, has responded to latest criticism from the Portman Group in typical form: “I would like to issue a formal apology to the Portman Group for not giving a shit about today’s ruling”, said James Watt, BrewDog’s co-founder. “Indeed, we are sorry for never giving a shit about anything the Portman Group has to say.”
A couple of weeks ago I got nominated for a Liebster Award. Cue fireworks – although the picture above has nothing at all to do with me receiving the Liebster Award; it’s just a nice one I found going back through my Flickr – which is a good thing to do as a starting point if you ever get asked to list random facts about yourself.
I just got back from two amazing days at Google Campus – training to be a #Techmums trainer.
In case you haven’t heard or read about it yet, #Techmums is a new initiative from Dr Sue Black (the mum of 4, computer scientist and self-proclaimed “cheeky geek” who’s become a bit of a household name after saving Bletchley Park from demolition a couple of years ago).
Sue wanted to do something to help change the image of computer science in the UK, and she decided to start with mums – because they’re key to children’s safe and savvy use of technology, but all too often know little about computing.
To deliver the programme – which consists of five x two hour modules taught over five weeks – at schools around Greater London and beyond, Techmums has recruited a new team of trainers: this week’s training course was the first opportunity for us all to get together. Continue reading →
Thanks so much to the fabulous Events Northern for nominating me for a Liebster Award. The Liebster award is a peer-to-peer award passed around the blogging community. And there’s nothing like a bit of appreciation from your peers – Events Northern, you rock!
Here’s how the Liebster Award works:
Thank the person that nominated you and link back to their blog - Display the award “badge” on your blog - Answer the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you - List 11 random facts about yourself - Nominate up to 11 bloggers and let them know you have nominated them - Set 11 questions for the bloggers you have nominated - Post a comment on the blog post of the person that nominated you so they can read the post
So, first off, here are my answers to Events Northern’s questions:
1. When and why did you start blogging? I started blogging in 2005 when I was commissioned to write Monkeys with Typewriters. The thought of writing 80,000 words terrified me so I had the idea of interviewing people and writing up each one in a blog post. The blog posts became the first draft of my book. Continue reading →
A policeman took my name and address last Wednesday – my dog was barking at his horse, and I was on the phone. Usually I avoid calls when I’m walking the dog, precisely because you can’t concentrate on two things at once, but this was a work-related call, and I’d been trying to get hold of the person concerned, and I just thought I’d take two minutes “out” to deal with it.
So I was sat on a bench, engrossed in my call. I didn’t notice the crowd that had gathered round my formerly “cute” dog. An old lady, a couple of mums with buggies, a few toddlers and children – and the policeman on his horse. My small dog was in the middle, terrified – barking blue murder at the lot of them.
A few years ago I saw a woman in a business suit crossing a tricky road while talking loudly on the phone. She had two small children with her, on scooters – also trying to cross the road. The combination of work + busy road + toddlers wasn’t good – but then she probably didn’t plan it that way.
We have the technology to work where we like – and that flexibility makes work a lot easier. But work and the “real” world don’t necessarily mix – all too often, unconsciously, we rely on strangers to look out for us.
After a while, my policeman softened. There’s been an increase in complaints about the behaviour of dogs in this area, he said – and a lot of dog owners are constantly on their phones. The situation is “out of control”, he said. He seemed genuinely despairing.
As businesses downsize and remote working becomes the norm, who’s really picking up the tab?