We may already have our answer to the future of Twitter

Thanks to @CommCats for pointing me in the direction of a post from HR blogger @HRManNZ[1] on the decline of social media and blogging.

Some choice questions:

  • Have we reached a saturation point where every element of HR has now been battered, blogged and tweeted into submission?
  • Are our attention spans now so short we can’t read anything more than a one paragraph summary without passing judgement and moving on?
  • Is there simply too much out there that it’s getting harder and harder to find the quality and the different perspective?
  • Are there too many other ways of getting messages out there now?
  • Has the move to accessing everything online via phone made it harder to really take things in?
  • Are people consuming their learning in different ways?
  • Or, are we just consumed by group think and boring each other senseless?

and an interesting reflection:

Perhaps there is just too much noise and it’s just time for a little more quiet reflection in the HR and business world rather than trying harder to shout above it.

This is right in line with a consistent thread of thought here – see, for example, Whither Twitter(?) and No News is Good. This way of thinking has lead to my trying to blog, read and watch films more and tweet less in 2016 and numerous Twitter breaks over the last two years.

What I think is most interesting, though, is that HRManNZ‘s thoughts are related to a specific area of expertise (i.e. HR). Part of me had been thinking the issues of social media and blogging had been general ones, but his post alerts me to the fact that the problems actually apply just as much – if not more – to specific areas (in my case, that’s primarily social care, health and public service reform, where there is indeed a weekly avalanche of ‘content’).

We can all ponder the question of the future of Twitter and the like. If you’re already personally feeling like you’re not enjoying it much and are looking around for different ways to be, to reflect and to be in touch with interesting people, we may already have our answer.

[1] – A man called Rich W who also enjoys cricket. He must be right!


More books, blogging, films; less tweeting

sand clock
Image: (c) Zeek_ on Flickr

As I’ve said before, social media and the vast majority of mainstream media is a sink on people’s time. Whilst I’ve done a pretty good job over the last 18 months of reducing my news consumption (see how and why), I’ve done much less well on social media, specifically Twitter (I’ve done ok reducing Facebook usage).

It’s a new year, though, so what the heck: let’s give a resolution of sorts a go.

Thus, I’m aiming to use Twitter considerably less over the coming weeks and months. Instead, I’m going to do four things:

  1. Continue to read books (mainly non-fiction). You can see what I’m reading on my Libib library
  2. Do the vast majority of my reading through RSS feeds (Feedly is my reader of choice – remember the good old days of Google Reader?)
  3. Capture what I’m reading and occasional reflections using Pinboard  – with links reflected on this site, too. (Remember the good old days of Delicious?)
  4. Finally, I aim to blog more regularly. A few posts will be original writing; most is likely to be reflections, comparisons and capturing themes of the stuff I’ve read above.

I’ll still tweet a bit – probably directing folks to the four things above (plus films I’m watching), but will be trying to limit the time spent on Twitter considerably. To help along the way, I’ve deleted the Twitter app from my phone – let’s see if that helps.

Happy 2016!

Man walks into a column, no.48: Meditative

As I reach the end of my 2011 blog-a-week-marathon, these posts are becoming as short as the days, and ‘weekly’ only in the sense of always being a week late.

Real life has a habit of rudely intruding upon the pleasurable pastime of blogging, and my offline world has been particularly rude in the last couple of weeks. Which is pretty much all the excuse I need to make my 48th post about mindfulness.

I blogged ages ago about my discovery – initially hesitant – of mindfulness meditation; and despite lapsing out of a regular schedule (just as with the blogging) I consistently find myself returning to mindfulness during particularly busy periods. It is, I have found, a jolly effective safety net.

And so it was with the usual sense of satisfaction I feel when I chance upon an article that brings together two things I’m interested in that I noticed a tweeted link to this post about why bloggers should meditate, by Irish-born London-based author Orna Ross (Orna’s blog is here).

It’s not entirely clear whether when Orna writes about meditation that she is referring to mindfulness meditation (there are several approaches), but I should imagine that the points hold. As well as opening up creative space and fostering insight, meditation can – on a more practical note – free blogging-blockages, help us to care less about potential criticism of what we write, and improve concentration.

Intuitively, these things make sense, or did to me at least, and I would love to think that I could, in the weeks to come, test them out. The challenge, as always, is finding the time. Because meditation rightly takes time. And so does blogging. Bugger!

There’s a risk of becoming evangelical about something that, like mindfulness, works really well for you: it isn’t necessarily right for everyone, and in any case I’m sure that the act of exploring/discovering it for oneself is part of the key to making it stick. But if you are interested in finding out more, The Mindfulness Manifesto is an absolutely excellent place to start.

On blogging in 2011

I’ve recorded an audioboo on what you can expect from this blog in 2011. Click below to listen.


2010: A year in blogging

As the year reaches an end, I thought I’d crunch the numbers on blogging here on arbitrary constant.

Over the course of the year, there were 579 posts (average of 48 per month). The busiest month was May (due to the General Election) and the quietest was February (because it’s a short month).

In January the site averaged 455 visits per day, rising to 1,102 visits per day by December 2010, averaging 755 visits per day across the year.

Comments were generally quiet on the site – for example, there were 76 in total from 1 September to 29 December.

In terms of content, the top 10 entries were as follows (excluding the index page, which received 9,298 page views):

  1. The Budget and DLA: initial reactions – 8,098 page views
  2. Cuts to disability benefits already being planned? – 2,210 page views
  3. Poverty, worklessness… and DLA? – 1,858 page views
  4. DLA reform consultation: Great Expectations, Worst Apprehensions – 1,316 page views
  5. Independent Living Fund essentially closed for business – 707 page views
  6. Paul Corrigan on the Health White Paper – 670 page views
  7. Patient voice in the Health White Paper – 624 page views
  8. Osborne: Welfare cheats are “like burglars” – 601 page views
  9. Independent Living Fund (ILF) to close – 508 page views
  10. Redistributing my tax rebate: £621.97 up for grabs – 499 page views

I have to admit to some pleasure at this, since nearly all of the above are original content based on areas of expertise we have here at arbitrary constant, namely disability and equality. They are also all posts that considerable effort went into, rather than posts that were done to keep the numbers up (of which, I’m afraid to say, there were a few).

Honorable mentions should also go to my two blogging compadres, Phil and Stef. Phil has done a brilliant job bringing some much needed erudition, arts and intelligence to the blog (I’ve hugely enjoyed his contributions to the YouTune series); whilst Stef, though sporadic, has brought true panache and thinking in his posts that others don’t reach. I hope they’ll continue in 2011.

For me, I’ve been thinking a lot about blogging, partly in light of the information gleaned above. I will post something further about how my approach will change and the content I’ll be focusing on in 2011 in a separate post early in the New Year.

In the meantime, thanks to everyone who has read and contributed to arbitrary constant, either here or on Twitter. I can safely say it’s been the best year of online engagement and discussion I’ve ever had, and it wouldn’t have been the same without you.