Month: <span>October 2012</span>

It’s been a few days since I got home after the Technical Communications Conference this year, and I’ve been digesting and mulling over some of the ideas and thoughts gathered from the speakers and conversations.

The conference was in a new location, Newcastle, and that brought a different feel to the event. Hard to put my finger on it but it felt a little more business like, or maybe just a little less social? Not sure, and as ever my experience will be different from others.

Something that hasn’t changed was the value. It remains an excellent opportunity to learn from your peers, industry experts, and if nothing else it’s great to hear that we are doing the right things or just have the same problems as everyone else.

A few standout presentations from me, Leah Guren (whose workshop I attended on the Tuesday) kicked off the conference in great style. Passionate, funny, upbeat, everything that we can occasionally seem to lack in our profession here in the UK. Ray Gallon and Scott Abel backed that up with some excellent presentations that expanded the scope of what we can, and should, be doing.

It took me a while to realise it but the one thing I didn’t get this year was an overall theme. Not an official one, but typically there is one stream of thought that seems to be prevalent. I think the closest to that would be ‘Structure’ (as a strategy) and I wonder if, perhaps, that that particular stream of thought hasn’t yet hit a tipping point?

Still pondering that, and many other, things, one of which is that I really need to be blogging here more! Time will tell if I can stick to that.

I’m at a conference, having dinner with some of the attendees. I’ve met them before, know them well enough on a professional basis and talk turns to Twitter and Facebook.

Turns out the three of us are developing very similar relationships with Twitter and Facebook, namely that we now approach each service with a view on how much quality we will get from them.

Twitter is the easiest one to tackle. I have two Twitter accounts, a personal one which is useful (in a limited way) for keeping up to date with the goings-on of a mish-mash of friends and colleagues, and a professional one to which I push interesting articles but in which I don’t spend all that much time. It is becoming increasingly easy to avoid Twitter.

Why? Because it rarely offers me anything of deep quality. From time to time someone will say something I will follow up, or a link will be posted that leads to something interesting but most of the time, and this isn’t a bad thing just the nature of the beast, it is transient.

Facebook for me is slightly different, it is more focused on closer friends and family but fundamentally still has a similar transient feel. If I don’t check it for a couple of days I don’t feel like I’ve missed anything.

What we realised at dinner last night is that we all crave more from the time we use. Twitter and Facebook can suck hours from your day for scant reward. There is little nourishment there.

I mentioned that I’ve started looking to services such as LongReads and Byliner to get longer things to read, things which have substance and which, after reading, I feel like I’ve learned something or certainly spent an hour or so lost in something interesting. It’s also why I backed the Matter project on kickstarter.

Is it an age thing? As I get older, am I putting more emphasis on ‘me’ time and wanting that to be substantive and meaningful? Perhaps.

Or perhaps it’s just a kick back against the constant stream of information, the overloaded streams that flow into my computer, my phone, demanding my attention.

This blog, at one point, was called “Informationally Overloaded” and I think, these days, it’s becoming more and more true.

Personal Musings