Thoughts from a business technology advocate. Not necessarily coherent.

Author Archive

Now on

Just so you know, and are kept up to speed on these things, all my posts about technology will now be on It’s not like you and I have fallen out or anything, but realistically, more people will read it there and clearly I need to feed the narcissism :)  Be grateful: there are a whole heap of other authors on there giving our their opinions.

This site will, in due course, be about me and giving you info about how you can reach me or see what I’m up to.

Thanks for reading to date – and keep checking in here for bits and pieces.


Plug me in and watch me go

I promise I’m not leaving your for, but I’m contributing in more than one place you know – we need to have a less exclusive relationship.

So, take a look at another blog post I wrote for TSG:

TSG is entering a team into Trekfest in July.  I am part of that team.  Why?  I’m not exactly sure; I volunteered without thinking about it, and that’s probably a good thing.  Now I have to get some training in to ensure TeamTSG finishes in a great position – not that I’m competitive or anything.

I’ve been using a fitness app on my smartphone to monitor my step rate, my training routes and heart rate.  The data, captured by my smart phone, is synced and stored automatically against my account in the Cloud.  That means I can analyse the data and review my progress later on my laptop.

Read more at:

Stop, Yammer Time

I recently blogged for TSG’s CTO blog, (the puns get even better!)

New applications technology has often struggled to find its real use (particularly business technology).  Usually, there has to be a need/benefit combination to justify the purchase of a licence or subscription so that someone in the IT team can go and make the necessary purchase.

However in business, apps, like so many of their consumer counterparts, are starting to find their way into organisations via the back door.

Take Yammer, recently acquired by Microsoft and who placed it within the Office department.  Yammer now features in the latest service release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Office 365.

But what is it?  And more importantly how do businesses use it to their benefit?

To continue reading, click here. – New Crowd Sourcing Site

G2 Crowd logo






It started with an In Mail via LinkedIn from a very nice lady called Molly O’Hare telling me all about their new website,

Saw this discussion in the Sage CRM group, and seems like you have a lot of knowledge to share about CRM. My company is building a site for users to review business technology products and share their experiences with different solutions and vendors. Our idea is that with unbiased feedback from real users, buyers will be more empowered to make the right decisions for their business needs.

Well, I’m a sucker for flattery and the Irish (OK, so Molly is from the US, but was there ever a more Irish name?  Perhaps Niamh O’Mahoney, but this is missing the point) so I took a look at the website to see what it was all about.  Importantly, Molly asked for my feedback on the site, so my intention was to check it out and give my honest opinion.

Connected through LinkedIn

Some people do not like to sign up to everything using their LinkedIn or Facebook profile.  I happen to be one of those people.  I just don’t want people taking a look at stuff I consider personal, or necessarily have access to that type of information.  I want to be in control of that, so to be forced to use LinkedIn without an alternative sign up option irks me.  I understand that responses are probably easier to validate if there is a reputation behind them, and you can leave contributions anonymously if you wish, but in principle, I wish there was an alternative option.

Listed Products

Searching for products to review is a piece of cake: simply click on Products and either search or browse for the product you wish to critique.  Recognising the logo is the intuitive way to identify those products you are able to review.  Helpfully, there are banners where there are incentives to review, such as being the first to review, or a reward for doing so.  My favourite here is the the Reviews Wanted option.  This makes it simple to just navigate to a product that the site wants to increase (or start) reviews for, and allows you to start doing so straight away.


Why does my dictionary not yet recognise this word?  It’s becoming de rigeur for all websites, (even some applications,) to gamify their content to encourage usage.  I love it as a concept and, truthfully, it motivated me to conduct more reviews for the site.  There are various points awarded for certain types of action:

Attributed Review +15 points
Anonymous Review +10 points
Validated Review +20 points
Features Review +5 points
Peer marks you as helpful +3 points
Peer marks you as unhelpful -1 point
Rating +1 point
Comment +2 points
Refer a Friend +15 points

There are more points – just check the website for details.  Clearly you should get a greater number of points for actually reviewing a product than merely rating it; after all, someone has made the effort to add their thoughts and ideas to the site.  I also agree that a validated review (where you can upload a screenshot to prove you use the system) should carry more.  However, I could make up a load of reviews based on what I find on the net, so for me, the validated reviews should carry greater weight and be rewarded with more points.  Similarly, it is easy to just rate products based on a loose opinion.  I have certain views about SAP because I work for a company that does not provide it and may consider it ‘the enemy’ (incidentally, they don’t necessarily, I’m arguing the point).

Contests are provided to encourage users of the site to offer up more reviews and contribute to discussions.  I decided that I would go for the CRM Contributor contest as this is clearly the area I know most about.  It soon seemed to me that it would be very difficult to win the top prize of an iPad Mini for being in the top 5 contributor charts for this category (only points gained within this category would count towards the contest).  Plus, I was concerned that the only way you could get to be a top 5 contributor was to be an industry specialist, which seemed contrary to the type of person I thought G2 Crowd were after to review products (i.e. independently).  I contacted Matt Gorniak, Co-Founder of G2 Crowd, who then helped explain their ideas on how this would be possible.  Essentially, striking up a dialogue with other users was a good way to gain points.  This I did.  It was certainly true that my score improved.  However, and the types of comments I saw from other ‘competitors’ seemed to demonstrate this, there ensues a very broken dialogue consisting of questions that sometimes pose little relevance to the original review, or are just ‘I agree’.  Each one of these gains valuable points. Sure, there is the option to mark comments as unhelpful, but I suspect no one wished to do that whilst the top 5 were clearly moving further away from the other competitors.  In essence, the nature of the reward I think encouraged certain behaviours.

Disclosure: I was lucky enough to stay in the Top 5 and am grateful to have received my iPad Mini as a result.  Each review I made was based on my real experiences with the product and a number of my reviews were validated with proof of my usage.  Did I ever add a comment to get the points?  Yes, I did.  Did everyone else?  Definitely.

Interestingly, since winning my prize, the criteria for winning an iPad Mini has been raised and this seems sensible to me.  As with all ‘beta’ sites (as that it what it still states on the website) tweaks will be made to ensure the site runs smoothly and, of course, the more users there are, the easier it will become to gain valid reviews from a broader range of people.


I enjoyed participating in the site and intend to continue to do so.  There are other crowd-sourcing sites around, and there are similarities and differences between them all.  Gamification is here to stay so the awarding of points is a suitable incentive.  Prizes need to be awarded for quality as well as quantity.  What is very encouraging is the interaction with the site’s founders and administrators.  They seem to me to be genuinely interested in feedback, so why not give it a go – you must have an opinion.  Obviously I’d like you to use my referral code so I get the points!



Review: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Customization & Configuration (MB2-866) Certification Guide by Neil Benson

This book is one of a series by Packt Publishing that covers various elements of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 product. For anyone working with this application, you will know the importance of gaining the approved accreditations required to make you credible (and potentially more valuable to both your employer and your CRM team). This text by Neil Benson, a well respected Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Person) in the CRM community, aims to provide the reader with everything he/she needs to pass the Customization & Configuration (MB2-866) exam.

It doesn’t disappoint. Chapters are logical and flow well in terms of one’s learning, taking you through the simpler topics first allowing you to build up your skill level and experience as you go. Where there is more than one option to choose from in terms of method or approach, Benson provides details of these without passing judgement on which you should choose – that’s up to you the consultant to decide. Anyone who has ever read a Microsoft learning manual will be familiar with the format, even though this is not a Microsoft publication. This ensures that you can essentially skip the part where it defines how to read the book – you know it already. Screen shots and best practices are discussed and there are plenty of tests or tasks to practice before taking the exam. An important aide to anyone taking it.

Here’s a disclosure: I know Neil and have known him for a number of years within the CRM community.  He is extremely knowledgeable about CRM and this knowledge really does come through in the text.  If you also know Neil, you will appreciate he has a great sense of humour; of I had one criticism of the book, it would be that I feel this doesn’t come across strongly enough – text books can often be dull and, whilst this one is certainly not dull, getting more of Neil’s personality within the book would add to it and make it an even lighter read.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Customization & Configuration (MB2-866) Certification Guide by Neil Benson can be purchased here.

The page on the Packt Publishing site can be accessed here.

Script Error or Missing Ribbons

There have been a number of reported script errors or missing ribbons on the Case, Product, or Service Appointment entities recently.

Microsoft  has identified that this issue occurs because Form Assistant is enabled but not expanded by default for entities. Here are the steps to resolve this issue:

  1. Open the form within System Customization
  2. Click the Form Properties button.
  3. Click the Display tab.
  4. Check if the Enable Form Assistant field option is selected but Expanded by Default is not selected

MSCRM Script Error

If the options appear as shown above, try enabling the Expanded by Default option and publish customizations.  If the Form Assistant is not needed, it can also be disabled as another workaround.

More information you can find on the following KB article:

New Year’s Resolutions – 2012 Review & 2013 Goals

Last year, I posted about what I would try to do in 2012.  Importantly, I stated that these were not ‘resolutions’ but goals to be achieved during the year.  Suddenly I had eleven goals which looked very much like resolutions.  Semantics, perhaps, but the question is: did I actually achieve any of them?  Let’s look.

In no particular order:

  1. Switch off from work more when I’m not at it - Successful most of the time.  I had a particularly stressful period where it felt like I did nothing but work
  2. Do more cultural things with the kids – Visited a museum once or twice, but wish I had done more
  3. See an orchestra perform - Fail
  4. Go to the Olympics - Big time success here.  Not only did I go to the Olympics, but I went to the 100m Men’s Final!
  5. Motivate my team more - I suppose I can’t really answer that, but I tried
  6. Use my iPad more for business – Generally, yes, but since playing with a Surface some weeks ago, have struggled to love my iPad
  7. Tweet more about technology on my BizPaul account, less about banal stuff on my other account  – Yes, definitely achieved this one.  Thanks to everyone who retweeted or linked to the blog.
  8. Learn more about CRM on tablet devices (Sage CRM for Tablet, CWR Mobility etc.) - Can’t say this went anywhere in 2012.  It will be interesting to see what happens in 2013 with Microsoft’s offering, whenever it arrives!
  9. Blog more frequently – Nope, overall, I suppose it was okay, but no posts since October is pretty poor
  10. Exercise more frequently - Epic fail
  11. Eat cheese less frequently - Would have been fine until Christmas when I ate my own body weight in the stuff

So, what do I do now?  About 50% success rate on last year’s goal.  I can’t be happy with that.  Let’s get more realistic for 2013.  Here’s what I hope to be able to achieve:

  1. Learn a different technology, just to beginners standard.  It is likely I will choose either Microsoft SharePoint or Microsoft NAV, although I could be persuaded to try something different.
  2. Use LinkedIn more as a social media tool
  3. Get a Klout score of 60+ (I know it doesn’t really matter, but why not try?)
  4. Pass an exam of some kind
  5. Read The CRM Field Guide in full
  6. Read more fiction
  7. Make weekends for the children

I genuinely don’t know whether these are realistic or not, but what 2012 has taught me most is this: I love what I do for a living.  I couldn’t be happier playing with new technology and discovering how business solutions can be developed to fix real problems, but I do that so I can provide my wonderful family with a great life and, if it all went horribly wrong in the tech world, I’d still have that wonderful family.

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,200 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

iOS6: Why I don’t like it so much


So much has been said about iOS6 and how bad the maps are.  I dislike the maps too and, to get a really detailed analysis on why it’s so rubbish, read this article by a mapping expert.  However, I’m no Apple expert, but as a user who likes to think of himself as reasonably tech-savvy, and someone who embraces technological change, I just find the introduction of iOS6 a bit, well, irritating.

I should state that I updated an iPhone 4 from iOS5.1 to iOS6.  I’m sorry I’m not one of those people who camp out at an Apple store, hoping to get a free Starbucks Latte whilst I wait for the next product release, but I use my phone all the time for a variety of things and, as Apple have allowed the phone be updated, the iOS6 experience can equally apply to me.

Upgrade Process
This was insanely easy once I’d removed a few hundred photographs taking up the necessary space required for the upgrade.

Introduction of the Passbook
I love the idea of this, but with only Lufthansa offering the service, it’s a bit of a let down.  They should have just waited until you can actually use it.

App Store
I can cope with the redesign.  I actually prefer to enter a password the first time I select something to be updated.  It stops those little people with little trigger-happy fingers updating my apps without me knowing (I realise my child control mechanism is my issue to resolve; I’m just saying the old way of doing things suited my situation).

Data on 3G
For some reason, I can no longer collect email or connect to the internet via 3G.  Various people have suggested contacting my network provider, but why should I have to?

It seems sluggish to me.  Perhaps I have too much on my iPhone already, although I’ve seen many friends with many more apps on theirs.  Maybe I don’t have enough space.  It could be that the model is too old – but in that case, why not withhold it from older models?

I think I’m going to roll back to iOS5.1 if I don’t see an improvement soon.  There are little things I do like – for example, I like the way the title bar(?) changes colour to match the relevant app.  And I genuinely love the Do Not Disturb feature.  I just don’t feel there’s enough for me to be an advocate of the OS and it’s made a pleasurable experience less pleasurable.

BYOD – Post by Microsoft

I was pointed to this post by Microsoft’s TechNet on the BYOD ‘trend’ as they put it.  It gives some stats on how organisations feel about it.

Yammer, Yammer, Yammer

The clue’s in the name.  Know what your colleagues are doing.  Don’t bother actually talking to them, that would be, like, sooo 90s.  Praise them by writing a post (actually, this bit is really good).  Ask a question by setting up a poll.  You know how to use it already – let’s face it, you use Facebook.

But what is the purpose of Yammer?  Is it really useful in the workplace?  What’s going to happen now it’s part of Microsoft’s Office division?

These are all questions I’ve posed since using the service, about a month ago.  Once rumours spread of an acquisition by Microsoft, I thought I’d check the service out.  A few of my followers on on Twitter said they used it internally and found it very good.  Setting up an account is easy; it recognised my domain name and automatically added me to the network of my employer.  There were a couple of other people within our organisation with accounts but there was no activity – so someone must have looked at it and left it at that.

Yammer suggested that I invite a few of my colleagues, which I did, with the express instruction that we were just trying it out, and that there was no guarantee that it would be used within the business (but that the usual ‘professionalism’ must still apply, just in case).  Within days it had gone viral.  From a small gathering of people within the CRM team, there are now in excess of 10% of the company on it, setting up groups like ‘SharePoint’, ‘Technology’, ‘Support Team’ etc.  Some senior Execs have also signed up, although I’m not sure they know what they’re in for.

Why this surge in uptake?  I suppose it’s because it does look like Facebook.  People are used to posting items, so all they have to do now is transfer the login from home to office.

I genuinely believe that the unity of a team derives from excellent communication.  I can’t subscribe to an electronic replacement of getting people together, congratulating them where appropriate and working through problems as one when we have difficulties.  However, I also recognise how difficult it is to create this when people are hundreds of miles away in different offices.  One thing that Yammer seems to do well is allow you to ‘touch base’ (overly-used business phraseology).  Our internal SharePoint site has something similar, as does CRM but, and this is perhaps the crux of why Microsoft have purchased Yammer, neither SharePoint nor CRM seems to  have made the social process easy for the end user.  It seems a shoe-in that Yammer will be fully integrated with SharePoint and CRM (indeed the two products are closer than ever these days) and, whilst they state the current vision is to run the Yammer product as part of the next version of the Office productivity suite, with the current use of social media and hype around social CRM, it will be integrated sooner rather than later.

Missing Person – Update

I’m sorry to have to report that it looks like Chris Aubrey, the guy featured in my Missing Persons and Social Media post has been found dead.

There were a lot of people looking for him, whether online or physically.  My heart goes out to his devastated family.

Technology Glitches – We’ve All Been There

Every organisation suffers from glitches in their technology.  Perhaps not all so much in the limelight as NatWest has this week.  Unfortunately for NatWest/RBS, the banks are not exactly everyone’s favourite institutions right now and this, I feel, is clouding everyone’s judgement on how NatWest has responded.

Sure, people have had payments not been processed and, yes, this will have left people in difficult positions.  But I am a NatWest customer and, although I don’t seem to have suffered adversely by their glitch, I have had text messages from NatWest apologising and explaining the situation.  They have proactively advised me of what their next steps are and, of course, they’ve opened most, if not all, of their retail branches on a Sunday to help customers.

I really don’t know what else they are supposed to do.  I say ‘well done’ NatWest for trying your best to minimise the disruption and keep your customers informed.

Missing Persons and Social Media

It’s clear I’m into all this social media malarky (regardless of whether I am actually successful at it).  I’ve been sceptical about many tweets/posts about child cancer ‘victims’ whose only desire is to become a trending topic (firstly, surely their top desire is to become better/live as full a life as is still possible whilst they can; secondly, do they really understand what a trending topic is?).  However, this weekend, I have had a slightly closer connection to a use of social media to generate news of an appeal.

Chris Aubrey (AKA ‘Licken’) has been missing from Hinckley, Leicestershire since the early hours of Friday.  At this point in time (14.30 Sunday 24 June 2012) he has yet to be found.  Therefore, just in the hope of assisting, here’s what he looks like:

Chris Aubrey - Missing

I don’t know Chris, but a Facebook friend of mine posted that he was missing and I witnessed him becoming increasingly frantic as time marched on.  I could then see people share this information.  Someone then posted it to Twitter, it was picked up by a local journalist at BBC Leicester and it was retweeted.  A Facebook event has been set up to organise the search party and updates have been posted to it.  It’s now made it to more local media outlets.

None of this guarantees that Chris will be found, but arguably, the use of social media has helped get the story into the local news, and raise awareness – critical when finding a missing person.  Posting where people have searched is an innovative way of ‘crossing off’ a list of possible areas to look.

Whilst I still won’t retweet just to fulfil someone’s bucket list, I do now believe that passing on the electronic version of a leaflet can be a positive action when many people are starting to despair.

Please feel free to share this post or the official Leicestershire Constabulary link.

BYOD to Take Off Soon?

I’ve read a few articles recently about bringing your own device (BYOD) to the workplace and it seems to crop up in various conversations in our office.  It’s certainly an interesting talking point and one which, over time, will generate plenty of discussion between people in different roles within an organisation.

From what I’ve observed, the points raised by people are essentially this:

General Office Worker – it’s the company’s responsibility to provide equipment and look after it.

Senior Manager – as long as I can connect my iPad to the network and get various pieces of information, I’m happy.

Technical Role-based Worker – if the company gives me a rise in salary to cover it (or a suitably high enough spec), I’d much rather choose the devices I work with.  I’m happy to put some of my own funds towards getting even higher spec equipment if this means I can work faster/better.  I’m more capable of looking after my device than our IT team so I just need the right security clearance.

IT Manager – I’m glad I don’t have to look after the equipment, but the security issue is a big problem.  Having so many different types of device puts too much pressure on the IT team.  I don’t want people using applications that they have installed for their personal use connected to my network.

It does seem as though most workers I speak to (in the techie world don’t forget) are in favour of BYOD, but that their respective IT teams are not.  The IT managers seem protective of their network (not unwisely) and will have to shift, psychologically as well as practically, if BYOD were to be successful within their organisation.  I suspect that BYOD will creep in as more people use tablet and mobile devices to access organisational data.  As more and more business applications move to either public or private cloud-based hosting models (see Office365 as a good example), I suspect there will simply be less need for the device to be owned by the business; to me, that seems like a huge positive.

Living Without Broadband

I moved house recently and, being the organised individual I am, arranged for my phone and internet services to be transferred so that they would be ready and active on the day I moved in.  The phone line was no problem at all, Virgin Media got this up and running with BT Openreach by the time we were given the keys to our new home.

Not so ye olde interweb.

Despite my prearranging, no router was sent ready for the day, nor the next, nor for the next 20 days.  It turned out that the router hadn’t even been ordered, the line hadn’t been activated and, between BT and Virgin Media, no one could tell me what was happening, nor had they the wherewithal to talk to each other and work out a plan to get broadband to me.

However, if you follow me on Twitter, you will have already been bored senseless by my incessant moaning about the situation at the time.  Interestingly, I had many replies from @VirginMedia themselves with helpful, but ultimately fruitless, suggestions.

Anyway, I digress.  The point is, that during those three weeks without broadband, my wife (web-savvy netmum, photography entrepreneur that she is) and I lived with just our iPhones as ways of connecting to the web.  Suddenly we realised what we couldn’t do.  Here are some examples:

  1. Check bank balances (important for the house move)
  2. Change some address details (where it had to be done online)
  3. Shop online (uber convenient when you have kids)
  4. Watch CBeebies on demand (if you have kids you will understand, if you have ever tried to move house with kids, you will REALLY understand)
  5. Check which school our four year old had been admitted to (why did we move at such a stupid time?)

There are more, but they seem trivial and, of course, you can actually do most things without having the internet.

For me, it demonstrated how much we live in the digital age; how we take it for granted, and how one seems bereft of normal life without the immediate response of a service.  Having gone through it, I believe it’s ridiculous, shallow, grotesque even, when there are so many in the world unable to obtain essential services, such as clean water.  I need to find a way to balance my demands, get a reality check on them.  Services will continue to move to web use and I will continue to move with them but, if it was new year at this point I’d make this my new year’s resolution: that I will try and view the internet as a necessary, but not essential, part of life.

Microsoft Excites Me

There was a time, not so long ago, when it just wasn’t cool to be ‘a PC’.  The iPhone was released and, yes, it revolutionised the mobile phone market.  Let’s face it, even Microsoft’s alliance with Nokia and the Lumia 800/900 is still no match.  The iPad still dominates the tablet market and there is simply not going to be an end to the launch day queues any time soon.

But I notice something going on at Microsoft, emphasised by a visit made this week to their UK campus at Thames Valley Park.

A couple of Stormtroopers were casually walking round the building (as is the norm one assumes) for the launch of some Star Wars game for Xbox 360 with Kinect.  Kinect, now there’s a fantastic idea, and I don’t even own one.  I was told of a method of using Kinect to walk through a warehouse process in an ERP system, and how such technology could be possibly used for CRM processes in a similar manner.


That was my mind actually exploding.

I love the Metro style.  Apple is sleek and unmistakably cool, end of story.  But I like the simplicity of Metro and the concept is radical enough, given it’s just an extension of touch concepts.  They’re still playing catch up but the gap is narrowing.

Perhaps the thing I like the most lately about Microsoft, is it’s willingness to show us concepts.  Microsoft Research gives us snippets and toys to play with.  We get ‘consumer previews’ (betas) and options to feedback.  I don’t doubt for a moment that we don’t get to see anything near to the real top-secret cutting edge stuff, but all we get from Apple is secret, hype and, lately, let downs (see iPhone 4S for reference).

I am a PC, and always will be.  At least I can be a bit more open about it.


Oh no, it’s happened again.  I’ve found a website to slightly obsess about, and it involves everything I said I would be against in terms of social media. connects to your social networks, uses algorithms to determine what you talk about, who you follow, what you acknowledge by way of retweet, share or +1, and then make you become absolutely obsessed about how you can increase your score.

Like most sites connected in some way to social media, I registered pretty early on and subsequently decided it was rubbish, that I didn’t get it and certainly didn’t see the point.  Then, using Hootsuite, whenever I looked at someone’s profile, I would see someone’s Klout score and it quickly became a way of comparing myself to others.

I don’t know whether, subconsciously, this is all one-man-upship; you know, ‘I’ve got more influence than you’ or, dare I even say, a tinge of the ‘please follow back’ syndrome I so detest when looking at begging tweets to celebrities.  I’m no psychologist but it must be connected to that.

Klout Score

My Klout score as of today

From what I can gather, the more networks you allow Klout to connect to, and the more followers/friends/connections you have in those, and how active you are, the higher your Klout score is likely to be.  Fairly straightforward to increase your score then, and very one-dimensional.  However, when you delve deeper into how your content reflects your approach, it all seems rather clever.

I'm quite sociable you know

It reminds me of the Gartner quadrant and, let’s face it, how obsessed do people become about that?  I’ve looked at Klout every day recently, and it has influenced (slightly) how I tweet: I have probably tweeted slightly more, and engaged with people more than I would usually, so in that sense, it’s been motivating and forced me to use social media the way I wanted to.  So, I’ll keep looking at Klout so as to ensure I continue to engage with people, but I’ll try to remember, it’s not the only measure of how successful one is. Until then, please give me a +K :)

UPDATE: Check out this article by Josh Constine who references Brian Solis on what it all means

Twitter Break – What Did I Learn?

After a week totally off Twitter, I returned to find out what, if anything, I had learnt from the break.

Well, the best thing I established was that it was actually quite easy not to look at Twitter.  As I had deleted the account from my iPhone, there was not the temptation just to look.  To be fair, mealtimes became slightly more sociable and I didn’t look at it ‘one last time’ before lights out at night.  I paid more attention to the TV when I was watching it.

But none of this changed my life.  I didn’t have an epiphany about how bad a father I was before the break, or suddenly find out my wife was having an affair because I was addicted to Twitter.

What I did learn, however, was that it was the device that is the key reason I spend so much time online.  It is simply too easy to look something up.  Last Monday, my wife and I were watching the BBC’s The Diamond Queen; a statistic came up which I wanted to challenge so I looked it up on Wikipedia.  How is this any different to looking at Twitter?  It’s not.  So, I can only conclude that is the device that has become the problem, not Twitter.

Twitter Break – Day Four

Are you not bored of this now?  I am.

I haven’t looked at Twitter since Sunday night, I haven’t missed it, and I’ve proved to myself that I don’t need it – the way I would pick up the phone to look at it was habitual.

I’m going to leave the personal Twitter account, keep the BizPaul account and focus on the professional use of the information I collect from it.

I promise my next post here will be slightly less dull.

Twitter Break – Day Three

Aaargh!  Ironically, I have had a greater number of retweets or mentions since my Twitter Break started than I do usually.  What to do, what to do?

Do I just go on and read those and get straight back off it?  Help!

Generally, not missing Twitter, although I was dying to see if anyone else noticed the evil, smug Eamonn in last night’s MasterChef as he stole the best ingredients, causing the highly charged Aki to completely lose it.  Nevermind.

Twitter Break – Day Two

Well, it’s really proving quite easy to not look at Twitter all the time.  Let’s face it, had I have spent last night looking at it, my wife would not have been a happy Valentine’s bunny.

She and I actually discussed the Twitter break last night (she was unaware of it – why is she not reading my blog?!).  We agreed it would be much more difficult if there was big breaking news – Twitter’s so good for this.  Fortunately (unfortunately, obviously), Whitney Houston died at a weekend.

Twitter Break – Day One

I’m so out of touch with social media I actually forgot to meet my promise of updating you on my Twitter break.

So far, so good.  Deleting the account from my phone was the best move.  I’ve found being without Twitter quite easy to date.  I haven’t been tempted to sneak a peek once, although I looked at Facebook last night – is that like a heroin addict taking methadone?

It’s not that serious.


Twitter Break

This week I’m on a Twitter break; a concept first brought to me by Grace Dent in her book How to Leave Twitter.

I’ve suspected for a while that the frequency that I read my Twitter feed has been slightly unhealthy.  Whilst I make the occasional tweet from my BizPaul account, I have a personal account that I use to read various pieces of salacious gossip and X Factor updates on, and it’s this that I seem to be somewhat addicted to reading.

I’m sure it says something about my personality, but I’ve had a few comments from the wife (she who tweeted through labour) which I recognise I should act upon.  But it was a comment from a team member whilst on a train back from a client’s that did it in the end.  He said ‘You use your phone a lot’ – and I hadn’t just finished a call either.

So, the Twitter break started last night before bed.  One last read before I deleted my account from my phone.  I don’t have time to use Twitter a lot at work so I don’t think that will be a problem.  Each day this week, I will blog how I’m ‘coping’ and see if it makes any difference at all.  Each post will be publicised on Twitter, so don’t think I’m cheating!


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