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Random musings Posts

So long and thanks for all the…cheese

I’ve been working in central government, in various guises, for ten and a half years. It’s been quite a decade. I don’t tend to talk or write much about what I do. But today, I’ve sat down and made myself go through that career. It’s entailed: 8 roles 8 departments 3 general elections 5 administrations Tens of millions of pounds of budget managed Delivery of over 40 digital projects/services I’ve edited an multi-award winning staff magazine. Developed and operated the first cross government online community using an open source platform. I delivered same day payday loans iterations of G-cloud and…

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The road to freedom: reflections on 6 months as a freelancer

I was reading Paul Sutton’s reflections on being freelance for a month and nodding vigorously. I started to write a comment and realised it was morphing into a post on it’s own. So, here are my reflections on having been freelance for almost 6 months. Freedom The sense of freedom is still strong at this point. It’s really hard to describe this feeling. Even when working a contract role which required me being in an office on a daily basis, I still had that sense of freedom. I have no boss putting expectations on me (though my own expectations as my…

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2015 reading challenge

For the past two years, I’ve undertaken a Goodreads’ Reading Challenge for the year. I failed in 2013, reading just 41 out of 52 books. I set the same goal for 2014, and succeeded! I was helped along the way with some graphic novel collections alternated with some epically long novels. So for 2015 I wanted to try something a little different. I’ve come up with the idea of still reading 52 books in 52 weeks, I know it is doable – especially with plenty of holidays planned for the year. So of my 52 books for 2015, 12 of…

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Remembering: World War I family history

There were four brothers: Arthur (my grandfather), Benjamin, Geoffrey and Albert. All born in Preston near Faversham, in a very poor working class family. Interestingly, having lived all over the world, I myself now live in Faversham where all this started. I know small two up/two down they lived in. I never met any of these men, but they have all had a profound effect on my life. Over the years, my father has written down parts of his family history. He is one of the only ones left now. This is what I know of his family’s history and…

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It’s time for a new challenge

I’ve had a fantastic time working for dxw over the last year, but the time has come for me to move on to new challenges. I’ll be leaving dxw at the end of August. I’ve been privileged to work on over 20 great projects in the last year. A few that really stand out in my mind include the National Planning Guidance Policy Framework. From ministerial level down, everyone on the project was completely bought into agile, user needs & testing, from the very beginning. The site is now on its second iteration and providing important planning information in a digital-first way.…

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My year in books


At the beginning of 2013 I joined Goodreads and joined their reading challenge. Initially I got a bit carried away and signed up to read 100 books in 52 weeks. Once I sat down and did the maths, I realised that I’d have to quit my job and live off fresh air if I was going to reach that target.

I soon snapped back to reality and set myself a slightly more realistic target of 52 books in 52 weeks, one a week. I got close, but fell short of the mark.

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JFDI: How to run an unconference

I seem to have been talking about this topic a lot in recent weeks.

At CommsCamp13 and UKGovCamp13 I ran sessions with the lovely Simon Whitehouse on this topic.

I’ve been getting lots of questions and requests for a sort of how-to guide.

And hearing a lot of people saying things like ‘I wish there was an unconference on x’, ‘I didnt’ get a ticket to x event’. And I firmly believe the response to this is ‘okay, so organise your own.’ And Dave Briggs says so too.

Housing Camp was launched just days after CommsCamp.

So, go on. What’s stopping you?

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There IS a future for digital comms teams

I took part in on a great session at #ukgc13 run by Julia Chandler on the future of digital comms teams. Julia has also written up some notes from her session and there is a link to her full notes there too.

This subject seems to be coming up a lot lately in conversations and others have been blogging on the subject – see Dan Slee’s excellent post on this topic.

Many people are suggesting that digital comms specialists and teams will disappear in (soonest) two years or five years or ten years.

I’ll set my stall out now. I think this is a load of crap. The same question can be asked of comms teams in general. And I don’t see those going anywhere. Ever.

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*Updated to slightly reframe post…* I’m awake far too early on a Sunday morning but have just been involved in a really interesting Twitter conversation about the correct use of MTs and giving attribution on Twitter this morning. That and other recent tweets grumbling (rightly) about a few things, I thought I’d jot down this quick list of 10 Twitter annoyances I have. I don’t write this as a general rant/moan, but with a genuine desire to want to help people engage better via Twitter (and other social media channels) auto-tweeting only from so-called personal account. Robo-person! Chances are we…

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