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Why we all need to talk to each other more

When news broke on Twitter yesterday morning about Gary Speed I found myself unusually upset about his tragic passing.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am completely clueless about football, don’t follow a particular team and can count on one hand the amount of football players I could name.

Yet the shocking news that a man, admired by his peers and an inspiration to thousands, couldn’t see another way out really affected me.

One of the things that stuck with me the most were the comments from his close friends.  Nobody knew that he was feeling this way, that he put on a brave face right up until his death.  It’s truly scary to think that someone so close to the edge can suffer so silently.  It could be anyone, it could be the person sat next to you on the bus, it could be a close friend or, quite simply, it could be you.

The rise of social media has to some extent replaced the need for a simple conversation.  Many people now see a ‘like’ on a certain status as an acceptable way of keeping in touch with people.  We’re all guilty of it to some extent – I certainly know I am – but by using social media as an excuse for a conversation, what are we missing?

Stan Collymore tweeted a very real and telling insight into his own struggle with depression yesterday morning.  While we of course don’t know if this is the reason for Gary’s passing it’s a stark view into this disease that affects thousands of people.

So if you only do one thing this week, pick up the phone and speak to a friend – ask them how they are and make sure everything is ok.  Because as this terrible incident has shown, even the strongest of people struggle sometimes.


Lady GaGa goes a bit goo goo…

I always thought celebrity spoofs were part of the norm – whether it’s a direct interpretation…

Or a slight variation…

But it seems that some celebrities consider themselves a brand in their own right and are taking steps to protect their image.  Most recently, Lady Gaga has taken out an injunction against children’s social network Moshi Monsters banning one of its characters Lady Goo Goo from performing songs on YouTube.

Many celebrities today are brands within their own rights, but it is acceptable to limit discussions around such ‘brands’ in this way? Is Moshi Monsters really posing a threat to Lady Gaga, or is she beginning to believe her own hype?

“You first” “No, you” “No, it’s fine, you go” “No, I insist”… and other socially awkward situations

Earlier this week I read Brendan Nelson’s article on the guardian, which looked at a game that many of us Londoners play on an almost daily basis – the seat acquisition game.

Brendan rightly points out that there are ‘underlying patterns that shape commuter behaviour’ – past experiences, things we’ve been taught from an early age.  I vividly remember crying my eyes out at the ripe old age of four when my mum made me stand up on a terrifyingly fast-moving bus* so that an elderly lady could sit down.  Oh the shame.

I think I’m overly aware of the ‘rules’ on public transport, and indeed in other areas of life.  And it’s this awareness that can lead to some quite frankly awkward social situations.  For example:

– The fat/pregnant debate – we will ALL fall foul of this at some point…

– The ‘elderly’ saga – at what age IS someone now classed as elderly? My colleague’s mum is in her early 60s, runs marathons like most of us would run errands and gets hugely offended when somebody offers her a seat on the train

– The ‘too polite for our own good’ dance – the to-ing and fro-ing of “you first” “no you” “no I insist” when trying to get through a door

– The ‘overfamiliarity’ complex – the point at which the lady in the gym, who up until now you’ve excahnged pleasantrys with on a frequent basis, finds it acceptable to take your relationship to the next stage and start drying his/her bits mid-conversation

We live our lives by so many rules, so I think I’ll start my own – take the lead, don’t stare and if in doubt, give up your seat and pretend you were getting off at the next stop anyway.



*It wasn’t moving THAT fast, I just think this was the first time I’d ever stood up on moving transport.  It’s quite freaky the first time you do it.

Record pre-orders for iPhone 4S – so were we a bit too harsh?

I read on The Telegraph earlier today Apple has received record pre-orders for the new iPhone 4S, with over 1 million preorders already logged.

Given the pretty lukewarm reception at the launch this is pretty surprising… no?  I think there are a few factors to consider here:

– Despite all the apple haters, the brand is still THE must-have accessory.  People are quite literally obsessed with everything they do – iDownload blog had a funny infographic last week that allows you to test just how much of an Apple fanboy/girl you are. This level of obsession always reminds me of my best friend Amy and her obsession with Kelly Jones of the Stereophonics, “he could burp ba-ba black sheep and I’d still think it was amazing”

– iPhone 4S is just the right amount of iPhone we need right now.  As ElectricPig’s James Holland wrote late post-Apple launch:

“Sometimes change for the sake of it is a bad thing. I can’t help but notice the iPod nano and iPod touch are similarly static in the design stakes, and while some will decry Apple’s lack of ‘innovation’ in the area, perhaps the old adage rings true: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. ”

I completely agree with him here.  So give Apple a break guys.  Why re-invent the wheel?

Timeline… sound familiar?

While I already have the new Facebook timeline profile thanks to the nifty developer hack (thanks Mashable) I have been wondering when the rest of the Facebook world were going to get on board so that we can see the full effect of the changes.

I had my question answered when I read yesterday on Paid Content that due to an impending court case from the digital scrapbook site the launch had been put back from its original date of 30th September.

Just a quick thought Mr Zuckerberg, typing your potential product name into Google will give you a pretty good idea of whether anyone else already has it…

A humble apology to Tim Cook

I’ve noticed a number of articles over the weekend, rescinding initial criticism of new Apple CEO Tim Cook.  Many journalists were critical of Cook’s debut, including the BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones who was particularly harsh in his assessment of Apple’s press conference on Tuesday.

So it’s humbling to see people like Rory taking stock and reviewing the comments, given the sad events that followed in the next few days.  It’s quite clear now that Cook and his colleagues were under a dark cloud, knowing that the company’s founder and industry visionary would unfortunately not live to see the success of his latest products.

Well done Rory, I have a great deal of respect for you because of this.

So, I gots me a blog…

What’s the first rule about blog club?  Don’t talk about blog club…

Actually it’s not, I don’t know what the hell it is.  I’m committing cardinal blog sin #1 and creating a blog without meaning or purpose.  It could go horribly wrong, or it could be alright.

Bear with me while I find out which outcome prevails…