Rambles, rants and raves

A lot of opinions spilling out of my brain

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A longer lifespan for newspapers

Everything is going online, yes we know, we’ve all read the articles and heard lots of people tell us. Paper is dead. People want things immediately and they want them in easy access. Yay for the internet and the kindle and the ability to access everything we will ever need from one small portable device. The gravestones have already been carved for books and newspapers. But it is way too early, in my opinion, to be deciding on what hymns to sing at the funeral.

Books and newspapers are in different classes obviously. A newspaper is a little like a coffee and a book is a lot like the mug it’s held in. A book is more of an investment than a newspaper which means their survival will be different. People are predicting that newspapers will be dead in five years and that people will access all their media online. This is selling newspapers short, trying to put my bias aside, people enjoy having something tangible to read especially when they are around computer screens all day.

Accessing newspapers online and on phones and tablets is easier and faster but sometimes people like to enjoy their news. They like the chance to properly see things designed on the page. The amount of people buying newspapers may be falling but that is because competition is tighter and that newspapers, right now, are not offering enough material to successfully compete with their online counterparts.

There is a lot more freedom with online media and for the people in the industry this is very exciting. A news article that can contain a video as well as links to other news articles within the publication, and other publications means that news can expand in a way that a paper-based publication can’t. However, this does not mean that a newspaper is dead. It just means it may not be the focus anymore but an extension.

Removing the newspaper entirely, especially if it is popular or the only one in a particular region, is missing a trick. It’s a little like removing the root of a tree just because it’s fully grown and producing fruit.

The newspaper will never be as popular as it was. As society evolves and taps its back for doing so, it believes that it doesn’t need things that were once important to an older time. This, however, doesn’t make the newspaper obsolete. There are still enough people buying and reading newspapers that advertisers will continue to be interested in newspapers. Although there is money, a lot of money, in online publications there are too many adverts and distractions online. A paper is far more targeted, people spend much more time reading a page than a website. It is a different frame of mind which means a more focused audience and thus a consistent ability for advertisers to target an audience and for newspapers to fund the publication for their readers.

Instead of removing newspapers completely, it should become an extension of the online resource, even if it is not the main focus. There is a lot of room for creativity in both the online and paper-based forms, it would make more sense to keep both types of media and target a larger audience. There are still people who do not have easy access to the internet. There are still people who prefer a newspaper to reading something on a mobile phone (even if it has been adapted to the screen).

Newspapers still have life in them and still have potential. If newspapers do die earlier than they should (especially within the pessimistic five year predictions that I have heard) then it is because those in the media, who have the power have chosen to embrace online with both hands and ignore the paper copy of a newspaper. It will be at the fault of editors and advertisers who assume that just because something has an upgrade, the original is no longer valid.


Feeling like an epic caveman. From a spoilt technological person.

I spent the weekend at the boy’s new house. He’s got an extra year left of university due to science degrees not being able to squeeze everything into three years. He moved into this lovely new house on Thursday and I arrived on Friday. There was no internet, I didn’t even get to say goodbye to Google, YouTube and WordPress properly.

I love technology and I hate to say it, but I’m kind of a little bit addicted to the internet. When I realised, halfway through my drive, that there would be no internet I let out a little yelp of fear. The last time I had no internet was not only a pain in the arse but it was also a testing time. My imagination was required to think way and above only writing. I had to find a way of entertaining myself without counting how many strands make up a carpet. Scary right?

The weekend was amazing. Incredible in fact. Mainly because I spent it with the boy but the biggest revelation is that I didn’t miss the internet. Not even once. I didn’t miss any of it at all. I didn’t miss the crazy amount of useless information thrown before my eyes. I didn’t miss the easiness of the distraction and I didn’t miss how anti-social it could make me in the real world.

The boy and I watched films, talked, went out, played games and just enjoyed each other’s company. We weren’t bored once, we didn’t need to be online or watching stupid videos on the internet to be able to have fun.

The problem with technology and the internet nowadays is that we are allowed to have the attention span of goldfishes. We’re given the thumbs up for looking at a hundred things at once, and not looking at the details or reading the words that go alongside the images. It sounds stupid, but not having the internet meant that the distraction was removed. It meant the choice was taken away and it was no big deal. It didn’t make any difference to my life, it actually improved it in some ways.

The internet makes everything easier but it shouldn’t crowd every part of our lives. It shouldn’t be so important that at any spare moment we’re logging onto something online. The internet just adds to that excuse we give ourselves of being consistently busy even when we spend time browsing when we could be using that time productively.

I had the best weekend and I wasn’t glued to the world wide web. I was having fun, connecting and catching up with the person I love. I used my time to do something useful, my attention was always in the place I was in and the person I was with. As silly as it sounds the time I fully invested, I got back a million times over.

So although I’m glad I have the internet back now that I’ve returned home and I’m very happy to be blogging again, this weekend reminded me how unimportant the internet is. This weekend will be remembered as the best weekend ever and it has nothing to do with consistently browsing the world wide web.

As dramatic as it sounds, as I was driving up to a weekend of no internet, I was imagining myself as a bit of a caveman. Instead I lived fully in the moment without the distractions of the consistently buzzing internet. And for one weekend at least, I loved it.

The internet wasn’t even missed. And that is from a spoilt technological type person.

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Tweet Tweet

I am been very tempted to get Twitter for almost three months now. I’ve always come up with an excuse why I shouldn’t get Twitter. Either I’m busy with work and deadlines; I have nothing of any particular interest to say on an already saturated domain; I wouldn’t know what to write about; I have a blog. These are all valid excuses, but they are just that: excuses. Sometimes 140 characters can say things that 700 words can’t. Sometimes an image says it even better. But a blog can cover both these things. Twitter is more a marketing tool than a social media site.

If you want to stay in contact with your friends then 140 characters is plenty for a text. Twitter is more a medium for stalking your celebrity idols than anything else. I’m starting to sound critical, I’m not. I do think Twitter is great for people on the go. It’s easy to read, a little harder to write (people underestimate the talent of writing little and meaning a lot) and great at being able to start a debate. But Twitter, to me, is more a trigger than anything else. It is a beginning to something better. Maybe an idea, an article, an argument, a book, a blog – something. A tweet, unless uninteresting, would require that you go and look somewhere else for more opinions.

An opinion constructed in 140 characters or less may be a very well written one. It still needs more, especially if it is something of interest. A tweet is like a starter; to get anything more you need to go elsewhere. Tweets therefore need to be good, they need to be able to make people want to continue hearing your opinion even though they’re not able to hear a well balanced article, debate or comment.

I think this is my real concern with Twitter, it just seems a little superficial. It doesn’t seem to be about connecting with people or putting forward a great debate (which could be made in 140 characters or less if you’re a genius writer). Twitter seems to be more of a clever marketing ploy to make you feel as if you’re closer to someone you admire or a brand you like. It’s just a way of a company tallying up its viewers and creating more statistics for people in suits to tell other people in suits about their ‘reach’.

I’m still on the fence about the whole Twitter world. I’ve worked on Twitter in professional terms and I can see its benefits. On a personal level however: I don’t think I’ll be tweeting just yet.

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Isn’t it ironic?

So I finally get internet on the second day of the second month of 2012. Halleluiah! Then I get so busy, my diary has numerous appointments, meetings and reminders written on top of each other as there is no room on the page. Which is funny because then I can’t read anything and end up sobbing in the corner in a hopeless panic that there’s so much to do, I may as well do nothing.

I then get so many tasks; so much work and a load of crappy circumstances mean that I literally have no time to write for fun. Not due to having no internet but due to having no spare time. It’s ironic really considering I’ve been waiting for the privilege of having the internet at home so I’d have time, then I have no time even though the privilege has been bestowed upon me (for a fee!)

A light bulb moment occurred on the day that lovely man with the power to get me online came to my house. I was in a lecture and suddenly my brain started screaming at me all these great titles and fantastic ideas for blog posts and articles and just general writing for fun. I wrote them all down speedily, while still trying to listen to my lecturer chatter excitedly about human’s linguistic rights (surprisingly, it’s even more interesting than I thought it may be).

I wrote everything down, all these ideas. Ideas, themes, images, themes, concepts: everything all onto a little folded piece of A4 paper. And today I finally managed to give myself a little time to write. I was extremely productive all day. Productive to the point where I was having an out of body experience and my ghost was tired for me.

I’ve finally come home through the dangerous ice and snow (I feel a rant on the dangers of ice and the inability for the council to really do much coming – but that can be for another day). I am exhausted, I want to rest, I’m hungry and all I want to do is be a little selfish and do some writing for me.

What happens? I sit on the sofa and my laptop breaks. It won’t switch on. Fantastic. I then go to get my inspired from the heavens notes with ideas, titles and whatever. And lo and behold it’s missing. Must have left it in the office. Or somewhere where I have been working today. Great.  So I have no laptop (thank God my boyfriend doesn’t mind sharing) and no brilliant ideas on what to write. My mind is too tired to think of anything itself.

Ironic really. The one time I get a little time to write and I don’t know what to write or have my own laptop to write it on. Maybe it’s a sign. But I’m a determined and persistent fool hence this post.

Hopefully they’ll grow in quality and topic as soon as I’ve rested my little rainbow coloured brain and my anti-exercise body. May your tomorrow not be filled with as much irony as my today has been.

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A naughty post at work!

I am quickly typing this while at work when I should be doing other things. I could not resist the lure of wordpress and I feel bad for neglecting the blog I love so much. My heart is currently beating so loud, hard and fast that I am afraid the whole office can hear it; and soon it will jump straight out of my chest and flee, the panic of me doing something wrong is so overwhelming that my heart cannot take it.

I am starting to sweat and I’m pretty sure I did not put enough deodrant on to be able to sustain not smelling badly due to these nervous sweats (the worst kind). My punctuation and grammar have gone out of the window but through fear of being caught blogging I must try my hardest to ignore the shooting synapses yelling at me to add a full stop and include a comma!

My chest is now tight from the tension of it all. The office is quiet apart from my ever increasing speedy typing. I am scared someone suspects that I am not doing work. I work in an open plan office so there is no hiding any wrong doing. I keep looking over my shoulder in an obvious manner but I can’t stop. My head hurts from me turning around so often and my shoulders ache from being raised high in my bid to cover the screen with as much of my body as possible.

I hear footsteps. Please God don’t let it be my boss. I have actually stopped breathing…it wasn’t my boss phew. I let out a massive sigh and disguise it (pretty well I think) as a cough. I can’t take this suspense and nerves that come from me blogging instead of working. It’s too tense. My chest hurts, I’ve just twisted my neck muscles with my attempts at being an owl and doing a 360 to monitor my surroundings.

When I am able to spare a moment to find access to the internet on campus I will hopefully give you a lovely post and an apology, as soon as I can. The internet man comes on the 2nd, so in about two weeks. Normal blogging will resume then.

This tension, fear and nervousness has made me feel drained. I am defintely not made to do wrong. Blogging is defintely worth it though…


Still no internet…

It’s amazing what you can do when you don’t have the internet. It’s marvellous to find out you don’t actually miss IT, just the convenience it brings you when needing to complete university work.

I forgot what it was like to have time; I forgot what it was like to sit in silence without hearing the buzz or drone of my laptop being forever switched on. I now only turn on my laptop to do work or something along those lines, it’s a whole new world for me. I have been without internet for about four days, five by the time I get to post this tomorrow morning when I trek onto campus. Want to know what’s crazy? I don’t feel deprived. I almost, wait for it, like it.

I have more time to sit and chill, I am not checking Facebook, Pinterest or Tumblr all the time (I’m a fan of all now, an ashamed and hateful fan of Facebook, I should add, but pathetically still a fan).  I am preparing my coursework, work and paper schedules WAY early. Why? Because I can. Because I figure once the internet arrives, this calm state of bliss, organised mind and ability to spend my time doing useful things may come to an end. It makes me a little sad.

I am preparing, like those charming pessimists, for the worst though, which is reverting back to my once internet addicted state. Hence my preparation at organising my work and starting everything early; this second term at university is always an extremely busy one and with the distraction of the internet, things take that little longer to get started. (Thankfully, once I’m on a roll with work, nothing can stop me. Not even the internet, like those cheeses they roll down hills somewhere in England. I would tell you the correct name and form it into some kind of joke but I have no internet to Google it).

So I’m writing this the night before I’m posting it, after reading a chapter of my book and about to read some more. Tomorrow morning I’ll be heading onto campus to do some work and will make the most out of the internet the university provides and put this post up on wordpress, do a little research and send some emails that need to be sent. I can already tell you that I won’t check anything out on Facebook, Pinterest or Tumblr like I would normally. I’ll check my emails, grab a few references for books I need and then I’ll head on home.

Geez, this no internet thing has really changed me.

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No internet? Nooooo!!!

Less than 48 hours ago I was told the very horrible news that every person raised around the internet will cry at. “There have been problems installing your internet. Next time we can do it will be in just over two weeks time”

I may have to put this warning sign outside my front door just in case some understanding person can make miracles happen and get me internet quickly

My heart fell out my butt, no internet for eighteen days (I counted). That, for me, is torture of the modern, first world kind. As a university student the internet to me is as important as, well, breathing. I use ebooks when the ridiculous low stocked library doesn’t have the books I need for an essay. I stay in contact with my family for free using Skype. I search and apply for jobs, work experience and everything else. I update my blog. Without realising it, I live on the internet for most of the time.

It’s an addiction that is pushed onto all of us, you have to have email now. Some shops are only online, special discounts exist for online customers. Everything is going digital: shopping, banking, communicating, discounts, bookings, to watch things, everything. It’s a positive in many ways; it means that less paper is used, which means less excuses for cutting down trees. (Now only if we could get the ridiculously high birth rate down…)

No internet is stupid though, it inconvenient more than anything. I’m fully aware I sound spoilt but I rely on this damn network of lots of high-flying data connecting millions and thousands of these computer contractions together. It helps me not go insane from not talking to my family, it means I can lose myself looking at beautiful blogs, it means I can pass my degree!

When I first heard the news, I felt a little horrified. No internet at home means I’ll have to walk half an hour for the nearest internet connection, it means having to be super organised about what work I will do while on campus and only come home to sleep and have some dinner. It’s exhausting but it’s doable. The more time I have had to think about the no internet thing the more a mixture of feelings seem to reside in me.

The initial feelings are despair and panic, you know when they consume you like a wave? And you have to scream, run in a circle or just bury yourself into something highly distracting to get the feeling to subdue. The other feelings after this wave, is anger. It grows slowly, rumbling in the pit of my stomach like a hungry growl and I get mad and I rant about how stupid Sky is to let their customers down like this blah, blah, blah. Anyone in any close proximity just needs to agree every now and again until the next set of feelings come to me. Then comes false hope, I pretend it’s all okay and that actually it’ll be good not to have the internet and all the distractions it will bring. I say all this in a very high-pitched, slightly hysterical voice so that I look like I’m just looking over the edge at insanity. Finally when my brain settles a little, I believe my mumblings and rantings and tranquillity and a good dose of realism comes over me.

It will be wonderful, I will be in a beautiful student flat with the boy. All the cupboards in the kitchen will belong to me (and him obviously). I can sing as loud as I want and dance around the whole house in my underwear and it won’t even matter. I can burp and fart and be my true piggy self without anyone wanting to send me to a farm. I don’t need the internet for any of that. I will get to spend some time with the boy without the intrusion of Facebook and Twitter and YouTube and everything else the internet brings with it. I will have more time to read. It’ll be stressful sometimes but fundamentally, it’ll be fine.

Maybe this whole internet thing won’t be such a bad thing. Maybe just maybe, after those terribly long eighteen days have passed I won’t rely so heavily on the internet. I won’t use it just for having something to do.

Taking all that into consideration I am considering having an internet party on the day it arrives. The celebration would consist of me, Google and a bottle of wine!