Thesis writing, on-line communities and chasing rainbows

I’ve finally started work on my thesis.  I’m actually finding it so hard to get motivated that I’m thankful for this hideous weather in London.  It’s keeping me inside the house for much of the time when I would otherwise be doing lovely things in the city.  Or on a golf course…  Just mentioning that because last Monday morning alone saw over 4000 hits to this blog and I wondered if my new readers were attracted by my prominent golfing skills?  It was more hits than the previous high: Ann Summers week. Well whatever brought you here, thank you.

So anyway, this seems a good opportunity to talk about on-line communities:  friends in cyberspace!  Most people don’t consider themselves to be part of an Internet community, but if you’re reading this, we can safely say that you are.  I guess you know most of your Facebook friends in real life, and LinkedIn contacts are usually people we’ve met or want to meet.  But this is not always the case, and there is nothing freakish about connecting with people on-line to grow your business, gain knowledge and skills or simply have fun.  I’ve been a fan of Facebook for many years, on both business and personal levels.  This is what I love the most:

  • chatting with friends and family abroad in the middle of a starry night (including my crazy newly-found-through-Facebook cousins in San Diego and Vegas – by the way boys, my first class airline ticket hasn’t arrived yet);
  • playing games (yes, yes, again: Naked Scrabble Buddy really does exist – and no, I won’t describe his profile pic); and
  • laughing at Deedub’s daily nonsense.

NSB looks something like this, apparently...

I connect with new people on LinkedIn almost every day; sometimes we’ve met, sometimes we haven’t.  And, as I advise my social media clients, I join in group discussions and contribute ideas and suggestions to various forums.  Then of course you know I chat on Twitter, and engage with my followers whenever I can.  But the most useful community by far this year has been an Open University Facebook group, set up by someone called Melinda who looks a bit like me.  I think she’s based in Australia. Really, without this group to keep me amused, inspired and encouraged, I would probably have given up the degree.  After all, a Masters in Education won’t make even a tiny bit of difference to my work; it’s simply a goal I set myself after my BSc in Socio-linguistics, and the light’s there now, shining brightly at the end of the tunnel.  I’m so close, so very close. I just want to confirm one thing… when I get there, it had bloody better be party lights – with a big bottle of sparkling pink wine, balloons and a cake!!

Thesis aside, this week will be interspersed with fun, especially Thursday.  Someone I met at Wednesday’s Biscotti casino event has invited me up to his office on the 37th floor to look for rainbows – I can’t wait!  You’re probably thinking I’m going to sign off now with ‘Where is the silver lining shining at the rainbow’s end?’  Wrong!  As much as I love Elkie, those lyrics are too negative for a Monday when I need to stay positive enough to complete a transitivity analysis.  So for all the princes who didn’t get kissed on National Kissing Day, and some who did: ‘Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection – the lovers, the dreamers and me.’

Oli took this - summer 2011 in the Baltics


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