When enough is enough

Last Wednesday, I was horrified to read a mother’s plea for advice upon learning that her daughter had been bullied. As I read her Facebook post, she described that nasty phone calls had escalated into an incident where her daughter had been followed home from school by two girls from another school. She had been subjected to a barrage of obscenities and comments that to film it all ‘would be funny’.  Her daughter’s threats to call the police made no difference and it wasn’t until a woman jogging by intervened that she fled home and revealed all to her mother.

I felt inspired by the way this Facebook conversation developed. Many reached out with words of support and some with experience of handling this – parents and teachers – offered practical advice about what to do next. To date it sounds like positive steps have been taken in partnership with the school. But it was shocking to read. And all the more so given the date of the post.

Wednesday was 8th March. International Women’s Day.

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Re-engaging

I’ve been a bit of a slacker since moving to the new giddayfromtheuk.com site at the start of this year. Being a less busy year on the travelling-for-work front, I had anticipated a renewed burst of blogging but my frequency has dropped to fortnightly and I seem to have lost that flow of seeing things that inspire me and then tap-tap-tapping away to get my thoughts out into the blogosphere.

Is it because I am not inspired or have nothing to say?

Not likely.

I got a bit of a boost this week when I attended a master class called Secrets of Successful Blogging. Touted as talking about professional blogging ie. making money from it all, at first I wasn’t sure what I would get out of it as I’ve been a bit reticent to plaster ads all over my baby blog. But on the night all three bloggers talked about the writing opportunities that had come from their blogging exploits and that’s something that really interests me.

I also think that having a little digital savvy could set me apart from others in my field (marketing strategy and innovation) from a professional point of view. The people I work with are generally not on Twitter and when I mention that I write a blog, I’m met with a mix of fascination and curiosity, plenty of questions and a few requests for a link to read it so continuing to build ‘muscle’ in this area can only be a good thing.

Aside from the inspiration of getting back into posting weekly that I was hoping for, I learnt a few ‘technical’ things that have inspired me to get moving again – here are my first two.

1. Use Instagram

Given I am always taking photos of things and posting them on my personal newsfeed on Facebook, this seemed an easy addition to make. I’ve had a bit of a go this week and I must say it’s been pretty painless to post something each day. It also means that with just one share, I can be on three social media channels: Instagram, Twitter – both as GiddayfromtheUK – and Facebook. This was my opening gambit…

View over the Thames at sunrise from Whitehall Gardens

View over the Thames at sunrise from Whitehall Gardens

And today I was inspired to post closer to home…

Inspired by this splash of gorgeous Autumn colour against the red bricks in my street.

Inspired by this splash of gorgeous Autumn colour against the red brick houses in my street

And there was a literary foray and some wise words from the local florist on the way.

Having a Kindle, I don't see book covers all that often but this one was so fabulous I actually bought a book!

Having a Kindle, I don’t see book covers all that often but this one was so fabulous I actually bought a book!

Needless to say I love flowers...

Needless to say I love flowers…

I just have to remember to start with Instagram and share from there…old habits die hard you know.

2. Transfer my old site posts across to the new website.

*groan*

I have heard some absolute horror stories about doing this so had gotten around this (so I thought) by back linking to posts on Gidday from the UK’s old blogger site. But some advice from @eatlikeagirl Niamh Shields on the benefits of using all of that past content for up-ping my Google presence has convinced me that I should take my whole 5+ years of witterings and get them over here.

The better news is that apparently for a reasonable price I can get someone to do it for me…

*relief*

So stay tuned peeps., thanks for your patience during my ‘spotty’ phase and if anyone has any good advice on blogging, technical or otherwise, I’d love to hear it!

Travel Broadens The Mind…It’s A Virtual Life

It’s been a little while since Gidday from the UK has dipped into the pages of BA’s business:life magazine. But a quick trip to Pilsen this week meant that I had some time to waste invest in finding a few fascinating facts to share with you.

Interestingly, this post follows the same examination of a particular topic by some of my blogging brethren. The Day Social Media Took Over My Life, Bilingual Baby M and The Facebook by expat bloggers Russell in Sydney, Linda in The Hague and Kirsty in Dubai respectively have all explored the pros and cons, the whys and wherefores, of social media. 

Like it or not, our world is becoming more and more digital and we continue to embrace it in all its doubtful glory as evidenced by the hype around Facebook’s floatation this month. According to business:life, we watch sport online (36% of 18-35 year-old Europeans watch more sport online than on TV) and book holidays online (that’d be 2/3 of Britons). And 4.9 million people used WiFi hotspots in hotels, coffee shops, restaurants and airports in the UK last year. So even outside the dual digital domains of work and home we continue to ‘plug in’.  

In fact 10% of people would rather give up their car than be disconnected from the internet…she says, tap-tap-tapping away here having given up her vehicle some two and a half years ago.

But I digress.

Did you know that 54% of British children say they’d rather go to Google with a query than ask their parents or teachers? What a sad indictment. Although this is probably just as well. Apparently 50% of British adults think that Mount Everest is in the UK. This does not bode well for today’s British babies, 1/3 of whom will live until the age of 100.

business:life statistics reveal that 20% of us check our bank accounts at least once a day – could you imagine popping into the bank and standing in line every day? No thank you. All hail the internet I say!

And let’s face it – the job market will never be the same again with 150 million people and more than 2 million companies worldwide using LinkedIn. But be warned. 1 in 5 bosses turned down a candidate because of their profile on social networking sites.

So it would appear that it still pays to be circumspect. To keep some things private

Especially as 28% of British workers deem nose picking to be the most anti-social workplace activity.

Do you think that’s why 90% of people would still hang onto their car?

————————————————–
Travel Broadens The Mind – Back Catalogue
…The Euro Zone
…All About The Readies
…Flights Of Fancy
…Or So They Say

My Village Is An Onion…

Today I sat down in front of my computer, coffee in hand, to meander happily through cyber-space. This is a Sunday thing, a sacred fragment of me-time and a pleasure I rarely feel guilty about. While I try to keep up with it all during the week on my commute, there’s something about the big screen and multiple tabs that makes a Sunday trawl more delightful than flicking between windows on my phone and keeping half an ear out for my station announcement.

You see this is my village, or a large part of it anyway. Scrolling back through Facebook updates and tweets often uncovers a delightful surprise from a friend or loved one that may have passed me by in the busy-ness of the week. And checking out what my fellow bloggers have had to say – and perhaps leaving them with a thought or two of my own – is like peeling back layers of an onion. At different times, in different ways, each reveals something new, a different dimension that in my mind’s eye, I had not imagined.

Today, I clicked on one of my Gidday faves, Adventures in Expatland. Linda is an American, living in The Hague with her family, who is forging new paths for herself as a writer and ‘go to’ person on the highs, lows and in-betweens of expat life. She’s featured a few times on Gidday from the UK before and today, she’s here again for two very special reasons:

…she’s received the Versatile Blogger Award (And deservedly so. Good onya, mate!)

and

…she’s nominated me for one.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!
(That’s an excited squeal for you newcomers to Gidday)

The Versatile Blogger Award is a peer acknowledgement and apart from getting to put the little Versatile Blogger logo on my blog, I get to share with you 7 things about myself as well as another 15 of my favourite versatile virtuosos. As this post is already getting on a bit, let’s just get cracking…

The Seven Wonders of the world Kym

  • My birthday is August 1st (which most of you probably know via the sleeps to go posts). My point is this – it’s the Horse’s Birthday.
  • I was actually due to ‘arrive’ on this here planet on the day ‘The Eagle’ landed and man set foot on the moon – 20th July 1969. I’ve not been late since.
  • If you’ve been reading Gidday for a while you probably know that Dad is Dutch but did I ever tell you that on my Mum’s side we are descended from Bernadette Devlin, the youngest woman to be elected to British Parliament?
  • I jumped out of a perfectly good plane somewhere near Bendigo, Victoria in 2003. Note: I was strapped to the front of a burly skydiving instructor.
  • I was blonde (and I mean Annie Lennox blonde) for about 18 months. This happened to coincide with Lil Chicky’s wedding so my bleached barnet is preserved for all eternity.
  • I received a scholarship from The Order of the Rechabites at age 13 and received my Alliance Francaise certificate at age 14. I drink and don’t speak French. Cest la vie.
  • I played the role of Frenchy in our High School production of Grease. I wore a pink wig as Teen Angel (our Maths teacher Mr Smith) crooned ‘Beauty School Dropout’ at me.

The Fellowship of Fifteen

Ham Life
Local lad Matthew blogs about living in London, camera always at the ready.
The Vegemite Wife
Fellow Aussie somewhere up north who blogs with irony, humour and originality.
Perking The Pansies
One half of ‘absurd’ gay couple trying their luck in secular Turkey. He (Jack) wrote a book about it.
Lost in Cheeseland
An American in Paris. A recent addition to the blog roll.
Happy Homemaker UK
The name says it all. A pleasure to dip into.
4 Kids, 20 Suitcases and a Beagle
Another fellow Aussie living in Qatar. Always frank, often poignant.
The Displaced Nation
A group of cyber friends gathering yarns from global travellers everywhere. Confession: I am a Libby groupie.
Spies, Lies And Pies
Writer Charlie Wade leaves stories, book snippets and occasional ‘old man’ rants here.
AdBroad
She calls herself the oldest working writer in advertising. I call her brilliant.
In Search Of A Life Less Ordinary
Expat Brit exploring life in ‘The Lucky Country’.
The New Australian
Another Expat Brit in Oz finding much to write home about.
Postcards – The Blog
Published and proud. Celebrating a decade in The Downs.
And Here We Are
Fresh off the boat from Bavaria. Another recent addition to the blogroll.
A Big Life
An Aussie in Germany. We from Down Under get around you know.
Ladaisi
A twenty-something artist living in Denmark. My little dash of creative juice.

To put my thoughts out there on Gidday From The UK is an amazing experience.To be acknowledged by my one of my virtual village absolutely rocks. Hope you stop and visit them for a while.

If It Takes A Village, Where Are The Villagers?

I watched a television show this week that made me cringe. Not in a small, mildly disconcerting way but in a what-the-hell-followed-by-outrage kind of way.

Gok Wan is back on the trail of positive body image again, this time with his show The Naked Truth which explores the issues surrounding teen body image in our society.


Source: pinterest

I like Gok and have enjoyed his other shows but to be honest, I was not sure about what appeared to be a bit of bubblegum psychology so when I chose to invest an hour of my time in this versus Holby City, The Fixer, The Exit List and Cowboy Builders, I was prepared to be a bit disappointed. 

(Actually having just read this list back, I do know why I chose it but I digress.)

Of the three stories featured, it was Paige’s that made me see red. A gorgeous, slender 15 year old so obsessed by looking like the airbrushed photos online that she photoshops pictures of herself. The thinner thighs of websites like thinspiration (although having looked at the site, there are plenty of  ‘healthy’ pictures too) and seeing a ‘gap’ between the tops of her legs were her holy grail and while their visit to see a real life fashion shoot (and the digital manipulation involved afterwards) seemed to do the trick, it disturbed me to think how this beautiful girl had arrived at these conclusions in the first place.


Source: pinterest

Gok’s also out promoting his 1-hour Body Confidence sessions to the education community and while I whole-heartedly agree that this is an important investment in the self-esteem of our future generation, I wonder – aside from it being one hour in a whole year – how this can ever be enough. 

It seems to me that the current obsession with style over substance and the appeal of easy-celebrity has led to a loss of meaning in contributing to community and being proud of your work. Images in the media are insidious and further efforts to promote healthy bodies and un-touched pictures can only help. But doesn’t the key to all of this start at home?

Back in September last year, Chris Lloyds’ Wallbook Weekly Why Children Fail inspired a bit of a Gidday rant on a similar theme. If parents really are at their wit’s end in knowing how to deal with this, then shouldn’t part of the investment pie be directed here too? But then who decides what to ‘teach’ and how to ‘measure’ the outcome is a thorny issue at best. 

In response to my post back in September, some of my followers of the parental variety mentioned their strong belief that ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. For me, a village starts with a sense of community. And the prevailing community for our teens is the online one.

Source: pinterest

Last year’s riots in London shocked the world capturing image after image of violence and arrogant entitlement. But what it also showed was the power of social media.

So does the answer (or at least part of the solution) lie here?

A Cry Into The Wilderness…

This mid-week post is a bit of a cry into the blogging wilderness.  I ‘attended’ (for want of a better word) a webinar yesterday where the virtues of Word Press as a website and blog platform were extolled. 

But for the last three years I have been resolutely filing post after post after post using Blogger.  I have happily fiddled about with formats, added pages and even embarked on a little AdSense experiment and I have to admit, I feel rather attached. 

But yesterday’s fine Word Press words got under my skin…

So I’m asking for your thoughts: Blogger or Word Press?  The pros and cons.  The good, the bad and the ugly.

Now, over to you – I’m all ears.

Games People Play…

I have always been amazed at the number of games on Facebook and the number of invitations I get to indulge in Mafia Wars on Treasure Isle or join the Farmville Sorority.  I have also been quite selective – choosing only 1 or 2 to indulge in – and loyal – when everyone shipped off to Farmville I stayed resolutely with Lil Farm Life and just dipped into my Lil Green Patch every now and then.

But this weekend I’ve been suckered into 2 new worlds – Social City and Cafe World – and I’m hooked…

…and it’s those two sisters of mine that have done it!  They just looked like they were having so much fun so I surrendered to their call…and now I find myself wondering how many cheeseburgers I’ve served and whether I can afford to complete the rest of my Cafe refurb. or assessing whether I have enough leisure activities for all my little Social City peeps to do.
As if I didn’t have enough to do!

What’s that?  Grubs up…oh best get back to the kitchen…

I Am Blogger…Hear Me Now???

In this brave new world of blogging I find myself in, reading the mental meanderings of those I’ve never actually met (and some that I have!!) passes many an idle hour on the commute to and from work.  One of my faves is ad broad, an ‘age-less’, ad-industry female who claims to be the oldest working writer in advertising – her pithy comments and pointed rantings make me smile…and question…and wonder…and smile again…

Anyhow, I read one of her posts recently – no status update = new status symbol – and it did make me wonder about this societal addiction that has emerged.  Letting everyone know what you are doing at random moments on every available medium and presuming that the ‘world out there’ will be fascinated by this.  

Isn’t this just the ultimate in attention-seeking, diva behaviour? 

There has been this absolute transformation from the parental edict ‘seen and not heard’ that I remember to this kind of cyber-showing off – this urge to have something to say, and be heard, all of the time. 

I wonder about the backlash against this that she blogs about.  Some of my friends have emailed me saying they have closed their Facebook accounts and I’m still wondering about the whole Twitter thing myself (I have a twitter-toe dipped in the water though – you can find me – sporadically – under giddayfromtheuk) but I don’t see this surge to social media and the more, quicker, better race for status-updating technologies that surrounds it abating anytime soon.

I’m not sure where my feelings really lie.  I like Facebook and love blogging and if there are no comments in response to my updates and posts for a period of time, I feel slightly bereft.  And some of my fellow bloggers are thought-provoking, funny, irreverent, inspiring and completely generous in allowing me to peek into their worlds. But I worry a bit about the ‘behaviour’ social media seems to generate – the constant ‘I have something to say/Hear me now!’. 

After all, it’s a big world out there – and who REALLY cares?