140 characters to derail your career

dartboardEric Bristow is the latest “celebrity” to come a cropper by publishing his ill thought out views (now deleted) onto a very public online platform (Twitter) and has received a lot of response to his views – some supportive, but the majority of people railing against him. Additionally his critics have pointed out other tweets he’s written (also now deleted) whereby he appeared to be spouting facist and racist rhetoric. And as a result he’s lost his job as a darts commentator at Sky Sports.

I’ve never met Bristow and therefore don’t know if he is racist, homophobic or just an illiterate idiot, but based on what I’ve read it strongly suggests he is all of these. He’s now apologised for his tweets (which doesn’t necessarily mean his views have changed) and is now eating humble pie whilst also continuing to use twitter the same way as the majority of people do, to illustrate how humdrum, mundane and “normal” (whatever that may mean for someone with an MBE) his life is.

And as we all know, today’s news is yesterdays chip paper – or whatever the modern equivalent is, though whenever he now gets mentioned in the press it will refer to this incident.

So is twitter responsible for idiots getting sacked? No of course not. Bristow is one of many people responsible for getting himself sacked by not understanding the power of social media and using the platform to ignorantly rant about things he has little knowledge of and using the technology like he’s chatting to his mates in the pub.

He boasts he doesn’t use any PR person to manage his twitter account and to write his posts for him. Until he’s been on a diversity course and educated himself, perhaps he should.

Not really a bullseye this time was it Eric?

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It’s A Different Language. Innit?

sup-cat

I received a text the other day that began “sup”. No grammar. No context. And it took me a little while to work out what “sup” meant. It wasn’t until I’d read the entire text, which consisted of three sentences, to work out what “sup” meant.

It’s obvious now. Sup = what’s up? An abbreviation of “what’s up”. It’s like “Hello” but cooler – allegedly. The person who sent me the text is too young to remember the “Whassup” adverts.

Apparently this is how young people start conversations these days.

Bare sick. Sup.

 

Class system?

bbc-technology-logo1Seamless shopping and the future of work…

…said the BBC in an article about “Just Walk Out Shopping” and the potential impact on the future of the retail industry. Despite the obvious claims by Amazon that “Amazon Go” will revolutionise shopping this new idea will actually have little impact on shoppers’ habits. It won’t catch on and like Alpha One Airways and Apple’s Game Center app the concept will quickly die a quiet and unreported death.

But the one thing that struck me about the article was the use of language such as “low skilled work” when referring to check out assistants or Uber drivers. And therefore inferring that other jobs are superior in status, like perhaps a BBC technology news reporter (or “correspondent” as the corporation so grandly refers to their news’ employees) ?

Where is the line that determines “low skill” versus “high skill”? Is a doctor or surgeon the latter and a bin man or road sweeper the former? Where do bankers, estate agents, steel workers and police officers sit in this supposed hierarchy and who determines this?

So where does that put writers? If you work for BBC news reporting and writing articles for such a prestigious company does that make your job “highly skilled”? If you write other articles, like blog posts for example, what does that make me? After all I’m only writing words am I not? Other than having the ability to write there’s no other skill involved is there?

If I complete a novel or a screenplay does that then change the descriptor by which I become known?

I would suggest that all jobs consist of the use of some skills. The checkout assistant has a special set of skills that a BBC news reporter does not. I’ll leave you to work out what they are.

Swift.

DPD mapNothing to do with Taylor Swift. I mean speed; and not the drug.

Nowadays the speed with which items get delivered through the post has not necessarily improved per se, but keeping track of them sure has. Not that long ago an item was ordered and you were advised that it would be sent. Then nothing until the Royal Mail driver knocked on your door with your parcel.

Nowadays, should you wish, you can track the packages’ delivery route live via an app. All a bit stalkerish but my parcel should be with me between 13.22 and 14.22 – a very precise time.

Also the app allows me to change delivery dates or places in real time dependent on my whereabouts and of course this is a good thing for the customer. Great use of technology.

Publishing has also advanced significantly due to the use of technology. These days, if you have access to the internet and a device then you can get your words and thoughts out there instantaneously; like this blog post.

But as ever, getting people to read it is still a challenge although technology has obviously helped with that too. Well, it’s easier to get your content in front of more eye balls, but whether it gets read is another matter entirely.

 

Leonard Cohen.

Act the way you’d like to be and soon you’ll be the way you act.”

Grim-Reaper-Wall-Decal.jpgI’ve mentioned death before, but 2016 has been a year for a high number of deaths of well known people. I don’t know if 2016 has experienced more than average but it certainly seems like it. The Daily Mirror have had a stab at trying to explain why.

There’s no getting away from it we all have a 100% chance of dying. That’s one in one; not very good odds of avoiding it. It will happen to both you and me. Most of us will have no idea when this will happen, but happen it will.

Yesterday one of the world’s most revered poet/songwriter/musician’s died. Leonard Cohen has left us a legacy of work that will be always remembered, and more importantly discussed and quoted for time immorium. Like many other feted writers his work will always be there, available for us to pore over when searching for some inspiration or for words of comfort or maybe because we just wish to be in a melancholic mood.

It’s at times like this that some people will crawl out of the woodwork and hail the almighty Cohen and spout off about how they loved his work blah bla blah, when the reality is they have little idea of who he was or what he’s achieved. The online equivalent of hearse chasers.

I wasn’t particularly a fan. Sure I liked and knew of the obvious songs, “Hallelujah”, “Bird on a Wire”, “Suzanne” “So Long Marianne” et al, but anyone with an interest in music knows of those songs. I wanted to like his stuff, and I tried many times to over the years, but it never occurred to me to go to one of his gigs. Too morose for my liking. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t respect what he’d achieved.

As I write this I’m listening to Cohen’s album “Live in Dublin” which I’ve listened to on a cursory basis on a number of occasions in the past and it’s now dawning on me what I’ve missed out on: my bad.

But like all writers – good and bad – thankfully his prose (and music) will always be available.

And tomorrow I shall be wearing my Fedora as my small tribute to him. And on Sunday obviously I shall play a couple of his tunes on my radio show.

Artistic integrity?

Absolutely_Fabulous_The_Movie.jpgLet’s be honest, the recent “Absolutely Fabulous” movie is shit and it would never have been made unless Jennifer Saunders was on-board and the ageing premise was still unsurprisingly riding on the original success of the TV series. Which was how many years ago?

And yet the script is peppered with catch phrases well past their sell by date and based around a cock and bull story about the supposed demise of Kate Moss, who, let’s face it, is no stranger to the artificial celebrity lifestyle which is so far removed from normality.

And, yes I understand the entire premise is a pastiche. I got that memo. But talk about flogging it to death.

However, could the same be said about a number of projects – both now and in the past? This is not a new approach. “David Brent – The Movie” was recently released and J.K. Rowling has also released her latest book based on the play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”. Both of which are accompanied by the usual PR bullshit blurb from the author stating the usual claptrap, “I wanted to see where he’d got to on his journey…” Yada yada. The smell of filthy lucre more like.

And have you seen the “comedy” series “Josh” on the telly? Absolute drivel and it’s only getting air-time because comedian Josh Widdicombe is on every quiz show going and is therefore “popular”. Either that or he’s got an extremely good agent. There are many other examples.

Whilst there are plenty of new ideas being broadcast on telly and the bigger screen, the broadcasting companies rely too heavily on past glories. And consumers constantly fall for it.

To Kindle or not to Kindle?

amazon-kindle-logoI remember a world before Kindle, or any of the other handheld e-readers that are now available. Content can now be downloaded and be available to read virtually instantaneously.

In a previous post , I spoke about the merits of on-line access to your favourite reading material, but I remember having a conversation with a colleague at work about Amazon, probably about a year after the site had launched. That’s 20 or so years ago.

He stated that he preferred to go into a bookshop to either find the particular book he was after or to just simply browse, and he had a point. He then added that he couldn’t see the point of Amazon or any other online book retailers as they wouldn’t last long and would soon go the way of the dinosaurs. Well, obviously he was wrong and very short sighted in his view of on-line shopping.

I received a Kindle as a present some years ago and as I thanked the person who gave it to me, I gently pointed out that I preferred published words: either in a book or a magazine or newspaper. Of course I read stuff online but my preference is for the old style. Which is ironic considering I worked in the online industry for a number of years.

My views haven’t changed. I prefer paper, interspersed with some online viewing. The best of both worlds.