Why am I doing this?

I'm exhausted. Really.

Today went something like this:

  • get up at 6.30am and go for a run
  • get to work by 9.30am
  • work like mad till about 2pm
  • take half an hour for lunch, in that time make three phone calls and buy a computer
  • work till 7pm
  • meet up with some former colleagues for dinner
  • get home at 11.30pm
  • check Poached emails...

This last part is where I am now and just when I was starting to think, "Why am I doing all this?", I received Angela's first blog post. Her enthusiasm for what we're doing really shines through.

Then she comes out with something like this:

"If there’s one word for how this makes me feel, it’s empowered. I know at the end of this I’ll look at the work produced and feel proud that I’ve seen it through. It’s flattering that someone has the confidence in me to carry out this project."

This illustrates the most inspiring thing so far about working with Angela and Jeevan: seeing how they respond to the challenges we set together.

When I first started working out objectives with Angela I had the standard columns for 'what do you want to achieve' and 'how are you going to get there' but I quickly realised I needed an additional column showing my commitment to support her. Once we had a sense of how much each of us were prepared to put in, there seemed no end to what we could achieve.

I guess it's the sort of thing HR types would describe as the psychological contract, which means I've got a lot to live up to over the next few months but it's more than clear why I'm doing this.

Virtual stalking or communications revolution?

Twitter. It's all over the place. Electing presidents, attempting to rescue lost chums, giving me a sneak peak at my ex-boyfriend's dream bicycle (no, I'm not going to link to that one)...

It amazes me that the ability to ping 140 characters of text into the ether can have so much of an affect on society, individuals and relationships.

The truth is, while I've been hearing about Twitter for a while now, I hadn't actually seen it for myself until a couple of weeks ago. It was the first day of the pilot project for my start-up social enterprise and I'd spent hours preparing the more theoretical component for the day.

The idea was to give both trainees a broad foundation in communications theory - the message, the medium, communications channels, noise, feedback, that kind of thing. Twitter came up when we were talking about internet channels and I confessed I'd never been on it. Jeevan didn't know much about it either, so Angela took over my laptop and gave us both a quick tutorial.

She showed us what it meant to 'follow' somebody (which still seems quite stalker-like to me) how to send a post, and the counter that tells you how close you are to your 140 character limit.

This reminded me of writing news text messages when I worked for Australian Associated Press. Trying to condense a 400 word article into 140 characters without the aid of text-speak was, in fact, really good for developing concise writing. Providing the laws of grammar are heeded, it seems to me that the same could be said of Twitter. Perhaps, alongside the enforced brevity, we could introduce a grammar and spelling check that encourages the use of correct English.

But this still leaves the question of the terminology that builds up around anything web. People using Twitter post 'tweets', apparently, and the most popular tweeters are collectively known as 'the twitterati'. I only really know that through searching the Urban Dictionary - another revelation to me and, again, courtesy of Angela. Thankfully, this is the only dictionary that's currently keeping pace with the rapid rate at which web users create new words.

Our focus turns to web writing next week and I'm sure, once again, I'll be learning almost as much as my trainees.