Twitter. Life.

I’m bored of passive aggressive tweets, bored of sharp put-downs. I’m tired of point-scoring – especially behind people’s backs. I’m frustrated by pomposity – self-proclaimed “experts” patronising those who happen to have different perspectives on scene-related issues.

Others’ oh-so-cheery tweets sometimes jar horribly with those still-common moments feeling hurt, sad, confused, apprehensive  that seem to interrupt my otherwise-generally-heading-in-the-right-direction life  right now, after such an challenging year thus far.

Others’ downbeat tweets get me down far too easily – even though it’s great to see the replies pouring in to cheer them up. But on some occasions: is there anything more soul-destroying than seeing a cry for support going totally ignored?

I even rather resent Twitter at times: when did many of our real-life friends last comment here on Spanking Writers, in the way they used to so regularly before they could connect with each other – and us – through regular tweets? Sometimes posting into relative darkness is hard – to the point where, for the first time, I’ve found myself questioning lately why I bother.

And when out with friends, I’m (to my shame) as guilty as any of anti-social tweeting-when-you-should-be-chatting: Twitter and the lost arts of conversation and concentration?

So why do I still use the site – even, perhaps surprisingly, advocate its use to some? It’s a question I’ve been pondering in the past few days, ever since reading Grace Dent’s (actually rather disappointing) book “How to Leave Twitter”. I do love the sense of community; I love the wit and repartee – yesterday evening being a prime example. As such, I’m sure it’s strengthened the bonds between my real-life circle of friends, bringing us into closer, sometimes more open and generally far more regular contact. I enjoy the window it gives onto the lives of like-minded souls further afield.

I like the quick occasional 1:1 catch-ups that the site makes possible – more frequent, perhaps, than if one waited to send an email. (And, in turn, I rather regret the decline it’s contributed to in lengthier, more in-depth email correspondence – the “I can’t be bothered with more than 140 characters of sharing or listening” mentality that tweets seem to engender).  I value it as a cheap way of keeping in touch from abroad, where all-inclusive data roaming tariffs permit free DMs when regular texting would be prohibitively expensive.

And I’ve long viewed Twitter as akin to a favourite local pub. You don’t have to be in there all the time to enjoy it when you do pop in; it’s lovely when you do to catch up with your friends. Yet I half wonder whether I’m spending too much time “in the pub”.

Would I miss it? Would it miss me? Would a week or month away from it* make me desperate to rush back, panicked by losing touch with my friends and acquaintances – or simply relieved? And is some of this actually really, deep down, about Twitter – or is my attitude towards the site actually instead a reflection of my insecurities and uncertainties regarding life more generally, after such a very emotionally-tough few months?

To paraphrase the title of one of my favourite albums – Editors’ “An End Has a Start” – loved ones’ fresh starts (welcomed; necessary)  feel for me very much like the  end of maybe the happiest chapter in my life. I’m not quite sure what it is I’m now starting. I have so many wonderful things planned for the coming months; so many things to be thankful for; deep, special connections with the people who matter most. But I can’t help thinking that at some point before too long I need more ‘me time’; to head off somewhere obscure, maybe out of contact; to put myself first for once, and see if I can put my world to rights…

* Which I should doubtless call a “Twoliday”, or some other such daft phrase

19 thoughts on “Twitter. Life.

  • 31 July, 2011 at 8:19 am

    …and so say all of us! I’m sure it won’t be just me who can relate to pretty much all of that on a personal level. I know I’ve had discussions with others along the same lines.
    I suppose it’s about getting the Twitter balance right for oneself, I’m happy with my own life/twitter balance at the moment. I tune out from the passive aggressive, don’t join in with that, or at least I sincerely hope I don’t, it’s not me! If people annoy me on twitter I mentally give them a warning, 3 strikes and they’re out. I stop following them. Has worked so far and don’t think it’s done anyone any harm.
    I have found Twitter to be incredibly supportive towards me this year, couldn’t have asked for a better way of communicating with friends while not feeling 100%. I was never so good at replying to letters, that turned into not being very good at replying to emails which sometimes left me feeling awful as I had a big list of people I owed an email I would never get around to writing. I can tweet though, I can support my friends when they need support the way they support me, I can have a good laugh with people despite being so far from them in person. Plans can be made and changed in an instant.
    Twitter has brought me closer to many wonderful people but still sometimes I stay away for a while, a day or two has gone by before now and I’ve not checked in. Not often, and I don’t know that it’s helped or harmed, but that is neither here nor there, I’m not leaving Twitter anytime soon, perhaps I will when we can summon a hologram of our friends at the click of a switch and chat together that way, but for now, Twitter works…unlike posting very long blog comments from my phone when I can’t go back and proof read. So sorry if this is a lot of badly written repetitive nonsense…oh! Another good thing about Twitter, makes you more succinct, at least that’s good for me, but takes us back to the loss of intimate, detailed emails, the emails I never got around to writing…tricky, very tricky. As I say, everyone needs to get their Twitter balance right for themselves, or leave it completely, I’m sure it can be done.

  • 31 July, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Really good perspectives, Sarah – thoughtfully-written, and thought-provoking. I guess I got rather side-tracked in my post when writing about the good stuff on Twitter, into life more generally – I probably should have added that overall I *do* think it’s a pretty remarkable and enriching place. As you say, it’s all about balance… Thanks and hugs x

  • 31 July, 2011 at 9:13 am

    This will also be written from my phone but will be nowhere near as well done as Sarah’s comment! Twitter has been a two edged sword for me. It allows people to rant and I cannot believe how people are willing to wash their dirty laundry in public without seeming to care how others are affected or how they themselves are then viewed by their audience. Maybe I’m just a product of my stiff British upbringing. Some things I have found offensive and it has brought out the worst in me at times. But I am one of those people who is terrible at keeping in touch- and Twitter gives me the opportunity to quickly dip into my social circle, make a few comments, leave and not feel guilty about only writing 140 characters! Lazy perhaps but Shen I don’t want to go into long explanations about why I haven’t been in touch it’s been great. On days when I want to be quiet I can just go on, read my friends’ comments and smile to myself.
    At times the discussions or aggressive tweeting has made my blood boil and I have regretfully responded in a like manner- but then discovered the unfollow button and have been less riled as a result. It’s only typing- and the joys of non verbal signals and tone of voice are missing, especially in such a limited space. For me it is a substitute for those lovely times when we can get together as friends- but that is a rare occurrence with people scattered all over the world. It’s a part of my life but only a very small part – like marmite or my gym membership!

  • 31 July, 2011 at 9:14 am

    I like Twitter…

    I’ve seen friends come and go. Some come back and some decide it’s not for them (though the reasons vary – privacy, personal attacks, boredom…).

    Twitter has been a bit of a lifeline for me. Being stuck out “in the sticks” it let’s me keep in touch with people and keep up to date with what’s going on – though that maybe the reason why people disappear – some people would collate that sort of information (stalking I guess). I’m not totally cut off from the world BUT simply I can’t get to see the people I would like to as often as I want so Twitter definitely helps.

    Having said that Twitter can be addictive. I have caught myself watching the Twitter feed on my phone whilst I’m supposed to be interacting in a RL situation… Ooops. I also admit that I get twitchy when I have to spend more than about 12hrs away from it, just in case I miss something – does that make me a sad person, probably.

    Twitter is also a good place to rant and sound-off but I suppose some may think that’s attention seeking, I don’t. There’s always support to be found for those who need help/advice/comforting words etc.

    I guess other “Social Media” works just as well but as I don’t do FB and I use IC/FL in a different way, I’m not planning to quit Twitter anytime soon.

    ** I’m also very bad at keeping in touch with friends any other way :( **

    Not sure any of this makes any sense, just a few thoughts…

  • 31 July, 2011 at 10:34 am

    OK, so here I am commenting on your blog, rather than replying to you on Twitter, for what I think might be the first time? The reason I normally reply on Twitter, by the way, is that I am comfortable sharing my thoughts with my chosen few Twitter followers, but I don’t feel as free with the anonymous internet readers of blogs.

    While I can understand a lot of what you are saying, I *love* Twitter. Like Ella, I am terrible at keeping in touch, especially with people whose lives I know are busy – it feels like I am bothering them if I contact them out of the blue, especially if I don’t feel I know them very well. Other times, I feel I have nothing interesting to say. With Twitter, you know that when people are tweeting they are open to communication and it’s easy to reply and spark off what they say.

    It seems easy to know people on Twitter. Obviously, in part, you are seeing what they want to portray, but I think the immediacy of it makes people quite honest. People share their feelings readily.

    I have a particular reason for loving twitter – I think it has played a large part in establishing my friendship with a special group of people, which I value immensely.

  • 31 July, 2011 at 10:56 am

    I have to agree with the general sentiment of comments, especially Cate’s. Twitter can be frustrating and it can pull focus from other, deeper modes of communication, but for me it has a twofold benefit:
    1) It’s allowed me to meet and grow closer to people whom I probably would not have met in other ways. It has also given me amazing experiences as a direct results of ideas and conversations on Twitter. Finishing School is the perfect example of this. That all came about via Twitter.
    2) Now that I’m so busy/exhausted during the week, I don’t get time to email/read blogs/comment like I did. Without Twitter I would be feeling very isolated right now, whereas I know that even if I can only catch up with the feed a few times a day, I still feel in touch.

    Yes, it can have its problems, there are comments which make me want to hit the wall, sometimes, and I’m sure I’m guilty of provoking the same reaction in people as well, but for me the good far outweighs the bad.

  • 31 July, 2011 at 11:24 am

    This is a great discussion and one I think many of us have been having off line. Like all of you I see the good and the bad in it. Overall the good outweighs the bad.

    Yes, I hate the passive aggressive tweeting, the bold statements that court controversy and the times where I begin to wonder do I really know some people at all. But as Sarah and Ella have already said there is an unfollow button and lately I haven’t been worried about using it.

    From my own side I worry I’m being too needy with sharing all the bad times or demanding hugs too much. Also I can be paranoid that my own tweets are misunderstood or taken out of context.

    But on the whole it really works for me because of being able to stay in touch and get to know people better. Cate’s point about it allowing her to get to know a special group of people is exactly how I feel, particularly those who are abroad like Indy.

    As she posted about Twitter previously it lets you glimpse into people’s lives far more than blogging does. It’a certainly a place where I sometimes allow myself to be needy, to be honest about how I’m feeling and accept the hugs that I know I can call on. It really is a supportive place; a real community. If you look at my Facebook updates from the past 3 months vs my Twitter they tell very different stories. FB is far more upbeat, less honest and less raw than some Twitter. Truth is I don’t feel as comfortable there.

    So in summary I get more from it than I lose and at the end of the day it’s up to us to control our communities; how much we want to share, how much we want to hear :) And I don’t think it replaces blogging, 140 characters are not sufficient for debate and depth conversation but it has a very important place in my life.

    Great post x

    Ps also on iPhone from wilds of rural Ireland!

  • 31 July, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    What y’all said re. Twitter, but this isn’t about Twitter. I understand what you mean, Abel, about the less-than-chipper feelings underneath all that social buzz. It sounds like a happy period *has* ended for you, and you’re in the awkward bind of having freely consented to that end for the sake of those you love even if you didn’t want to end it for yourself.

    Sometimes we find ourselves in a new chapter that we didn’t willingly write. In my experience, these kinds of new chapters take a lot of patience and humility and faith and attentiveness. It’s not always possible to make them shining and optimistic right away, and trying to frequently makes it feel worse.

    I think your last sentence is your answer. For those of us who are other-oriented, it can be scary and unnerving to do what you describe, but it’s necessary. With writing, you need solitude to sort out your creation; I suspect life isn’t very different, except that we aren’t the only ones writing our book.

  • 31 July, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    I was going to Tweet my comments, but, like others, saw the irony of that. Everyone else has said what I’m going to say already, but that has never stopped me before. I’ve know you since ASS/SSS days. I still miss the longer format of the postings and the interaction. I mourn the passing of those days, and still post now and then, mostly for old time’s sake.

    I never got into blogging. I started a blog once and felt such an immediate pressure to post and to be interesting that I dropped it within two weeks.

    Then Twitter came along and I discovered many of the people I had know from the old days, including you and Haron. I also was able to meet and get to know many of your UK friends. They are such wonderful people and I have great fun following your exploits, your ups and downs, your lives. I feel as if I know you, even though I don’t. How else could I have meant such intelligent, interesting and fun people who live so far away. I may never meet you in person, but I have been enriched by knowing you on Twitter. The same is true of the other people I follow on Twitter.

    I like contact with lots of people, but don’t have the time to really get together and talk with that many people in real life. Twitter allows me to stay in touch when I do have the time.

    Things I like about Twitter – the ability to block people, unlike newsgroups – the 24/7 nature of it – the necessity to be succinct and cogent – the way you can search for people and find new people to follow – the ability to dip in and out during the day while doing other work – the new e-mail correspondents I have garnered.

    At first, I was obsessive-compulsive about having to read every Tweet no matter how long my timeline was or how long I had been away. I’ve now learned to be able to simply not read all the Tweets, to skip whole days when I get behind, and not to worry about what I might be missing. In other words, I’ve put Twitter into perspective and have made it a part of my life, an important part, but not an obsessive part of my life.

    Words have always been my life. I am a writer and anything that has to do with writing is important to me. Twitter is words – and more – but essentially communication with words.

    Okay, I sense I’m rambling. I shall stop now.

    Thanks for yet another insightful, thoughtful posting. When you take your me time, I shall miss you, but I will understand.


  • 31 July, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Everybody’s said almost everything there is to say about this, but I’ll jump in anyway. : ) I think that because of what you’ve gone through this year, you’re in a different place emotionally than you were even six months ago. You see the need for change and that you SHOULD change something, so this is one of the areas you see as easier as some others. Things about Twitter tick us off or make us happy all the time, it’s the way of it because things move so fast. I’m different from almost everybody else on there, I don’t have access to it when I’m out of the house. I have a phone that could access it, though not a smart phone, but I refuse to pay the huge data plan prices. That means that when I’m out of the house, I’m incommunicado, and I get that “me” time you talk about without having to worry about keeping up. Maybe that’s something you could do sometimes, when you’re out, unless something big happens, just don’t tweet until you get back home. That should give you some time to just be, not to have to communicate with the world.

  • 31 July, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    I find myself nodding with everyone, and I’ll try not to repeat everything that’s been said so well. For me, Twitter is an essential way of building and maintaining kinky friendships. I simply don’t have a group of kinky friends within easy commuting distance, so I rely heavily on Twitter to keep in contact with those I care about. Although I’ve been lucky enough to meet most of you over the last several years, that list includes a few I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting in real life yet. I like Abel’s pub analogy, and I wish Twitter worked more like that for me. But so many of my Twitter friends are in a different time zone that they’ve long gone home by the time I get off work and to the pub, as it were. So Twitter alone isn’t enough if I don’t get to chat with my friends in real time occasionally. But it certainly helps when those times are few and far between.

    Having made my settings on Twitter private means that I can be someone more revealing, even tangentially, than I would be in my blog or some other internet forum. So that’s also helpful for building friendships.

    I tend to agree with Casey that many of the annoyances of Twitter aren’t actually about Twitter– they’re about real life. I suspect that people who are passive-aggressive on Twitter are also passive-aggressive in real life. The same goes for being attention-seeking, catty, or insensitive. Perhaps there’s a lower or less immediate cost for behaving that way on Twitter than in real life, but I don’t think that’s really the case for the Twitter communities of which I am a part.

    In some ways, Twitter is like going to a large party in which some conversations are fairly public, and some take place within a smaller group. The difference is, in Twitter, you have to decide that a person is *always* in your conversation, or *never.* There’s no middle ground; there’s no way to excuse yourself politely and move off to another conversation for a while.

    We all have people in our lives, some of whom we care about deeply, who are hard for us to be around *all the time*. It may be tough to deal with them when they’re in a certain mood (or we are), or it may be that there are some topics of conversation that have to be off-limits with that person. Or it could be that our ways of dealing with stress are incompatible. That doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy being friends– but we might not want to be roommates.

    Twitter makes it pretty hard to maintain those kinds of friendships, and I think it makes us artificially selective about the people with whom we interact. I certainly have Twitter “friends” I barely know at all, and I have un-followed people I like, but just don’t enjoy conversing with in this artificial setting.

    That said, I certainly wouldn’t want to do without it, and I hope that’s true of my friends, too!

  • 31 July, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Yes, to all of the above.

    Twitter is an interesting concept for me. I have been on twitter for about a year. It can become an obsessive thing, but I have found that balance.

    All that being said, if I weren’t on twitter, I wouldn’t have met most of you. That would have been a real shame.


  • 31 July, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    I’ve actually recently started following some of you on Twitter in my vanilla name – in part because that is just where I’m at in my life, but also because I do find your particular Twitter community quite closed. This isn’t a criticism, but in my vanilla world locking your Twitter account is seen as going against all the things that Twitter was made for/ the values that sit behind it – collaboration, transparency, the sharing of information…it is a crucial tool in the area of work I do and I was finding it odd to dip in to my Oliviamanners twitter account – it didn’t really fit in to my day/my world. When I did dip in to the locked community I found it hard to contribute / join in/ belong…it felt that if you hadn’t been party to the daily streams of chitter chatter it was very hard to just pop up. I guess what I am saying is that your post Abel, feels to me, quite specific to this particular community of spanking people, and the pros and cons are symptoms of it’s closed nature…and ultimately ( as we all know ) fairly small world!

    I do just want to say though that you have all been lovely and supportive to me so again, it isn’t a criticism, but maybe opening your Twitter worlds out might also shift some of these energies.

  • 31 July, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    Like most everything else, Twitter seems to have its advantages and disadvantages. Is Twitter to blame for a dwindling number of blog comments? Possibly, but I think more to the point, the Twitter “phenomenon” is more indicative of or perhaps the result of a more general change in personal computing and the internet. Desktop computers (and even laptops) are being replaced with smaller and more mobile devices.

    We’re checking our email and catching up on the ‘net in the minutes before meetings, during commutes, whenever we can carve away a minute or two. And as if our dwindling free time and concentration weren’t enough, we’re doing it all on screens and keypads that make long posts or responses difficult to navigate and respond to.

    As a forum, Twitter can help bridge that gap. If it’s too cumbersome to catch up on my entire blog roll on my phone, I’ll still take a moment to read posts friends link to directly from twitter. If I can’t respond (either due to technology limitations or blogs like yours being blocked by some web providers) on the blog, I can still send a quick note through Twitter to let the poster know I enjoyed their work or to discuss some aspect of it.

    From a consumer’s point of view – I often find these conversations more fulfilling on Twitter than on the blog. I may take the time to craft a considered response to someone’s blog post, but rarely does that conversation continue past the original post, my reply, and possibly a quick “thanks for responding” from the OP. On Twitter, conversations (although perhaps briefer in word count) seem to evolve further.

    Certainly there’s a balance to be found, and we’ll all probably want something slightly different in finding that balance. I follow less than half of the people who follow me on Twitter. I simply had to recognize my limitations in being able to keep up with everything, and make those decisions based on what I enjoyed about Twitter and hoped to get out of it. I’ve unfollowed people on occasion when their tweets were inconsistent with the aforementioned limitation, but in general I do appreciate the access and format Twitter has provided.

  • 31 July, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    I have been thinking about this post on and off all day and now I know what I think.

    Twitter is perfect when one is full of bon mots and feels confident and part of things. I find it can get terribly hard when one is having a hard time.
    If my car breaks down (or something like that) that is easy to sum up and report on but if one is having a complex time then what is one to do?
    Does one pretend everything is perfect and feel like not just a liar but also one of those people that makes everyone else feel worse because they never have a bad day?
    Does one say something vague and meaningful and end up sounding like a miserable sixth former?
    Or does one shut up all together?

    I also find that if I am not happy to the point of brazen that twitter can feel like a party that one is late to and has to go in alone and try to butt in on a conversation. So many people know each other so very well that trying to join in can feel like interloping but saying something nothing to do with anyone can feel rude.

    It can feel very lonely sometimes and a number of times I have hovered around for ages trying to think of something that will have the right touch or flavour, something that won’t feel like I am interrupting or being a nuisance.

    I don’t like the rage people show sometimes, not a flicker of rage but a 20 twitter rant about being jilted or whatnot. I feel like a prude very often because I simply don’t want to know that someone has just masturbated. I also feel like a prude because I don’t feel able to share when I have just had a spanking or whatever- I feel like a fraud being a spanking blogger who rarely mentions spanking.

    I love twitter. I love that it has helped me to meet people that I talk to.

    But for all the reasons above, I just don’t think its the best place unless one feels as ebullient as a labrador or unless one knows lots of people really, really well which most of us don’t.

  • 1 August, 2011 at 12:14 am

    I like reading your reflections on Twitter, especially given our discussions about it last week. One of the things it made most clear to me reading this and the comments that follow is that we all see Twitter in different ways, perhaps reflecting the power of the medium.

    In contrast to you, for example, I don’t see Twitter as a way of keeping up with friends. I don’t keep track of who’s following me (I shut off those notifications) and likewise, don’t follow everyone I know / like. Partly, this is because I can’t — I can’t deal with a Twitter feed that’s larger than 70-100 people. But also, I only follow people I enjoy reading — life’s too short to read tweets that either annoy or bore me. By the same token, I also follow a number of people who don’t follow me. Some are famous, some are not. What they have in common is that I like reading them. One of the reasons I can’t quite imagine locking my Twitter feed is I don’t want to be aware of who’s following me and who’s not. Likewise I tend to follow people with unlocked feeds more than locked ones because of liking the ability to unfollow and re-follow without needing to ask permission.

    Twitter for me is less about circles of friends or a version of IM / IRC and more about a series of windows — some of which look both ways, others that look only one. My own tweets reflect that. Sure there are days when what I’m doing is microblogging my misery, but, as is the case when I blog, I don’t expect replies. I’m just speaking to the universe. It’s nice when someone else is moved by it, but not necessary. To do otherwise would feel like I was performing and seeking approval, roles that don’t make me feel good about myself.

    I guess re-reading what I wrote (this reply is getting close to a blog entry itself) and what you wrote. I would strongly suggest unfollowing people you find passive aggressive on Twitter. Not as a way of punishing them but because you’re not enjoying them. Follow not out of friendship but because reading someone’s tweets gives you pleasure. If you feel guilty, remind yourself that (I assume) you wouldn’t want a friend to follow you on Twitter if they found your tweets annoying or upsetting.

    This, after all, should be fun. :)

  • 1 August, 2011 at 1:33 am

    I cannot really add to the conversation about ‘Twitter’ per se because I never really got hooked and have not used it much. But, what I did want to say, dearest Abel is that ‘me time’ is probably just what you need after a tough few months emotionally. Taking time for reflection has a way of clearing the head and healing as well. I don’t want to go on and on about meditation here, because if it is not your thing…well, it’s not your thing…but, I have found it to be so life enriching and after a rather rugged time myself in the past few months, I cannot recommend it more highly. I so wish we could sit dow with a pot of tea and chat. Hugs to you. xo

  • 1 August, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    When a 600-odd word post provokes 5,000 words of comments, I know I’ve hit on a hot topic!

    First, thanks for all of the support. As some of you recognised, whilst I’d started writing about Twitter, the resulting post was perhaps less about that than about my emotional fragility right now. I really appreciate the kind comments and moral support from those of you who picked up on this and offered such helpful words.

    The debate on Twitter has been fascinating to follow, too. It *is* certainly a site that adds a lot of value to my life, and clearly to the lives of many of you too. We’d miss it were it gone. (LOL the risk there is that the Twitter folks realise this and turn it into a subscription site, of course!). And there are folks out there – including some who’ve commented above – who’ve become friends (in person or online) *because* of our conversations on Twitter. I do love it really.

    But that isn’t without reservation. A couple of specific comments on some of the interesting debates:

    – the “unfollow” button is a wonderful thing; I’ve used it several times before now with people I know whose tweets had been consistently causing me stress. But it’s not *always* an option I’d go for: for example, with friends who cause occasional stress, but whose opinions and anecdotes are generally worthwhile. (Perhaps I should just be more ruthless?)

    – there’s an interesting debate here and on Pablo and Mija’s blogs regarding locked accounts. Various people I know were very clear in my early days on the site that they would only link to me on Twitter if my account was locked, for understandable privacy reasons. To refuse to do so would have deprived me of the ability to chat on Twitter to many people I wanted to connect with. I wish I could be as open as, say, Olivia Manners in terms of my real life and kink identities – but that’s just not feasible (for reasons I’ll explore in a forthcoming post).

    Writing, and reading your comments, have certainly helped me to think through some of the issues that were floating around in my mind. I’m grateful to you all for your contributions. I hope it might have helped others to think about the issues I mentioned too; I know I’m not alone in having them. And, in a funny way, it’s re-assuring to see how the blog format can still add such value in these 140-character dominated days…!

    Hugs to all :-)

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