Big following comes with much responsibility.. #ff

Friday is yet again upon us, my how the week has flown!  Yet again Twitter is abuzz with the latest scandal, today it is the resignation of Andy Coulson (hurrah!) and the inevitable #ff ‘s – Follow Friday’s. Today I feel compelled again to write about #ff’s and warn you about the consequences of getting what you wish for..

If you are on Twitter to plug a blog or raise an issue, great..but if you are there to escape from “real life” for a while, have a bit of fun, chat with friends and play hashtag games then why look for more followers?

Follow Friday is lovely, it’s a way of sharing your thoughts about other’s with your own followers, paying tribute if you like.. To be “ff’d” not only sounds really smutty 😉  but also feels really good.  It doesn’t always lead to more followers though, bizarrely many people lose followers on a Friday.  Unfollowing often causes hurt and bewilderment, you think it’s personal, often it isn’t. My advice is DONT check with the likes of “www.whichbastardunfollowedme.paranoid”  Definitely never  EVER tweet the result, “shaming” the unfollowee…!  Remember that following more than 300 people is REALLY hard, sometimes people just fancy a change or struggle to keep up.  That’s why I put people in lists, so I can follow the lists rather than everyone all at once in some kind of Amazonial Twitter stream.

Once upon a time there was a girl called Humphrey who would say good morning to Twitter every day, often scattering toast or fairy dust around.. She would wish everyone a good night and sometimes invite Twitter #inbedwithHumph.. her days were spent laughing and playing with a bit of flirting dropped in..

Nowadays I am too overwhelmed by replies and scared of repercussions to “play Humph” like I used to. I’ve written before about the so-called “Twitterati”, it was back in August, following my birthday.  I had around 1000 followers at the time I think and it was “pre-Dorries-law” days.  Throughout the day I was inundated by birthday greetings, which was both lovely and shocking. It opened my eyes a little to what the “Twitterati” face every time they tweet…

Now at almost 2000 followers, I sometimes find myself hesitating before making a tweet for fear of a big response.. I still want to answer everyone who tweets me, I find it rude not to and I really enjoy having conversations.  However, I haven’t always the time it takes to do so and often get really abusive replies, particularly if I have tweeted on a political issue.  (I am also excruciatingly aware of how many tweets I stack up in a single day, although they are mostly replies)

More than once I have considered deleting my account over the past few months, I have even started a new one in order to rant a little without fear of reprisals.  These days I tend to just tweet about disability issues with the odd moan about the telly or politicians thrown in.  But by deleting my account I would lose the little influence I have built up and I truly believe I use it for good and want to continue to do so.  I love my followers, I am really proud of the “work” I do on Twitter and this blog and would hate for that to go to waste.

Thanks to my lovely noisy neighbours, I now have a borrowed computer so have Tweetdeck back.  Tweeting is SO much easier with it!  What do you mean, you don’t use it?  You MUST! It is FANTASTIC !  It has come just at the right time for me, with my first foot operation being next Tuesday..*gulp* There is a long recovery and I expect to spend most of my waking hours stuck in a chair in front of the computer with my foot elevated. I can blog, read, watch TV and listen to the radio but hope I get my Twitter “mojo” back and spend time laughing and playing on Tweetdeck again.  I don’t know if “Humphrey” will properly return though, she seems to have lost her flirting ability lately 😦 #whatswrongwithHumph #thinkshesinlove

“Entonces” as they say in Spain.. like the Mugwai..with big following comes much responsibility, or in other words.. be careful what you wish for!

2010 in a coconut-shell…

2010 was weird and wonderful in equal measure.  As I lost my mobility and personal freedom, I gained Twitter and blogging.  Twitter gave me company and self-esteem through a horrible year, I have even made real-life friends through it, “tweeting up” locally and in Derby. Blogging kept me sane and allowed me to explore writing styles and share my sense of humour in bigger doses than I could do on Twitter (sorry about that 🙂 ).

The Eurovision and World Cup gave me the best laughs of the year as I was inspired to make avatar pictures to represent each country. Eurovison night itself was a massive challenge as I had to change profile picture 25 times! 

Eurovision Avatars!

 

World Cup Avatars

 

Throughout the year I raised awareness for many different causes.  I got myself into a LOT of trouble with my local MP who “outed” my real name, much to my dismay. I really like being Humphrey!  Then, in November I won two Twitter awards, which I am incredibly proud of.

I also cried a lot, more than I have done since I lost my father to cancer.  I cried through sheer self-pity, pain, frustration, anger and loss. Coming to terms with a disability is one of the hardest battles I have ever had to face. I am still dealing with it, every time I look at my feet in the bath I imagine how they will look with their scars and shorter big toes ( first operation is 25th January *shudder*) .  I love my feet!  Always so proud of them, with their elegantly sloping toes and dainty nails.  I think I will have them tattooed with flowers when the surgeon has worked his magic, to cover the scars and make them pretty again : )

Not much else happened through the year, I had a couple of dates, annoyed some people, lost two cats, gained another who is my darling : ) 

Jasmine & Pickles

So, yup!  That’s just about it..

Here’s to 2011, may it be filled with knowledge, wonder, laughter, moustaches, love, excitement and joy!

How was it for you… ?

Derby was bloody marvellous…!  Wish you could have all come but space was a little bit limited.. maybe next time, Wembley Stadium?

The trip started off with me collecting @Feisty_Onion from the station, getting rather lost through us talking so much and so arriving a hour late to be embraced by the most welcoming hotel and people ever..

Onion & Humph

 

We had a little rest (my feet were killing me from the drive) and then joined @ADMaclennan, @IainMonty and @lesleyalmost at the bar.    Soon we were joined by Mr & Mrs @Ivan_Jelical, she was so brave to come having never spoken to any of us before!  Finally we spotted @SteDoubleu lurking at the bar.. we were all there : )  Dinner and drinkies followed, the beer of choice ran out  *cough* although the kitty did not. 

Kitty!

Stephen, Lesley, Onion & Iain

We were asked by the very patient staff if we could clear off as it was past their bed-time so reluctantly stomped off to bed, re-grouping for breakfast and lunch where we were joined by the fabulously funny @MartinB1884 😀

Jane, Iain, Lesley and Neill (Ivan)

 

PIE !!!!

 

Martin & Andy

As I suspected, it felt as though we had known each other for years, there was never a dull moment.. we laughed, we drank a “little”, we hugged and had a marvellous time..  Roll on Xmas, we’re headed towards the Big Smoke for that one though : )

I’ve asked all the attendees to sum the event up for me in 140 characters.. you ve heard mine so here are their views of #Derby:

@ADMaclennan  A strange but great occasion, meeting for the first time people who were somehow already good friends. They were equally nice in person.

@lesleyalmost Derby? A surprise and no surprise at all. Seeing faces not avatars. Speaking and not typing, voices, laughter and fun. Warmth and smiles.

@SteDoubleu  Brill night out with some *real* characters. Discovered that “Tayto’s” isn’t slang for boobs but is in fact a brand of potato crisps

@Feisty_Onion  8 Twitter friends but real-life strangers met in Derby. They drank the inn dry, kept the waiters up and laughed like loons.

@Ivan_Jelical  Make the weekend fly by, meet 8 twitter friends for the 1st time in a pub, add booze & let the fun begin. Just so sad to leave though.

@IainMonty  Magic weekend with fantastic people who are proper friends. Laughs, eats and conversations that are just as good in *real* life as in tweets

I LOVE this one from @MartinB1884  Sunday dinner with drinks, laughs, serious discussion and doppelgänger spotting. This wasn’t 140 characters- this was 7 lovely characters.

Onion & Andy

Reunions V Tweet-Ups..

Someone asked me recently, “what the blue-blazes ‘s is a tweet-up”?  That in response to me inviting him along to one that just happens to be today.  I don’t remember where I first heard the word, I’m pretty sure I didn’t make it up…that said, “twandoori” was almost certainly one of mine and Linda’s, “twiends” and “twart” were both born from my lips. 

A “tweet-up” is a meeting in “Real Life” of fellow tweeters. Now, why on earth would you want to meet in “Real Life” people you have met on the internet? Isnt that a bit odd? To socialize with people you have never spoken to?  But you may not even know their real names!  What do they look like in “real life”?  What if they are weirdo’s..? I am hoping they are to be honest, we ll get on like a house on fire!  Like finds like..  There is a saying which I wholeheartedly agree with..”Facebook is for the friends you were at school with, Twitter is for the friends you WISH you had been at school with”.. that is SO true. 

What School Rules?

 

I have twice copped out of going to school re-unions lately, using any excuse not to go, not just to others but to myself as well. I am so fat, I can’t face them seeing me like this, I can’t get a baby-sitter, I have a headache, I have nothing to wear.. mind you, IF I ever do attend one, I ll go in full school uniform, complete with stolen achievement badges  ; )  The truth is, I don’t want to go to school re-unions as the only thing we have in common is that we shared agonising years of tedious lessons, freezing our nuts off in huts and bunking off in the loo’s. I have my old “friends” on Facebook and enjoy looking at their photos and seeing how their lives have panned out. That is it though, my curiosity for anything further is a big, fat Zero %.

Today’s tweet-up has been planned for over a month and I have not  even once considered not going, despite the fact it’s a long journey for me to make and I am sharing a room with an Onion ; )  In truth, not all but most of the people attending are closer to me than members of my own family and “real life” friends. They have been my rock’s over the past month especially and I can’t wait to meet them and give them big “real-life”  ((((hugs)))) !

I am sure there will be photos taken and posted, I will update or follow-up this blog with how it went.  Now, I must shower and get my bag ready, my one and only concern is which costume to pack ; )

A Good Coalition…

Humph & Linda

What on earth is a Labour supporter doing socialising with a Liberal Democrat PPC??? What’s more, why do they look like friends?

Because they are. Brought together by a hustings meeting in May, speaking on Twitter, meeting again at tweet-ups and becoming firm friends.  Many nights have been spent bashing out policies, arguing points and laughing our heads off..  why shouldnt people with differing political views be friends?

I make no pretence whatsoever about the  total devestation disappointment I felt when Nick Clegg took his party to join the Conservatives in May 2010.  My blood ran cold, I cried, I shouted my protests at the television as I am sure many thousands of others did. For months I ranted on about it until finally acceptance grudgingly settled in.

Since then I have had many debates on Twitter with Lib Dems about the rights and wrongs (or rights and lefts) of the Coalition. Generally (not always) we seem to come to similar conclusions, the Liberal Democrats seem to have been hoodwinked into propping up some appalling policies in exchange for a handful of their manifesto promises. Frustratingly, many Lib Dem policies have not only gone out of the window but have been literally stamped on by Dave & Co.

So as we sit and chat, laugh and debate during our tweet ups, I often wonder how very different things would have been had it been up to Humph & Linda…

Pssst: Linda writes a great blog.. “Lindylooz Muze”

Please call me Humph…

Dear Twitter,

Some UNFOUNDED accusations have been made about me today and my real name has been exposed, I won’t link to them or respond at this time other than to say..

Please call me Humph…   I love my Twitter name as much as I hated the childhood nickname “Humphrey Cushion” , endowed on me when I was about eleven.  Although I VERY verbally disagreed with them at the time, now – with hindsight, I can see they had a good point!  Thankfully, I grew into my nose in time : )

Spot The Difference..

Much love, your Humph xx

Boobie Wednesday.. for Heather x

This is not the post I was going to write today, I intended to (and started) a very silly one about Michael Gove being “Martini Man”.. (anytime, any place, anywhere..)   Twitter interrupted.  I slowly started to become aware of boobie avatars appearing.. male and female so I had a look at their hashtag #boobiewednesday..

Boobie Wednesday was started by “two crazy twitter chicks” in America just over a year ago. The idea of the hashtag is not to perve at women’s knockers but to create awareness about breast cancer and encourage women to perform a weekly examination. I lost my best friend to breast cancer, dont let the same thing happen to you. Spread the word..

Here are the 8 main things to look out for.. (men, I’m talking to you too – men also die of breast cancer, I kid you not)

A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm that persists through the menstrual cycle.
A mass or lump, which may feel as small as a pea.
A change in the size, shape, or contour of the breast.
A blood-stained or clear fluid discharge from the nipple.
A change in the feel or appearance of the skin on the breast or nipple (dimpled, puckered, scaly, or inflamed).
Redness of the skin on the breast or nipple.
An area that is distinctly different from any other area on either breast.
A marble-like hardened area under the skin.

If you have a partner, why not make it a regular event you share together?  You never know where it may lead ; )

Boobie Wednesday Blog

Three O’Clock in the Morning….

And it looks like it’s gonna be another sleepless night..  This is the third night in a row I havent slept. I last had insomnia during the election and the agonising days after it while the nation awaited its fate. During that time myself and several others tweeted to each other via @tchee ‘s #1amclub . We passed the time sharing music, “passing drinks” and @tchee would  “hand round a plate of Ferrero Rocher”.  One night we danced on the bar and I even got @tim_mullen to dance with me : )

I digress.. the reason for my being awake in the not so small hours has a name, that name is Nadine Dorries.  Since her vicious comments seemingly aimed at me but taking a swipe at all disabled and unemployed, I have been filled with what I can only describe as poison. It makes me shake.  I can feel it in my blood, churning in my stomach, it is of course stress.  Stress has also tensed up my back and neck muscles leaving me in tremendous pain but also giving me headaches and vertigo.  My feet have been up all day but they hurt too.  I would take some medicine to relieve the muscles but I know they will make me dopey tomorrow.  Therefore I sacrifice my sleep in order to be alert as I know that there is still work for me to do. 

Right now though, I want to thank you Twitter, all of you. Whether you RTd a link, wrote a blog post, tweeted a comment or commented on a blog post, even if you simply read one of them.. thank you.  I have had the most amazing support this week. I have not been able to confide in family or friends about this, they wouldn’t understand and would be frustrated and upset on my behalf, they also have their own problems to deal with. Thank you for being there for me and for listening.

Now, about this blog. Please believe me when I say that I am not showing off , I didn’t make this happen   – YOU  did.. There have been over 6000 views of the blog in just 2 days. * That is incredible. So many people have been affected by this issue, the blog statistics are testament to that.  Could I ask you to help me again though? Please support the vulnerable, help their voices be heard. Fight to stamp out ignorance, discrimination and bullying. Keep this topic trending until the media finally take notice.  Together we are formidable as Ms Dorries must by now be aware.  Her brag of only 50 or so constituents hearing about this must now sound foolish, even to her closed ears. 

Nobody interested?

Tonight, as I lay awake thinking about Nadine Dorries and the effect she has had on my life this week, I wonder if she too is laying awake thinking the same about me?

*Since I posted this article, the blog stats went crazy as you can see.. now over 12.000 in less than one week.. thank you so much Twitter for taking notice!

A message from a friend…

Yet again, I’ve been moved to tears by a fellow tweeter with a hidden illness. Tonight, I received this message…

Humph, hello x

I know you’re a bit snowed under, so I appreciate you taking the time to read this. I’ve just (about 2 hours ago) popped on to Twitter for the first time since Weds and I was so shocked to see what’s been going on! It looks like you’re handling the whole sorry situation *amazingly*. I hope you are okay, it must be a little overwhelming, but I am chuffed that you are getting so much support.

It’s funny, because one of the reasons that I haven’t been on there or FB for a few days is that I’ve been off sick for 8 weeks & a ‘colleague’ commented that I seem to be managing to keep up with Twitter & FB okay. Silly cow. She doesn’t get that most of the time I Tweet laying down because I’m in too much pain to move. And I don’t mention being poorly, because I don’t want to moan. It happened to coincide with me going to stay at a friend’s to get some more fun times for (childs name removed) while I rest, so I thought I’d stay off for a while anyway, but I’ll be back & adding my name to the #TeamHumph campaign soon.

Anyway, my time at home has been made immeasurably more pleasant by Twitter – and that includes your brilliantly entertaining Tweets & pics. So not only is your Twitter use helping you through a difficult time, you are helping me too.

Have got to wait till November to see my consultant (it’s a chronic thing, my last ‘flare’ was 10 years ago – I was seen & operated on within 3 weeks back then, so this wait has been a bit of a shock). Anyway, just wanted to let you know I’m thinking of you & I think this is going to work out great for you. So sorry you’ve been the focal point of such ignorance. Take care. Team Humph FTW!

 

 

( The reason I havent published her name is that she wishes to remain hidden.. )

Twitter, Autism and Me.. A Guest Post

I am autistic. I have known this since I was 20 when I was tested for Dyslexia and Dyspraxia while I was at University. I also am Dyslexic and Dyspraxic but I have all three marginally. This is how I was ‘undiscovered’ for so long.

I haven’t told many people, the only people that know is the Doctor and medical team that tested me and a few very close friends. I haven’t even told my family.

I’m not ashamed of my autism but I am scared that people will treat me differently. The people I have told have shrugged it off with a comment such as “I always knew you were special.” Always the same joke but then the seriousness of “I didn’t know” or “I’m sorry”. Of course they didn’t know, I didn’t always know! But I do hide it and cope well in order to hide it. However, I don’t know why they are sorry as I’m not. It hasn’t changed my life, just given more clarity to it.

I’ve always been independent, segregated, for want of a better word, from ‘society’ because I like it like that and I struggle to cope in many social situations. I often find myself confused which leads to frustration as I don’t know why I am confused and then I get upset. Not visibly so, but I often cry when I’m alone because I can’t cope.

I have friends, lots of them, but I only have two friends I can rely on and have seen me hit the bottom and have helped me back up. These two I have had before I found out.

I’ve never had, what one would call, a relationship. I’ve never had a girlfriend. I’ve had sexual encounters but because I haven’t been able to relate to the other person the experiences have been unsatisfactory, almost worthless. However, I’m not actively looking for a girlfriend as I’m desperately trying to navigate the relationships I already have.

Autism, at times, can be lonely other times it doesn’t affect how I operate. However I would not want not to be autistic because then I wouldn’t be me. Twitter helps overcome the social awkwardness as I am dealing in the written language and no one has to see me and I don’t have to see them either. I don’t consider myself disabled, but I do have difficulties and Twitter helps overcome them. Twitter is a lifeline to anyone regardless of ability because sometimes only strangers can comfort because they don’t come with preconceptions. Some judge, but the majority don’t.

You have heard my story of how autism affects me and how Twitter helps. What’s your story?

**If you are affected by this issue or are just concerned, please take a moment to sign this petition against disibility hate crime.

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 57 other followers

  • My PNB