Being human, being heroes, having cake

Apollo 11: Onto a New World

Apollo 11: Onto a New World (Neil Armstrong about to step onto the Moon for the first time), NASA collection on Flickr Commons.

A few of us decided part way through Week 34 of Weekly Blog Club that our (entirely optional) theme this week should be heroes and heroines. This proved to be a highly appropriate theme. Shortly after we decided this, the news emerged that aerospace engineer, pilot, university professor and the first man to walk on the moon, Neil A. Armstrong, had died on 25th June 2012.

As many people tweeted after hearing the news, they went to the Moon on less computing power than in an ordinary mobile phone today. I saw Neil Armstrong take those first steps on television in a Norfolk village and remember the feeling of awe that I was watching pictures of real humans on the Moon. I remember the anxiety of whether they would come back alive. Looking back on it, they must have gone out on that mission prepared to for it to be a one-way trip. It affected all of us who saw it at the time (I rambled on a bit about it a couple of months ago in ‘Child of the Space Age’).

Neil Armstrong was a hero to many. His family said that he was “a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job.” If only we could all aspire to “just doing [our] job” in the way that he did.

Remembering cousin Louis, Louise Brown’s post this week was about her cousin who had died a few days earlier. He was also a renowned musician who played piano and organ, and was particularly known for working with Rory Gallagher.

Janet Harkin shared a post she had prepared earlier – The remarkable life of a 75 year old digital champion – that was about one of her heroes. Despite not having the best time at school himself, he ensured that the local school stayed open and was the first in the county to have a computer.

There was a distinctly ‘being human’ theme running through several posts this week. Kate Bentham found that having to go Back to the Shop Floor, enabled her to connect more directly with people in her job, and to understand better what they needed. Phil Jewitt, in Because I’m a person, was also finding that connecting more directly with people, and letting people see that he is human as well as professional, is beneficial.

The rights and wrongs of whether to publish a photograph of a prince showing his very human side (and front, I understand) was Paul Coxon’s topic for Week 34 in The Prince is Naked. Please don’t look. Lisa McGonigle was concerned about being too human in a mindful way upon her return to work in Learning to overcome baby brain (although there is research proving this condition does not exist, and I would suggest that the pattern of disrupted sleep alone would make most people a little distracted).

Getting to sleep was one of the reasons why I listened to so much music at college, and found it impossible to choose just one track as the most memorable from that time in my life in The songs of me part 3The songs of me part 4 includes a light show, music that makes me cry, and being worried about getting lost in Amsterdam in the snow.

Chris Allan is not the least bit worried about getting lost, although he has difficulty with maps, and he wrote about it in Get Lost! He uses technology to solve the problem. Map-reading is not one of the skills that Dan Slee listed in BOW SKILLS: 37 skills, abilities and platforms for today’s comms person, but technology (especially relating to social media) skills are. His post will be useful to those who need to communicate information to others even if they are not a comms person.

Simon Hope was prompted by an announcement from the Department for Communities and Local Government about social media reporting of council meetings to ask Social media – is noise enough? He raises some interesting points that I think would make an interesting discussion with some other members of Weekly Blog Club.

Mark MacGregor was the blogger on the Ayrshire Health blog this week, considering how effectiveness and results of the National Health Service are measured in Measurement: for Improvement or for Judgement? This post is worth reading by those who are managers in  other public services since the issues of how services are measured are relevant across the public sector in general.

Sometimes, the results seem to lose meaning by being removed from their context. Matt Bond, in Putting context to your content, considered how adding context will become increasingly important in the digital world, and how the boundary between creativity and technology is blurring (this is a discussion I have with others at times – the ‘everyone thinks they’re a photographer/designer these days’ discussion).

Carolyne Mitchell wants us to Have your cake and eat it and, to that end, has provided a chocolate cake recipe that involves cocoa and chocolate, and looks big enough for a whole office full of people. Perhaps after eating the cake, you should burn off the calories by doing some swanning around? Carol Woolley contributed an unexpected post this week – The Swans of Wells. She included swans that ring a bell as one of their ancestors was taught a couple of centuries ago by a bishop’s daughter; and brightly-coloured, patterned swans.

Finally, Mark Braggins wrote about his experience of being @WeeklyBlogClub for a week and writing the Week 33 summary. There was a bit that made me blush – and a lot of very interesting points. We are still trying to evolve Weekly Blog Club, and I am keen for it to be sustainable.

Huge thanks to Mark for taking over for a week and doing such a great job, especially since it was a busy week with 20 posts. It gave me some thinking space to enable me to help a community group with which I am involved to put together a grant application. If we are awarded the grant, I will (naturally) blog about it in due course.

Many apologies for the tardiness of the Week 34 Weekly Blog Club summary – it was a weekend beset with technology problems.

I will set up a page soon to show who is being Weekly Blog Club when. I would also like to add custom headers to the blog. It would be great if any of you who take photographs could contribute one or two. The header image is 1000 pixels wide and 288 pixels high but I can trim if it a bit bigger. I have not worked out the ideal resolution yet. It should be 72dpi, but using this theme on my own blogs, I found that they looked too pixellated after WordPress has crunched them.

Thanks to all who have contributed through reading, Liking, and commenting and well as writing. If reading this week’s posts has inspired you to write, do join in (see our About page which tells you what you need to know. New contributors are always warmly welcomed). The (entirely optional) theme for Week 35 could be heroes and heroines again. You might also consider the start of the new academic term, and how that feels as a student or a parent of a student.


Janet E Davis.

PS More cake recipes are also welcome. We might have a recipes special one week.

Summary of Week 34 posts

The Swans of Wells by Carol Woolley.

BOW SKILLS: 37 skills, abilities and platforms for today’s comms person by Dan Slee.

Putting context to your content by Matt Bond.

Back to the Shop Floor by Kate Bentham.

Because I’m a person by Phil Jewitt.

My week guest-hosting #WeeklyBlogClub by Mark Braggins.

The songs of me part 3 by Janet E Davis.

The songs of me part 4 by Janet E Davis.

The Prince is Naked. Please don’t look by Paul Coxon.

Learning to overcome baby brain by Lisa McGonigle on the Learning Pool blog.

Have your cake and eat it by Carolyne Mitchell.

The remarkable life of a 75 year old digital champion by Janet Harkin.

Measurement: for Improvement or for Judgement? by Mark MacGregor on the Ayrshire Health blog.

Remembering cousin Louis by Louise Brown.

Social media – is noise enough? by Simon Hope.

Get Lost! by Chris Allan.

Weekly Blog Club was set up in early January 2012 to encourage people to blog regularly, and especially to encourage those working in and with the public sector, charities and voluntary organisations in the UK to find their own 'voice' through writing.

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Posted in #WeeklyBlogClub summary, blogging, cake/caek, communicating, communities, democracy, digital technology, family, health, holiday, management, maps, media, music, national government, politics, public sector, social media, travel, working practices

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