Seeking would-be Tweeters…





As part of a Masters Degree in computing I am doing a project on Twitter and older adults – what are the issues around getting started; do people prefer tablets, smartphones or pc’s; what topics really interest people; …and is it worth the effort anyway?!

I’m looking for people aged 65+ who would like to give Twitter a go but are not sure how to get started.  I am an experienced trainer and can explain what Twitter can do; what privacy issues to be aware of; who to follow; and how to send Tweets.

Depending on what suits best I can talk them through; meet them (need to be in Norwich) or send email support. All they need is an email account and access to smartphone or tablet or pc with internet. If you know someone who’d like to start Tweeting please send them my way – just email me for more information.



Un-picking job descriptions

I’m the girl that makes the thing*

That drills the hole

That holds the spring

That drives the rod

That turns the know

That works the thing-ummy bob

I’m the girl that makes the thing

That holds the oil

That takes the shank

That moves the crank

That works the thing-ummy bob

Job descriptions – those trick pieces of prose which, combined with the person specification, create the co-ordinates for find a perfect candidate for a specific role.  The girl in the Gracie Fields song probably had a whole lot of personality traits that extended beyond her technical abilities. She’s part of a team drilling, holding, driving and turning different components. She must be able to work with other people while also focussing on achieving high quality outcomes from her specific task. Given that the song was performed in 1942 she should also have had a positive outlook and buckets of optimism (the second part of the song title is “… that’s going to win the war”.) She also probably didn’t have to leap through too many hoops to get the job.

Nowadays HR departments and line managers spend a lot of time honing the job description and, while there is a tendency to ask the person to be all things to all people, it’s really worth looking at the detail. Work out what the most important features of the job are and then be sure that you put them towards the beginning of your CV or covering letter. Don’t make the recruiter have to dig too deep to find a reason to interview you.


*Written by Heneker Thompson, performed by Gracie Fields

Image of thing-ummy bob from


Turn your phone off!

strand advert

During a recent school workshop on how to create a good impression at interview, the issue of mobile phones came up. “I never don’t have my phone with me – I don’t know what I’d do without it”, the Year 9 pupils tell me – surreptitiously stroking the hidden mobile in their pockets.  I am really clear in my advice to them: TURN YOUR PHONE OFF DURING AN INTERVIEW. And yet I worry that they don’t understand how important it really is.

I tell them the story of the bright law graduate who finally secures an interview at a top law firm. During the interview her phone rings and, to the horror of the interviewer, she takes the call. “Did she get the job?”, the wide eyed school students ask. To use their vernacular – obvs not!

Two aspects of the phone discussion concern me. Firstly, why don’t people expect to use normal good manners when a phone is concerned? It is rude to take a call when you are in a formal discussion with another person – if that moment isn’t important enough to you for you to turn off the phone why should the other person invest any attention or interest in it either? Secondly, I wonder if mobile phones haven’t become some kind of security blanket or comforter. When you have your phone on you know you are connected to the world, you can call people, they can call you and you can find out anything you want. The old advertisement for Stand cigarettes comes to mind – you’re never alone with a mobile phone…  “What if someone is dying?” the children ask. I feel old and sad because I know that life ultimately doesn’t depend on the calls you can’t take.


“It is well, when in difficulties, to say never a word, neither black nor white. Speech is silver but silence is golden.”
Muriel Spark, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie