For those of us in the UK who are self-employed, this is a peculiar time of year. We may want to splash out on Christmas but the dreaded tax return lurks, due at the end of January. A conscience-pricker just when you don’t need it.
This has been a great year here in terms of interest, stimulation and fun (and any bandits who were involved and who are reading this – thanks) – and I am grateful to have kept earning. Some gifted and vastly experienced friends have hardly: the downside of being freelancers, supplying people development in a down economy.
What I’ve loved more than anything this year is proof of ‘glocalization’, that is opportunity and potential for us to engage more deeply and vividly at local and global levels.
The Olympics ceremony was a fine example of this. While much of the world puzzled at Britian’s preoccupation with playing doctors and nurses, SirNot Danny Boyle showed how quirky, creative, compassionate and funny we Brits can be.
Meanwhile in Wales, Tony Dowling brought over Mark Schaefer, a US social media guru and we all had grand fun talking at the Celtic Manor Hotel. Craig Lockwood brought amazing speakers from Google, Facebook and Microsoft to Cardiff at the Handheld Conference – but also included substantial local representation. And Joel Hughes – through his Port 80 conference and free host events – gave web developers and designers in Wales the sort of learning rarely experienced in Newport, possibly…
In WordPress Users Wales our meet-ups were more modest, but thanks to collaboration with Software Alliance Wales we had a fab turn-out at our Swansea event on Building Engagement with WordPress.
This year I fell in love with Quora and Slideshare. If you’re a learning geek about anything, you can find local and global satisfaction here. They epitomize best use of the web imho.
Some of you know I work from a cowshed in a field in rural South Wales. And my books, fiction and non-fiction are rooted in the local. For the first time this year they’ve reached readers globally, notably in the US (a market my previous traditional publishers never cracked) thanks to self-publishing. The thrill of producing a book entirely yourself and getting it to people across the world is immense – if you’ve the slightest inclination, I do urge you to try it.
And for any of you feeling jaded at this time, or seeking inspiration to start 2013, then I’ll say this.
We are living in quite extraordinary times and the web gives us unprecedented opportunity to connect and learn locally and globally. Creating a tech start-up may be easier in New York or London – but for those of us with more modest ambitions…well, wherever we are, we can share with the like-minded.
As human beings we have far more in common with one another than we have differences and now we can act on this. Cause for joy and celebration.
Thanks for your attention this year and have a good one.