Reg and his Rhodesian ridgeback

I want to say a huge thank-you to everybody who has made my day, almost every few days by coming here, linking to here or otherwise just being nice. I owe you a lot.

About thirty years ago, my Mum had a friend called Reg, an ex-army chappy with a gruff manner and a rhodesian ridgeback dog called Simba. It was a huge creature. But this is not about Reg, or his dog.

Actually it is somewhat about Reg, who had what I always used to think was an unusual quirk. Reg never answered his telephone when it rang. I will always remember him saying, When the phone rings, it means that a person wants to talk to me. I may not want to talk to them.

I never answer my mobile phone

As any of the very short list of people who know the number will testify, I never answer my mobile phone. I keep it always turned off and only use it on the rare occasion that I need to make a call on the road, to tell clients that I may be late, or my wife that I have landed safely. You might wonder How do you run a business or keep in touch with friends without a mobile?. The truth is I do, but on my terms, not others. I also enjoy my quiet time in the car or on trains as it allows me to either focus or let my mind wander without needing to be at the mercy of the phone. I feel sad for those people who feel the need for a Bluetooth headset to be permanently attached to one ear or another.

I may be old-fashioned or distinctly in the minority, but I have reached a point where I no longer want to be continually burdened by the needs or opinions of other people who do not share my own values or passions. I have fought many battles in my life so far and have no desire to go looking for more.

When I started this blog

When I started this blog, I did so for a number of reasons. I wanted to experiment with the medium and learn more about both the technical and social aspects of blogging. I also wanted to be involved more in the web standards area that I am still so passionate about and to share my ideas and participate in what is a wonderful part of the web industry. Oh and I also wanted to raise my professional profile, all of them fair goals.

But at that time I was also suffering after long years of depression and unhappiness and had found myself in a work environment that was miserable and stifling. I sought solace in my blog and took comfort when people, many of whom I haver never met, said positive things about my work. I used my blog as a way to bolster my confidence and mask the real issues that I was facing.

I no longer have to do that anymore. I no longer need it as an emotional crutch. Through this site and other venues I have a wonderful network of real friends, many of them web designers, around the world and also here, closer to home. When I need advice or help, I talk to them or to my family.

The real personal consequences of the blogging revolution

I am also now questioning the real personal consequences of the blogging revolution. Over the very few years since the birth of the web, and later blogs, the tools and technologies have matured but I think that how we sometimes use them, our behaviour and our consideration for others has not. Sometimes even from behind the convenient curtain of anonymity, people can make threats, personal accusations or grind their axes with little fear of the repercussions. Those affected have limited sanction and few resources to help them. Blogging and the rise of electronic media has made a huge and positive difference to many people's lives, but in the hands of the mean spirited they can wreak untold harm.

My sincere belief is that social networking is only valuable when we are sociable, that comments on blogs are valuable only when they offer constructive communication. We should always remember that we are all just people. We should ask ourselves the question Would I make this comment if the person I am addressing was sat next to me?

There are many wonderful people who write blogs or who comment on them. There are also people who abuse the privilege. Too many times I see rudeness in place of polite opinion, too many times I see negativity instead of constructive criticism, all in the name of freedom of speech or creative expression.

This is no longer a world that I want to be part of.

This will be my last entry on this blog in its current form

So I have made the decision that this will be my last entry on this blog in its current form. If you are raising a glass or high-fives to that, slow down as I'll be continuing to make a nuisance of myself in plenty of places. I have plenty up my sleeve including a brand new Stuff and Nonsense web site that has been bubbling under for several months and will be launched in a week or two. Plus a full order book of client work. So I will be writing about those projects and sharing stuff throughout the year in various different places.

If the news saddens or disappoints you in some way, I'm sorry. Hopefully we will get the chance to meet in person one day at a conference or workshop or just in the pub. I'll be the one hovering near the door needing a smoke.

I owe a lot to this blog and to you. I have met many wonderful people and have learned a huge amount from its experience. I have a wider circle of friends and professional contacts. It has been a fantastic experience.

I want to say a huge thank-you to everybody who has made my day, almost every few days by coming here, linking to here or otherwise just being nice. I owe you a lot.

Comments are off. If you'd like to say something, please email me or even pick up the phone to my studio number, it's not that hard to find and I almost always answer it.