Twickerati Takes A Break

ice-cream-van-twickenham-twickerati
Hello everyone. I want to share some news with you hence abandoning the pretentious first person plural style and going straight to the first person singular. This is the 501st posting on this blog and it’s one of the more important ones.

When I started twickerati in May 2010 I didn’t really know what to expect. I just felt there was an opportunity for someone relatively normal to witter on about Twickenham. Someone who was not linked to any political party, local society or interest group and who wasn’t even the sort of person who wrote regular letters of complaint to the Richmond and Twickenham Times, laudable as those things are. There was a lot going on in 2010: the future of the Riverside, shops opening and closing, the planned station redevelopment, schools issues and so on. In the first few months I got very few hits on the site. A mere handful, if the hand in question belonged to a small child. Then one day someone posted a comment on one of my stories and then someone else did. Thank you Maria, thank you Chris. I began to realise that it was not just family and close friends who were following my ramblings but that other people were actually reading them out of choice rather than loyalty. Amazing! Ditto for Twitter and Facebook. In those early days I thought I’d be happy if I got one thousand page views a month on the blog and one hundred Twitter followers. Fast forward five years and the site now gets over 5,000 views a week from an audience of nearly 2,000 locals. Often more. On Twitter, @twickerati now has over 9,000 followers… although you can of course buy that number for about $100 if you really care about such trivial things.

Most of those Twickenham issues from the early days are still relevant and continue to be the subject of heated debate in our town. However, after five years of posting fresh items once or twice a week and tweeting several times a day I’ve decided to scale things back. It’s just too time consuming given other things going on: family life, the day job, building work (maybe), other hobbies, and basically just life in general. There’s no money in local blogging, I can vouch for that, although had twickerati generated even a trickle of income I might see things differently. Has it all just been a massively time consuming hobby? A bit of fun? An addiction? A labour of love? A millstone and a bind? Yes, it’s been all of those things at different times and sometimes all of them at once.

“Boring. Get to the point”, I hear you cry. Well the point is that I will be cutting right back on new postings and closing existing threads to new comments. Perhaps I’ll dabble with the occasional High Street Update, opinion piece or write something about the Rugby World Cup. I just don’t know yet but I didn’t want twickerati to become one of those websites which just stops or becomes totally rubbish without any explanation. You deserve better.

It’s been great creating something that people seem to enjoy and I’ve met some fantastic people along the way. A few of you even wrote pieces for the site so thank you again for those. And hell, some of your comments have made me laugh too – plenty of them for the right reasons and some of them for the wrong ones.

This isn’t necessarily a complete end to twickerati but it’s the end of it in its current format and I’m certainly going to enjoy taking a bit of a break from it. Well, at least I think I am.

So, if you do want to know when a new post is published your best bet is to sign up for email subscriptions (there’s a box on here somewhere) and that will save you the trouble of returning time and again to the same tedious, unchanging page. The twickerati@gmail.com email will still be valid but please don’t take offence if your requests for publicising X, Y or Z gets ignored or if I take a while to reply to any other messages. It’s nothing personal.

Tweeting will be cut right back too. If you want to get in touch you can always find my other account on Twitter for the occasional tweet about football, running, cycling, Twickenham and other life-affirming matters. It’s here.

In the meantime, get yourselves hyped up and ready for Twickenham Festival (maybe we’ll meet there for a beer or two?), fresh arguments about the Riverside and town square developments, Heathrow battles, more El Brute shenanigans and a whole bunch of new shops opening and then closing down again. It’s what we all love about living here isn’t it?

I’ve really enjoyed the last five years of turning out regular Twickocentric updates and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them. So, for the short term at least, thank you so much for your support Twickenham, it’s been a blast.

Russell

 

UPDATE 19/05/15:
Wow! Thank you for all you kind words, advice and suggestions. I really do appreciate them. I have said above that I hope this is not a complete end to the blog and I will consider some of the ideas you’ve made although I won’t be leaping into anything straightaway. Just to address a few of the points raised.

Would I consider a collaborative thing? Yes, but as you’ve seen above, it’s a time consuming enterprise and previous requests for contributions have generated a bit of interest but only occasional end product. Regular writing is quite a commitment. I’d also want to ensure the ‘ethos’ of the site remained even if writers’ styles differ.

Can these things make any money?  I have generated some money (about £1,500 in total) for charities Spear & Shooting Star Chase but as many a ‘real’ business knows, turning site views into any kind of regular money can be hard work. And of course the returns get smaller if they get split several ways. Sponsorship? Maybe but it needs to not affecting the editorial, he said whilst enjoying a delicious, refreshing Twickenham Ale.

Anyway, I don’t want to give too much thought to new ideas immediately but if people are serious about getting involved in something new then a pub-based discussion might be appropriate in a while.

Thank you all once again and bye for now.

111 Comments

Filed under Local Issues & News

111 responses to “Twickerati Takes A Break

  1. Moving to Twickenham- have been reading your blog in preparation. What a shame if you don’t continue but bravo for such a well informed and opinionated (in the best possible sense) blog. Hope it continues in some form

  2. Louise

    Twickenham will be #Twickenhumdrum without you 😦

  3. A tragedy on the Thames

  4. twickerman

    Dear Russell,

    We had a pub-based discussion about having a pub-based discussion with you. But as many a pub-based discussion goes our recollection is a little hazy.

    We think it started along the lines of ‘Yaaaay! Three cheers for Twickerati!’

    Then we went thru various phases along the lines of ‘what the fuck are we gonna do without you and your what’s on info, high street updates, campaigning and great sense of humour.

    I seem to recall we ended with something like: We ‘love you man. Don’t stay away too long.’

    Whatever you do in future, please don’t ‘do a farage’ or a ‘landscape gardener’!

    We look forward to an occasional blog and/or tweet once you’ve had time to recover from post-election and rugby carnage fever.

    ps The response to your retirement has been truly sensational, and totally deserved. So massive congrats on winning the hearts and minds of 99.99% of your twickerati.

    pps Do you fancy having a pub-based discussion about the future and such like stuff.

    • If there’s to be a pub-based discussion, please may I come to it? Am round the corner from the Fox and handy for – well, any pub really. And I’m not slow to buy a round. Lots of love to you all xx

  5. First Vince, and now Russell! Twickers need nice people standing up for the people. Please have a rest….and then come back 🙂

  6. Sue Howes

    Totally understand why but what a large hole in Twickerati lives you will leave.

  7. I would like to add my support to the messages of thanks and admiration for Twickerati. It has been of great value as a forum for Twickenham matters and a huge bonus to have it so skilfully composed and managed. I have been involved in local things for long enough to remember “Twickenham On-line” as a previous incarnation – and how this ran up against similar problems with funding for long term sustainability.

    There seems little doubt that such a forum is a valuable community resource, but when and where will the next incarnation emerge? Will there be something left open on this site to which suggestions and signposts can be posted?

  8. Amir Tahir

    100 hits! ( ‘Ninety-nine/ And a half/ Just won’t do’ W.Pickett 1941-2006).
    But still only one encore, Russell. can’t you hear the feet stamping?

  9. Ben Makins

    Russell, sad news indeed, but completely respect your right to take a break and follow other interests. We do tend to lean on a few people to do the heavy lifting for us and take it all for granted. Tell me about it; I’ve still got scars from 2 Radnor Gardens Music Days and that was enough for me!! So, off you go in your big yellow taxi, “We don’t know what we’ve got ’til it’s gone”!

  10. Sally

    Twickerati. I don’t want to play upon guilt here. OK, I do.
    Have you no mercy? Don’t you know the forces of evil are gathering and we will all be fragmented and powerless?
    What will we do when Lord True unleashes his latest development plans? When the councillors are accepting hundreds of pounds of RFU freebies while protesting impartiality ? (Sorry that has already happened. ) When A certain candidate emerges from the compost heap of seclusion to argue for ID cards for ducks and jail for anybody mentioning gardening ever? When the new school is proudly proclaimed and turns out to be in the Waitrose car park?
    How else can we get in touch? Via the RTT,, that sub tabloid rag which publishes uncritical puff pieces on whatever businesses or the council do? (“This week, Lord True on why I have always done the right thing”) The Richmond magazine, that beyond satire glossy series of airport articles? (This week, where best to have your bath gold plated, how to decorate your fourth house and how to tell your cook to introduce a fusion theme”)
    How else will we learn about ourselves ? I had no idea that Alexis and I were part of a Lib Dem cell plotting to undermine the Truth, chanting from a mystic Yellow Book.Until Dorothy piped up I thought human poo in your children’s playground was something to object to. And so on.
    If we put the ice cream signal in the night sky, please consider. Ads could feature local popular businesses. The butcher the baker the landscape gardener…

  11. johnnyreilly

    I love you man. Don’t stay away too long.

  12. George

    I always enjoy reading the site and making the occasional comment. I really hope you manage to find a way to keep it going.

  13. Sazzy

    Gutted Russell. You’ve helped invigorate real community spirit and enabled us to re-connect with our emotions – cackling with laughter, indignation, sadness, anger and empathy etc etc. I think you should do a Farage given all the comments and un-resign – your public need YOU! 🙂 Have a holiday and come back refreshed!

  14. Victoria

    Ah i’ve only Lived in Twicks since October 2014 but your blog has been a fun god send, love it, will miss it and wish you well 🙂

  15. Sam and Linda

    How sad…….We’ve lived in Twixs for the last 3 years and found your website by chance and have really enjoyed getting all the local info. I’m sure your site will be very much missed by many people.

    Thanks for all your hard work over the last few years.

    All the very best for the future. Linda & Sam

  16. Wow!
    Thank you for all you kind words, advice and suggestions. I really do appreciate them. I have said I hope this is not a complete end to the blog and I will consider some of the ideas you’ve made although I won’t be leaping into anything straightaway. Just to address a few of the points raised.

    Would I consider a collaborative thing? Yes, but it’s a time consuming enterprise and previous requests for contributions have generated a bit of interest but only occasional end product. Regular writing is quite a commitment. I’d also want to ensure the ‘ethos’ of the site remained even if writers’ styles differ.

    Can these things make any money?  I have generated some money (about £1,500 in total) for charities Spear and Shooting Star Chase but as many ‘proper’ businesses know, turning site views into real, regular money can be hard work. And of course the returns get smaller if they get split several ways. Sponsorship? Maybe but it needs to not affecting the editorial, he said whilst enjoying a delicious, refreshing Twickenham Ale.

    Anyway, I don’t want to give too much thought to new ideas immediately but if people are serious about getting involved in something new then a pub-based discussion might be appropriate in a while.

    Thank you once again and bye for now.

  17. jbuzza

    Twickerati has become a really great source of info and comment so sorry to hear of this. The discussion on the most recent topic on the Rugby 7’s being a case in point. Big thanks though as I can imagine it has been a lot of work. Is there any way the effort could be shared ?

  18. Amir Tahir

    It seems very odd to me that this thread contains not one post representing the views of Twickenham’s oft-overlooked but not-to-be-ignored Paranoid Community. This is clearly another instance or incidence or incident (I always mix them up) of the censorship which secretly operates in our midst unbeknownst to all but the enlightened few. Most readers of this blog seem content to demonstrate their gullibility by lending credence or credibility or credulity (I mix them up too) to so-called ‘Russell’s’ so-called ‘reasons’ for so-called ‘retiring’ when it’s blindingly obvious that the 99% of commenters that he oh-so-clearly sides with about Free Schools, over-population, RFU, Lord True and dog-poo have simply LOST THE ARGUMENT.

    ‘Time’ and ‘money’ he says. Rubbish. Surely we local Paranoids, the people Who Have Not Spoken Yet, can’t be the only ones to notice that certain tempting ‘roles’ eminently suited to ‘Russell’s’ talents, have recently become not just available but very likely soon to be taken up by him. For example,
    1.Manager, Brentford FC
    2.Tania Mathias’s seat on LBRuT council
    3.Leader of the Labour party
    4.Manu Tuilagi’s position in the England World Cup squad
    5.Affable local Lib Dem national treasure
    6.Sane and rational front-person for Twickenham Ukip
    7.Sane and National Front person for Twickenham Ukip
    8.Surprise new entrant to the Big Brother House
    9.President, Waco, Texas chapter of Bandidos Motorcycle Club
    10. Executive Lead Headteacher of the new Toby Young Memorial Twickenham Free School to be opened next year (or thereabouts) in Mortlake…… or Hanwell…..or Watford ……or ….Prestatyn….or…… etc etc etc………

    Ok, ‘Russell’, we don’t intend to get in the way of your ambition and we all agreed at our support group meeting today that we couldn’t have been conspired against by a nicer guy. Good luck to you. But just remember, even though this post will never be posted, just like all those others which mysteriously disappeared, whatever the 99% are prepared to believe, we Paranoids know where you’re REALLY going ………..

    • You claim not to know the difference between ‘incidence’, ‘instant’ and ‘incident’ (no access to a dictionary, pet?) and yet expect us to read this and take it seriously? Bless.

    • Anonymous

      Take it seriously, Ms A? Er, no. Did you miss the 429 clues?
      Bless ……..

    • Anonymous

      Missing the point is one thing; doing it so sourly , quite another.

    • Emma B

      Second bottle syndrome?

    • Sorry – seems I misinterpreted. Not the only thing I got wrong yesterday so I guess it was One of Those Days. I’m not a Paranoid but yesterday felt I might be heading that way. On a slightly different topic – maybe we could have a Twickerati (or whatever name anyone fancies) Yahoo Group? I’m not techie enough to sort it from scratch but I bet lots on here are. I’m a member of a few already and they seem to work well. xx

  19. Anonymous

    Shame. It’s really quite good.

  20. Nooooo! Thank you for setting the gold standard in how to tweet and blog and how to exit so very gracefully. Well done and I hope someone picks up the Twickenham baton one day soon.

  21. Anonymous

    Thank you Russell – it’s been brilliant to read over the years. A neighbour

  22. Sally

    Hang on Twickerati, a message has just come through from a Mr B Edwards…gosh, 48 pages..mostly legal threats and general bullying ..hang on..ah yes.
    He says that as an Expert Scientist ,Business Leader , Economist and the world’s most fabulous man he would be only too happy to lead Twickerati and explain to us all what we have got wrong . He adds that when David Attenborough said in his recent lecture that migrating species brought beauty and variety to the UK he meant “I agree with Barry”. He adds that any mention of gardens will be banned on the site , the perpetrators will be shot and he intends to dig in his heels ion this one. Worth a whirl?

  23. Boss

    This is sad. I remember being one of the first people to comment on the Gloriana thread (sorry, that sounds a bit Barry Edwards, doesn’t it?) after seeing a sign on the kids playground in Orleans Park. Suddenly there was this whole positive movement, which your blog helped inspire. Keep it up in some shape or form, you’re part of the community.

  24. Jon

    Really appreciated the updates over the years; enjoy a deserved rest.

  25. Anonymous

    Thank you for all your tweets! Esp thanks for all your help with the Gloriana debacle. it made a real difference. Good luck with your next venture!

  26. Mark

    Oh gutted to hear, but totally understandable. i just wanted to say thank you.
    We probably all pass each other in the streets of Twickers, and being the Brits we are, avoid any eye contact or chat. It’s only here that you get a real sense of the Twickenham community which makes you feel like we belong to a group of people with (mostly!) common interests.
    You have done an outstanding job, which I hope you will rightly feel justifiably proud of after reading all these comments.
    Enjoy your break and I hope you get to appreciate the important things in life! And if I bump into you in one of the local pubs – I shall buy you a drink, sir.
    Thank you again.

  27. Nick

    Thanks for a really well curated local blog. It sets the standard for how other local blogs should be run, but rarely are. I will follow your reduced flow keenly.

  28. Hey, teddingtontown.co.uk here. I was going to say sorry to hear that, but wouldn’t want to make you feel guilty!

    This is all sounding very familiar, running a local site is a mixed bag, sometimes a thankless task, sometimes you whatever you do, some will take it for granted and always want more but overall it sounds like we both enjoy the connections we have made through running a local site and are doing it for enjoyment over anything else. You created something very special and that is clearly hugely appreciated and provides an invaluable service to the Twickenham community.

    You shouldn’t feel bad if it’s taking up too much of your time, I know that feeling and there are only so many hours in the day. You have become a victim of your own success and you should take that one word away with you.. success!

  29. Anonymous

    Sad news – I’m going to miss you! Thank so much for the posts
    Twickerati!

  30. Lindy

    Thanks so much for Twickerati – I’ve looked forward to reading what’s been going on under my nose for the past few years and have recommended it to others. Sad to see it go but good of you to share your reasons. All the best.
    Lindy Wilson

  31. Taryn

    Thanks for creating this special online space Russell and helping us all to feel more connected to our local community. I will really miss Twickerati and will look forward to the occasional post.
    If there are ever thoughts about a more collaborative venture, I’d certainly be happy to contribute.

  32. What is happening to Twickenham? First Vince gets ousted, now Twickerati is scaling back? What next – is someone going to build a block of flats on Twickenham Green? (Don’t answer that, Barry). Russell – thank you for a superb blog which I read every day and thoroughly enjoy. I honestly think that this blog made a big difference in making sure the Gloriana debacle didn’t end up with an unwanted boatshed being built, and it did so in a non-biased, local opinion empowering way. It is no mean feat to single-handedly create and oversee such a volume of engaging, entertaining and relevant content. You deserve a break, mate, enjoy! I hope Twickerati as it is can be saved / maintained… but totally respect your right to get your life back.

  33. Thank you so much for Twickerati, I will certianly miss the posts. Wit and activism are uncommon bedfellows but you managed the combination in your writing. Good luck in all future endeavours.

  34. Alexis

    My thanks to Twickerati for providing such an excellent forum. My only surprise is that you had the stamina to keep it going for so long.
    I echo all the other sentiments, apart from Dorothy’s and wonder what I am going to do now – Macrame or Needlepoint perhaps? Nevertheless I will miss getting the brickbats from those I have annoyed and the chuckles from those I have amused.
    Thank you.
    Alex(is)

  35. Amir Tahir

    The dress. Excellent, Sally! Enjoyed your stuff too.