Update: you need to look at Big Smoke and my personal site for my latest work. Thanks.
A few eagle-eyed regular readers have pointed out to me that I haven't blogged in a while. I know. In fact there has been a three-week gap. That's the longest gap there has ever been in this blog's entire history - including the time I had pneumonia - and every high and low of my life over the last four and a bit years.
To be precise I'm archiving the old girl. This is the very last post and in a couple of weeks I'll turn off the comments - and that will be that.
It's been fun but I'm moving on. I've set up a Jim Jepps website where you can keep up with any interesting bits of news, articles I've written and projects I'm supporting. I've got a few things in the pipeline so watch that space!
If there are two thoughts I'd like to leave with I suppose it's these. First, that the internet can be a civilised place if people treat it in the same way that they treat their own day to day 'meatspace' lives. That means the same self-regulation and the same willingness to not put up with the kind of behaviour that at work or among friends would be unthinkable but appears to be commonplace in some places on the net.
I think writing this blog has proved to me at least that it is possible to disagree with someone on the net without demonising them and to be critical of your friends without falling out.
The second is that the best of the web is where people think, not where people are fastest with the news. The blogosphere is full of people blogwarring with each other, jumping up to comment on the news the moment it comes out and knee jerking their politics just so they get in first. That's pretty unhealthy and it's led to parts of the blogosphere mirroring the worst parts of the 24-hour media rather than enhancing it or, even better, holding it to account.
I think we need to be more conscious of the risks of becoming an echo-chamber caught in a self-referential circle.
Twitter allows us to, for example, name a Tory MP arrested for sexual assault within an hour of it happening. What it does not seem to allow for is to not out that person until we know whether any charges will actually be brought. In our daily lives gossip is seen as a bad thing, and gossips are people we are generally wary of - much of social media encourages us to unthinkingly exhibit behaviour that most of us would regard as reprehensible in other circumstances.
Why else would a perfectly decent person serving jury duty think it's perfectly acceptable to contact someone whose case they've heard about a co-defendant? That's something I'm sure she would never have dreamed of doing before the ubiquity of social media but, in reality, is just as wrong as walking up to them face to face and discussing the, as yet unfinished, case.
I'm just thinking aloud really; it's hardly as if I've personally come a cropper of any of these tendencies nor have they been a theme of this blog particularly, but I am concerned at how the medium is distorting how we do politics and what we think is decent behaviour. The fact that these new technologies seem to by-pass that area of the brain where our integrity lies is a tendency I firmly believe we can counter if we work together to do so.
At least that's the way it seems to me.
Returning to the subject of signing off though, it's been an educative experience. I first set the blog up as a purely temporary measure as I wanted to test whether I could write a post a day for a month, but at the end of the month it was oh so easy to carry on. And here we are. It turns out that once you have momentum it's easier than you'd think.
Thanks to all the lefty, greeny, decent people who've been following The Daily (Maybe) for the last few years. Do stay in touch and good luck with the future - we're all going to need it.