Monday, 17 June 2013

Day 407 - the magic of the interweb

Welcome to the first of the every day posts I promised. Yes, it's late at night, but it's still the day after yesterday. I was determined to keep my word even if it meant staying up until 23.59, and I've made it, however quickly the day has flown by. It's amazing what one can find to while away the time when one has nothing to do, especially with the prevalence of the internet in our contemporary society - and that's what I'm writing about tonight.

Now, as is evidenced by the paucity of publications to this blog, I'm not a major techno-fundi (a South African term, sorry Brits!). I'm hardly ever on Facebook, I have a flip-phone with no internet access, which isn't even manufactured anymore, and my Twitter account was kept fiercely private until it became my main platform for this mission. In fact, I'd quite happily be utterly uncontactable except by letter, so do not by any means consider this post as a homage to the likes of Google...*cough* tax-dodgers *cough*. I am also extremely aware of the threats and dangers posed by our current level of (social)media saturation, such as the increased amounts of cyberbullying and trolling.

All this notwithstanding, my aim tonight is to highlight some of the positive potential of this technological expansion and growth, and the speed at which it is occurring. The thing is, however much of a neo-luddite I might profess myself to be, I owe an awful lot to the presence of technology within my life. If not for sophisticated computers, I couldn't even get around independently, because that's essentially what my wheelchair is driven by. Slightly less fundamentally (though not really, since I've just finished an English and Theatre degree) the online availabilty of academic journals has allowed me to circumvent the fact that I physically can't fit between the shelves of the Warwick library without fear of getting trapped. Perhaps most pertinent to this mission, the internet has allowed me to write this blog, without which I would have been unable to share my story, to raise awareness for Starlight, and to raise funds on my JustGiving page. The latter point brings me back to the end of my last post, where I stated that the updates over the next month would consist partly of gratitude towards those I have yet to mention - because all this focus on technology has been a preamble to just that.

It is possible to leave comments on blogposts, a feature I have come to appreciate immensely, because it has not only provided me with tangible evidence of the support of my readers, but has allowed me to forge new relationships. Some months back I received a comment from an IT consultant named Jonathan Cordwell, who works for a technological business solutions company called CSC. He expressed interest in my story, and it soon transpired that they were looking for a Warwickshire-based charity to support, as a team from the company would be competing in the UK Corporate Games this July - the events of which are to be held at Warwick. So he wanted to collaborate with me on fundraising, and add their efforts to mine!

I was amazed at the generosity of his idea and, consequently, the powers of the internet. We have never met, the company knows nothing more of me than what I post here, but they still wish to donate and support me - a kindness which I am sure I will never truly repay. The games are on 6th July, by which time I will have been kicked out of campus accommodation, and I won't be there in person to express my thanks. So, whilst I have been working with Starlight to create a few little surprises for the team (some of which they may already have received), I wanted to use one of these, my posts in the final month, and offer it as yet another token of my gratitude - to team CSC as a whole, but to Jonathan in particular for getting in touch, those many months ago. I really can't thank you enough - I only wish I could do so face to face but, since the internet brought us together, perhaps it is apt that this is how I now send you my support, and cheer you on at the upcoming games.

Go Team CSC!       

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