Saturday, 28 September 2019

The refreshed minimalist approach to Twitter

These days, I tend to hang around less on Twitter. Ever since Twitter ditched its 140-character limit and allowed 280 characters per tweet, for me it’s lost its early minimalist appeal. Tweets have become too long, and I feel less inclined to open my Twitter app in the evenings.

Absorbing information on Twitter

As someone who processes mentally a lot of information onscreen for work all day, I now find it hard(er) to additionally absorb information which I find on Twitter. Certain tweets are more difficult to find. This is deplorable as Twitter used to be my favourite social network, due to its easily digestible tidbits of information.

Social networking for the busy person with little time

Twitter had always been the perfect channel for the busy person with little time to trawl through the oft-impenetrable thicket of information and discussions that can be found online. In the past, tweets used to be succinct, brief and to the point – they had to be well thought out.

In Twitter’s early days, tweets had to be minimal in terms of the number of characters allowed

Fair enough, since the change was implemented on 7 November 2017, the average tweet length apparently hasn’t changed. It’s even been claimed that there has been more engagement on Twitter overall. However, I suspect I am not the only one who now feels a bit overwhelmed.

Tweeting “minimally”

I am, of course, not immune either to using many words, rather than a few, when I’m allowed to. However, brevity is still the soul of wit! I’ve therefore set myself a new tweeting approach: I will keep tweets short and simple, cut out unnecessary words, and aim to communicate using minimalist language.

In Twitter’s early days, tweets had to be minimal in terms of the number of characters allowed.  But in late 2017, Twitter ditched brevity – previously its most defining feature. In this blog post, I therefore suggest a refreshed minimalist approach to Twitter.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy my post in which I describe my original minimalist approach to Twitter (published on 22 March 2018).

Friday, 6 September 2019

Travelling like a minimalist

Who hasn’t yet savoured the lightness of living in a hotel room temporarily with just a few things packed into a suitcase? Regardless of whether we’re minimalists or not, when we’re travelling, surely we all experience the sense of satisfaction of living minimally for a while. The freedom that comes with not being surrounded by “stuff” (as many of us are at home) is just incredible!

The benefits of packing lightly

It’s that moment when you realise that you really don’t need that much to live and be genuinely happy. It’s a feeling which I, when I’m travelling, deeply relish. It was in fact the frustration with heavy luggage that set me off on the minimalism route back in April 2014. These days, I don’t lug much stuff around with me any more!

Packing lightly includes choosing mainly things that could fulfil several purposes

Packing lightly has resulted in the pleasurable consequence that I’ve come to enjoy travelling much more. Packing lightly includes choosing mainly things that, in theory, could fulfil several purposes. Example: I pack running shoes that don’t look too flashy, which I can wear for running, but also (in case a second pair of shoes should be needed) as ordinary walking shoes.

The minimalist way: Going digital

The BDÜ course in Forlì which I attended recently was excellent for a whole host of reasons. For example (and to stick with my minimalism theme), we were provided with the course materials in the form of files to which we could add our own notes using computers that had been set up for this purpose. And the files were immediately transferable either to our own storage media or uploadable to our cloud storage spaces. No piles of paper to lug home afterwards!

After my course in Forlì, I spent one night in Bologna and participated in an early-morning sightseeing run with Bologna by Run. It was already my second running tour in Bologna this year (this time with Andrea, last time with Alessandro), which just goes to show what an amazing experience it is!  I highly recommend sightseeing running tours: they’re slightly more expensive than “normal” guided tours, but worth every cent!

Guided running tours are slightly more expensive than “normal” guided tours, but worth every cent!

Combining several activities into one

As a minimalist, I love combining several activities into one, and my sightseeing run with Bologna by Run provided another opportunity to do exactly that: I was able to combine sightseeing, running, and (especially useful for me!) practising more Italian.

Minimalist and runner Anthony Ongaro recently noted: “I’m pretty certain running is the simplest form of exercise for most able-bodied humans. It’s as organic as it gets. Some bodies are made better for it than others, but I don’t think there’s anything that really gets simpler than that.” (Read the whole interview on the Run With Less blog by Grant Milestone.) And it is one of the reasons why I, too, love running. It’s so minimal!

Capturing the fleeting, beautiful moments

As a minimalist, I also consciously enjoyed the small moments during my “CPD mini-holiday” – however fleeting they may have seemed: savouring the taste of “real” Italian espresso; taking in the beauty of Piazza Aurelio Saffi in the centre of Forlì during an extremely mild evening; or the moments in the company of all the friendly people around me.

Minimalists, whether on holiday or at home, treasure experiences more than things

Minimalism in its essence is about being, not having. And I am all for becoming aware of the present moment and living in it. It’s not a state that we find ourselves in naturally as our thoughts tend to drift (often needlessly).

Minimalists, whether on holiday or at home, treasure experiences more than things. This is why spending money on experiences, rather than things, makes a lot of sense to minimalists. And the joy of travelling can be increased by minimalist means: by packing lightly, going digital or fully relishing those little moments!

I have since discovered that guided running tours have popped up and become popular in other cities, too. A few weeks ago, I participated in this guided running tour with Sean from Aye Run, exploring the sights and sounds of Glasgow, another beautiful city rich with history and culture: