Past it at 35? I don’t think so!

I love how Twitter helps make things actually happen.

Last night Jay Rosen put out three tweets about a forum looking for young, networked women who are using mobile to change the world. I knew without following the link that, at 45, I didn’t fit the bill but I thought that Liz Azyan and Leah Lockhart fitted the bill perfectly so I tweeted then. Lo and behold when they checked it out one of them was too old at 35!


This morning saw a flurry of activity between us, with a few others joining the conversation, all aghast that apparently digital women are washed up by 35. Needless to say we are having none of it. It’s the same as every other job or profession – you may be quicker to learn, find it easier to keep up with the latest tech and be an early adopter but what makes a role shine is having someone with a bit of life experience who is willing to learn.

So that then led to a whole Twitter conversation about mentoring and how it’s not just about the experienced person mentoring the inexperienced – it’s also about the younger person mentoring the more experienced in the latest thinking. This has been a recurring conversation with Leah and me and one we’ll probably keep having. But then something lovely happened – a bit of fortuitous serendipity if you will.

I’m going to London for a Socitm Better Connected seminar in May but when I go to London I try to add value and do other worky things while I’m there. In the past this has included visiting FutureGov to talk about the Casserole Club, visiting the Cabinet Office to talk about nudge, visiting Neil Wholey at Westminster Council to talk about measuring sentiment and catching up with my Future Leaders mentor David Holdstock. When I go down I stay with my lifelong friend who is Head of Digital at AgeUK and we talk about digital exclusion, social media, school days, France and general cerebral nonsense. Now that I’m a facilitator on the Social Media and Online Collaboration community on the Knowledge Hub I thought it would be a wheeze to visit Michael Norton who knows all things KHub but who also works for David Holdstock. I was hoping for a meeting with Michael and a social with David so I tweeted Michael to see if he’d be around that day. Within minutes there was a meeting pencilled in with Michael, Liz Copeland and Liz Azyan, then later the night out was set-up. By the afternoon Michelle Rea had me booked in for a chat.

Anyway I gave Michael a call to see what we could get out of the meeting and I mentioned the idea of a skills database on the KHub for mentoring opportunities. Turns out he’s been working on something much better and he’ll give me a walk-through at the meeting. Instead of a database it’s benchmarking so you benchmark yourself then identify someone who’s at the level you want to be at and approach them to be your mentor. It sounds like a plan so let’s get to work and make this happen so that no other 35-year-old needs to feel past it again!

So now I’m excited about my trip. I’ve put the call out on Twitter to another couple of people I want to meet up with and I’ll have to email another who’s a virtual Luddite.

Today I have learned:

  • no matter what the technology, there will always be room for serendipity
  • car racing games are always rubbish without a proper steering wheel

Today’s track

I always sing ‘My mother was a sailor’ – don’t know why.

Today’s recipe

Home made baked beans


1 packet of chorizo, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 stick of celery, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 tins chopped tomatoes

2 tins beans, borlotti, canellini, pinto, your choice

1 tsp black treacle

black pepper

Method: Heat a deep pan and fry the chorizo till crisp and the orange juices are starting to escape. Add the onion, celery and carrot and cook for 5 minutes (you can add a little oil if it needs it).

Add the tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes. Add the beans and cook for another 10 minutes.

Add the treacle and black pepper then check and adjust the seasoning. Serve with thick buttered slices of sourdough toast.


  1. Susan Collini (@SusanCollini) · April 26, 2013

    Enjoyed being part of the conversation on Twitter yesterday. I find it interesting that ageism seems to be infiltrating online debate, going against a central concept of inclusiveness underpinning online interactions.

  2. The Cowboy Online · April 26, 2013

    Really? In this day and age, and by that I mean in this time of embracing inclusiveness and equality, we still have people and organisations targeting young people? Presumably this is because they’re expected to have the energy and passion that ‘only’ comes with youth?

    What utter rubbish but, to my thinking, this biggest issue with this approach is that such people, while having been brought up with digital technology, don’t have the life experience of using such technology to meet real world, and real world, problems.

    People like myself, who would admittedly fail on the gender requirement – another issue itself, and people like Liz, Anke and others, is that we’ve got the experience with digital platforms plus the experience of the real issues people are facing and how new technology might meet those challenges.

    I think it is right to seek out those who have grown up digitally enabled, but the conversation will have a lot more value if it includes those who have worked with businesses and organisations, understand their challenges, and have embraced modern technologies as part of the toolkit when discussing solutions and approaches.

    • carolynemitchell · April 26, 2013

      Hear! Hear!

      • The Cowboy Online · April 26, 2013

        Why do I only ever spot the mistakes after clicking “post comment”? Assuming you’re able to, would you kindly edit my reply so that;

        “the energy and passion that ‘only’ comes with you?”


        “the energy and passion that ‘only’ comes with youth?”

        There is some other twisting and mangling of the language going on in my reply, but I think the gist has survived it.

  3. travellingcoral · April 27, 2013

    Reblogged this on travellingcoral and commented:
    Don’t you just love ageism?

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