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#BelshawBlackOps13 has started

As this post goes live I’ll be relaxing with my family in Gozo, a tiny island in the Mediterranean. It’s a wonderful place to recover from the madness of MozFest – as well as being an apt start to a hiatus from personal email, blogging and social networking that I’ve come to term ‘Black Ops’.

I did announce this a couple of weeks ago so I hope it doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

In previous years my Black Ops period has been the month of December. This year, for various reasons, I’ve decided to be ‘away’ for both November and December. Two whole months. 16.7% of the year. 61 get-ups.

While I’m making no promises for what I’ll get up to during this period of being more intentionally analogue, I’m intending it to involve a lot of writing and reflecting. I’ll also be spending more time with my family and maybe even moving house. You can see what I got up to last year here.

So in order to manage expectations, until 2014 I won’t be:

  • looking at or responding to personal emails
  • active on social networks
  • publishing new blog posts
  • sending out newsletters
  • moderating comments

If you need me for work-related things during Black Ops I’m contactable via my Mozilla email address (which is easy enough to find/guess). And if you need my phone number, you’ve already got it.

I hope you have a wonderful rest of the year. Thank you very much for reading this blog in 2013!


I was interviewed about this for the BBC Radio 5 Live ‘Outriders’ podcast, available here [MP3]. Skip to 10:20 if you want to hear me discuss the ideas in this post further!

#BelshawBlackOps12 has started – see you in 2013!

I’m composing this sitting cross-legged with my back to the wall in a hotel room in Porto. There’s an occasional gentle breeze that drifts through the open window that slightly chills the back of my neck. I expected Portugal to be warmer for some reason.

The cacophony of seagulls behind outside fades into the background as the sound of church bells fills the air. An earlier glance out of the window showed people getting ready for the day. They take for granted the magnificent, tall buildings with tiled facades; it’s no wonder the centre of Porto is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I’m going to spend the entire month of December being a lot more analogue. I’m really looking forward to spending that time increasing my mindfulness. I’ll still be performing my normal work functions for Mozilla, but will tend towards paper to get things done. Meanwhile, I’ll not be using technology for personal communications.

This means:

  •  I’m not looking at or responding to personal emails
  •  I won’t be active on social networks like Twitter or Google+
  •  No new blog posts or weekly newsletters in December

I intend to spend time with my family and read books that have been recommended to me. This digital hiatus is something I’ve done for the past couple of years and would highly recommend to anyone. At a time when I’m feeling slightly weary and cynical about the world it’s a period of rejuvenation that allows me to start the New Year with a bang.

See you in 2013! 🙂

Image CC BY NASA Goddard Photo and Video

[INCOMING] #BelshawBlackOps12

For the past couple of years I’ve undertaken Belshaw Black Ops. It’s the name Paul Lewis gave to my personal digital hiatus lasting for the month of December. I live in such a fast-paced online world for the other eleven months of the year that I need some time to take it all in!

You can read about what I got up to last year here.

This post is a heads-up to say that during December I won’t be:

I’d hoped not to be travelling either, but my job at the Mozilla Foundation evangelising Open Badges necessitates me going to a few places. Unless you’re also in those locations, the only way of getting hold of me is via my work email. Ask me for it ASAP if you need it!

Just to confirm that I’ll still be around on Twitter and Google+ for the next couple of weeks as well as blogging and writing my newsletter. But after then, leave me alone for a bit, OK?

I need to recharge. 🙂

Image CC BY-NC tantek

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