The Digital Conversationalist

Andrea T Edwards

#34 Weekend reads – the positive side of social media has been on display

Christmas is done for another year, and while we missed the opportunity to share it with family, we had great friends over for some seasonal cheer, which was lovely. Christmas in the tropics is always good fun, because nothing beats a midnight swim.

Still, things were a little muted. We’ve experienced a surge of Covid19 in Thailand in the last couple of weeks, so while it’s been one of the best places in the world to ride out this pandemic, we have had to acknowledge the need to reduce celebrations for Christmas and the New Year. It’s hard to complain though, when we’ve been freer than most during this challenging year.

We will get through however. The tough times aren’t over for sure, and there is more heartache ahead, but the light is at the end of the tunnel now. Keep the faith my friends, keep the faith. If we all do what we need to do, at the same time, for as long as is needed, we can break the chain. A true global roll-out of the vaccine will do the rest. It’s all coming.

I talk a lot about the positivity and beauty of social media – because the negative side is well known and discussed – and these last few days have shown it in all its glory. Smaller celebrations, all over the world, with people sharing photos of their moments together, making us all feel a little bit more connected even though we are apart. That’s what it’s all about! It’s why I love it so much.

Shout out to Priscilla Joseph

A final end of year thank you to the amazing Priscilla Joseph. Priscilla and I used to work together at Microsoft and I always found her an incredible professional and a wonderful person. When she set up her Virtual Assistant company – PeachesVA – I leapt at the chance to work with her again.

All of the links below to my weekend reads are compiled by Priscilla and she gets messages from me 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as I send her links for the next week’s reads. I’ve consistently asked her to tell me if I’m annoying the hell out of her, but she assures me it’s OK.

So if you are looking for a VA, or short term support on important projects, I really couldn’t recommend Priscilla highly enough. She’s terrific. Thanks for all you do for me my friend. I’d be lost without you.


I will continue to share charity links, because 2021 is going to be a year of real need for people in rich and poor countries. If you are still working, please donate where it makes sense to you, or to the UN Refugee Program and World Food Program. There is also PowerOf  which is worth checking out. Another organization I adore is

If we can all pull together to get through this time together, we will be better positioned to face the future together out the other side. It’s what we’ve all needed to do all year – to come together. Our challenges are not national, they are global. Too many leaders do not see this.

Content to read

And here’s the content I’ve been reading this last week. Scan the headlines, read the ones that jump out at you, read or watch them all. Knowledge is power, and global knowledge is even more powerful.

Climate Crisis / 6th Mass Extinction

Plastic clean-up brings crocodiles back to Indian river

Biden Calls Climate Change ‘Existential Threat of Our Time’ tks Susanna Hasenoehrl

Forests in Brazil emitting more carbon than they absorb due to climate change: Study

Lloyd’s market to quit fossil fuel insurance by 2030 tks Ali Davis


The wealthy scramble for COVID-19 vaccines: ‘If I donate $25,000 … would that help me?’

4 Things Parents Learned From Their Kids in 2020

Covid: EU launches mass vaccination in ‘touching moment of unity’

New coronavirus variant: What do we know?

Post-exposure antibody protection trialled

As Virus Resurges in Africa, Doctors Fear the Worst Is Yet to Come

People Thought Covid-19 Was Relatively Harmless for Younger Adults. They Were Wrong. tks David Lim

No ‘Negative’ News: How China Censored the Coronavirus

Covid: WHO in ‘close contact’ with UK over new virus variant

THAILAND2 local Covid cases reported today- Bangkok and Ayutthaya

Study reveals UV LED lights effectively kill a human coronavirus tks Claude Cajella

Why Sydney is facing a super-spreading disaster

First shipment of COVID-19 vaccines arrives in Singapore

Latest news from the Samut Sakhon Covid-19 outbreak

Coronavirus: EU urges countries to lift UK travel bans

For Europe, It’s Wave After Wave

Vatican says coronavirus vaccines ‘morally acceptable’

IHME COVID-19 Projections

France rewards frontline immigrant workers with citizenship

Queen spends Christmas apart from family

Phuket’s Covid Crisis – no tourists for high-season – tks Steve Johnson – although I disagree that Phuket is completely closed to tourists. The areas with permanent residents are still open for business – Boat Avenue, Boat Lagoon and Phuket Town are open. Patong and further south is definitely empty and closed. It’s heart-breaking to witness the impact here, and it definitely makes the challenges people face – because of this crisis – very real.

Global Politics

Cancelling America’s Reality Show

The real plot of this year is important people failing everyone else tks Phillipa Edwards

Brexit Is Finally Done, but It Already Seems Out of Date

Trump Weighed Naming Election Conspiracy Theorist as Special Counsel

Trump contradicts Pompeo in bid to downplay massive hack of U.S. government, Russia’s role

Ivanka Trump, Famed Public Health Expert, Screened CDC Guidance to Make Sure It Was Nice to Her Dad

Brexiters left stunned after several EU countries demonstrate easy control of their own borders tks Benjamin Jenkins

Trump’s actions show he’s still only out for himself

Trump discussed ‘bringing military in to overturn election result’ and calls for ‘wild’ protest on 6 January

Is Trump Cracking Under the Weight of Losing? tks Frank Roberts

Feds have discussed making a legal request for Giuliani’s electronic communications, say two sources

A President Unhappy, Unleashed and Unpredictable

Trump vetoes ‘unconstitutional’ defence bill

This tweet got some very interesting responses. A thread worth reviewing.

Business and Technology

Number of Journalists Killed for Their Reporting Doubled in 2020

The casualties of this year’s viral conspiracy theories

A failed study shows a promising treatment for blindness

Nine-year-old boy from Texas is highest-paid YouTuber, earning $40m tks Shaun Mcewan

Stop trusting your gut – the heading does not reflect the depth in this piece. Worth a read

Social issues (#BlackLivesMatter) and humanity

Remembering some of the artists, innovators and thinkers we lost in the past year.

The Journalist and the Pharma Bro – Barry Graubart

Punch After Punch, Rape After Rape, a Murderer Was Made

Karima Baloch: Pakistani rights activist found dead in Toronto

Chrissy Teigen ‘sad she will never be pregnant again’

Passion, humour, history

The Next 3 Months Are Going to Be Pure HellMcDonald’s launches a bizarre new burger with Spam, OREOS and a creamy sauce – so would you try it? tks Frank Roberts

Octopuses Observed Punching Fish, Perhaps Out of Spite, Scientists Say

Wonder Woman 1984 ‘fills you with wonder’

New Findings on Santorini Point to “Lost Island of Atlantis” Origins tks Domenica DeCrea

Widowed penguins hug in award-winning photo

And with my last Weekend Reads of 2020, I want to wish everyone a very happy New Year. I know it won’t be what we want it to be, but 2021 is going to be a better year. It will not be smooth running, we have dark Covid days to get through still, but we know things will turn around and hopefully, we can be with the people we want this time next year.

Until then, stay safe, get outside to breath fresh air, wash your hands, wear a mask (even if you think it’s over) and let’s do all we can to keep each other safe until this pandemic is over.



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