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Happy Birthday Diet Justice!

It's 11am, and by saying that i've just started the 'birthday edition' blog post in the same way that i started the first ever blog post 12 months ago. This time i don't have any essays due, and i'm not 'officially' procrastinating...despite my entire life being one big procrasto-sesh. The past year has honestly been the hardest year of my life, and i think the 384 blog posts have sub-textually reflected that. My articles have been a mixture of two parts of my life. Sometimes they have been about politics, law, police or ethics, and acted as a distraction. Other times they have been a way of me venting my various frustrations. Either way, this blog has helped me through a difficult year and i'm both proud of what i have achieved (despite the curse of the lower case 'i', and the chronic overuse of cat pictures), and thankful for those who have supported me. Now i've put DJ into some sort of personal context, i make no apologies for this particular article sounding a bit like a Kate Winslet Golden Globes acceptance speech...sorry! ;-)

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Lets hit some statistics. In 365 days i have written 384 articles. I've gone from the occasionally confusingly named 'No Such Word As Kan't' blog, to the slightly more coherent 'Diet Justice'. DJ has grown from a 'good day' visitor count being 10, to a grand total of just under 200,000 visitors in a year. I discovered twitter, which was a bit of a watershed for my blogging career. I have gathered a respectable 3,500 followers, most of which have been carefully categorised into at least 1, but usually more, of my twitter list directory. Twitter was my first step into the wider social media world, and i have enjoyed experimenting with as many other platforms as i can get my hands on.

I'm particularly pleased with the 'hurdles' series of articles. The 'hurdles series' chart what i have learned as a blogger, and are written to help any aspiring blogger avoid the mistakes, or 'hurdles', i have had to overcome. They have become very popular in blogging circles, but i cant help but think that part of the evolution of the new blogger is to find ones own ways of overcoming the various hurdles.

The ups and downs of the last year have led to me making more serious mistakes. Highly emotional topics have sometimes led me to writing articles that have offended or upset people who did not deserve it. In particular i regret some of the words i wrote about Jon Ashworth, and Dominic Shellard. They have since been very patient with me, and im very proud to count them as two of my most influential role models.

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By blogging as a Special Constable, and a member of Police staff, i have entered a world that most colleagues see as dangerous. Despite my occasional mistakes i am very proud to be one of the first non-anonymous serving police officers/staff who have found an approach to blogging that allows me to take a critical approach to police policy without fear of retribution. This is thanks to the advice i have received from my force's new media team, and the forward thinking attitude to social media of my Chief Constable; Simon Cole. Living in fear of ones internet presence will become a thing of the past thanks to this sort of thinking. The balance between freedom of speech and upholding high personal and professional standards is a fine one at present, but as the years pass i see the two becoming more and more compatible.

My family have been particularly supportive of my blogging...here comes the Kate Winslet bit. My Dad has been the only consistently positive influence throughout my life, and anything i have achieved (blogging or otherwise) has been thanks to his support, influence, and encouragement. Without my Dad i would never have grown into the person i am today, so thanks Dad!

I hope that this article shows you that this blog has been more than just words, it has been a reflection of who i am. I hope that the next year is something for me to be equally as proud of.

What the next year holds for DJ

I've met some amazing people during year 1, and year 2 of Diet Justice will offer more opportunities to the friends who have influenced me. I have already had one 'apprentice blogger', and for the next week i will be publishing articles written by a select group of 'guest bloggers' made up of a handful of the people who have taught me the most in the last 365 days.

One guest article will be posted each day, including a couple of paragraphs written by me explaining why i chose that person to be part of DJ's 1st birthday celebrations. I want to thank them for their support over the last year, and for taking the time to write for me. Here is the line up;

Enjoy the birthday celebrations!