Meddling on the web

A thought: I’ve been doing things on the net for pretty much 20 years. It started in 1994-96 with the world wide web when I was still in high school.

It meandered to a point where I have this quasi-blog. I was asked, accepted and then declined, being the Web Champion for my current workplace. And, I’m contemplating starting my own website — again.

My work on the web started in 1996 and 1997. I didn’t have the tools or confidence in myself to relate with others in person. So, I would spend time at the library at college chatting and designing websites. They were crude, as everything was, back in the late 1990s. It all started with GeoCities, the old-school free website creator and it was a day and age before templates.

It was as basic of an HTML page as you could get, and that’s what I had. Embarrassingly, it revolved around my affinity for Metallica, then sports logos, and God knows what else. Thinking back, it was pretty sad. Because the amount of space I had, or was given, I registered at several sites. I think I had a Fortune City site, too.

Once I got into working for the newspaper business, I let the website go (see, I have a track record of neglecting web-based stuff). It wasn’t until I recovered the usernames and passwords that I began to see what I was up to, download what I had and delete the sites.

Because of the advent of JavaScript, and because I was only proficient in real basic HTML, I gravitated away. And I went to blogging. First, it was a LiveJournal page that I did to help supplement the workplace in Caro. Personally, I was extremely frustrated with the lack of space and so I used the web to rectify that. I gave more than what was in the print edition for free on the newspaper website and I wrote opinion on the blog.

When I left Caro for Wisconsin, I shut off that and went to working within the confines of the website of my employer at that time. After some time, I began a sports blog for the Thumb of Michigan through Blogspot. I used it to grind an axe, but also comment on the teams and communities that I once covered. But, anonymous commentors that assassinated my character took what little fun I had left out of it. And, like here, it became a chore to update, not something fun.

Plus, my responsibilities and role at the paper in Chippewa changed. I was working with a colleague to formulate how the newspaper uses social media and what and when we should be posting. Plus, using the guidelines set forth by the corporate mothership, we came up with ways to fulfill quotas while producing what we thought was a good newspaper, both in print and online. I began to blog sports things and after a personal crisis, this blog was born.

My role, and what I do online, changed again when we came back to Michigan. Here, I adapted to the policies of my employer. I’ve also melded previous things that worked for my previous employers with what works here. I protect my and my colleagues writing of stories by encouraging readers to subscribe to the paper where the whole story is. I occasionally blog my opinions because I reserve print space for informing the readers, what I believe is my key role. And the social media policies that I helped to develop previously are implemented in the sports slice of the paper.

So what am I building toward? I’m considering starting my own website, again. A personal site, not some newsmaking site (that’s for you, big brother). It’s essentially a trial run or a test run for one of the organizations I belong to. I want to make sure the machinery as well as the bells and whistles work for my colleagues in the group. I refuse to make a recommendation about anything unless I know the look and feel of something.

Here’s an example: If I think a kid is quality enough to warrant consideration for a post-season award, say all-state, I’ll say it. But they have to pass an eye test as well as the stats. Stats alone can’t tell a story on a kid and their impact on the game or in their sport. It’s that simple.

The website host just needs to be put through its paces. That way, I can make a recommendation with a good conscience. What I do longtime with my personal website is up in the air. I don’t mind and I kind of like my blog. And I don’t miss the maintenance of my own website. So, once it’s taken through the paces, we’ll see how it goes.

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