It has been fun to watch the web grow up over the past ten years. In the early days, (My early day’s anyway.) I would sit down at my computer and painstakingly type crazy things like:
<title>My Web Page</title>
Imagine all that just to have the screen read “Hello World” and to create a table, well start with three aspirin and begin to type.
To be honest those days were fun, creating a page or site took time and if you knew how to manipulate the html code, you had a skill set that other people wanted. Soon the WYSIWYG editors began to appear. Pagemill was my early favorite until I discovered FrontPage. A few others have been on my machines over the years but I always manage to come home to FrontPage. I guess old habits die-hard.
Is there a point in all of this? You bet, stick with me. <Smile>
When we started making web pages, we were just excited to be able to publish something that could be seen around the world. (Even today, that concept still blows my mind.) Soon, we became board with the text-based sites and programs like Shockwave and Flash began to emerge as well as web sites that were able to churn out database content in a format we could read. Many of us rushed to learn these new fancy tools.
It did not take long for fancy new splash screens to become annoying and a waist of time. I often found myself book marking the real page and bypassing that silly Flash intro all together. For the same reason, my own web sites quickly went back to basics. Black text, white background, an image here and there makes an easy to read, easy to navigate site. (By the way, I am red / green colorblind so some of those cute sites are tough to read!)
On to the crux of this post. I recently began to web log (Blog) and I wanted to use the tools we have available in my district. (Peoria Unified Schools District #11 www.peoriaud.k12.az.us) We use SharePoint Portal Server from Microsoft. Utilizing the built in discussion board tool, I was able to create my web log (http://portal.peoriaud.k12.az.us/personal/swheeler/My%20Pages/Shawn%20Wheeler) which even includes an RSS feed. Life was good. I then started looking at other web logs. (Can you see my sad face?) I caught a bad case of cool looking
web log envy.
To cure this terrible disease, I went to Blogger.com and created http://ShawnWheeler.blogspot.com. This site contains the same information as the other site. Only this one looks cool. Life was good.
Enter the RSS reader. Now that I had a web log on my districts system and a mirror that looked cool, I subscribed to each web log with my favorite RSS readers. As the two web logs updated, I realized that I had just wasted a substantial amount of time. Each web log containing the same content looked the same in my RSS reader. In addition, they looked the same in Yahoo’s reader and Google’s. Is a cool looking web log really that important?
Let me summarize this entire post this way. Years ago, I had this old boat. It was not pretty it was not fast, but, it did float, run and pull skiers. I would put it in the water next to these new shiny fast boats and I would watch those boats leave us in their wakes. Later we would pull up next to these new, fast, shiny boats at Sandy Beach. My old boat was not as fancy, but it did what it needed to do.
The moral of the story here is simple. Spend time on content, not flash. Remember content is king!
Comments are always welcome. firstname.lastname@example.org
Incidentally, due to the fact, I have advertised http://ShawnWheeler.blogspot.com to a number of people; I will continue to maintain the two sites. However, content may differ from time-to-time.