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Creative Content for the Web: home pages and online diaries

0nline 1999

I wrote:

Clocks Back and Web Power

1999-11-1

1st November 1999

“Writing that is undertaken simply for the writer’s own satisfaction is often self-indulgent and rarely successful.”

I’ve currently got my head buried in “Creative Content for the Web,” by Marc Millon. Most of the notes are elsewhere, but I wanted to pick this quotation out here.

This is what most diary writers are guilty of.

Some of my most readable entries are those which for a v. short period were meant to be read by someone close. As a professional communicator who constantly tells himself and clients to understand then address the audience, am I not guilty of self-indulgence?

More from “Creative Content for the Web.”

I learn that there are over 1 million homepages. The author asks why and imagines the reason, “like Everest, because it is there. Because, quite simply it has become possible to do so. The medium itself has become an extension of our very selves and we have been changed in the process. Indeed, we probably need look no further for the raison d’être of the rise of the Homepage than the fundamental human desire to leave a mark, somewhere, anywhere, to be noticed, indeed to be an individual, not in this age of alienation, a faceless number, an employee, a nobody.

I think back to carving our names on a huge tree at prep school, Mowden Hall in Northumberland, NE England, or on desks at Sedbergh, Cumbria. Graffiti and vandalism no better than painting names on street walls, but in a rural, privileged school setting.

The author goes on to talk about diaries, what now (a few months later) we call online journals. He imagines there could be thousands. There are!

“Web Litter” is an interesting concept too.

Where sites have been left on servers, hopelessly out of date (or unfinished) eating up valuable bandwidth and attracting the attention of robot search engines.

Guided to jennicam, then to various studies of web use, which prove highly practical. There is a better way to do it. The keen online writer who is getting feedback will discover the techniques put forward here. Corporate users, limited to sharing corporate speak should follow these guidelines.

http://www.useit.com concludes that web content needs to be ‘concise, scannable and objective.” Jakob Neilsen.

So do I feel enlightened?

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