NASA via Ron Garan/@Astro_Ron
I wish that news sites were more like bug-tracking tickets. Let me explain. It is impossible, it seems, to be able to look up the effects of Hurricane-now-tropical-storm Irene on a more global picture. What is up with that? I want to see a news site that carries each and every news story all the way out until the story itself has been resolved. It should categorize the news in order of object levels of catastrophe or good news, and it should allow for people to mark as resolved once whatever the storyline has been resolved. Maybe that’s never, but at least we’d know. I want to see it happen with all news, from the little boy who got lost to disaster striking. I’d like to then see each news story show a #tag any time.
We’re in the age of curation, yet finding out news after the American people have forgotten about it and it’s not selling papers any more has been an excruciating process. If I want to know about Bennington, Vermont, even though our local paper reported on Bennington in the initial details of the hurricane, I have to track that news story down. Surely, with all of the tagging being done and our keyword engines, someone can build a smart auto-generating news feed that automatically creates stories when I new story hits and then any additional information about that story gets added on as a new section near the top.
I foresee this being a global tool that newspaper websites can utilize and use the #tagnumber to help out the engine to grab the content. Curating news sites into a massively large news-site would be an amazing experience. If you then made that into a self-adjusting social network, someone could make big dollars.
Perhaps that’s already out there. If so, let me know so I can freaking USE it. I do not want to search across the web to find out what’s happening post-Irene. But I will, because it’s just that important to me. Also, where are the Katrina victims now? What is happening with the relief efforts there? Are they 100% restored? What’s happening with the 9/11 firefighters who aren’t invited to the memorial? Is there any social movement happening with that? Why can’t I easily find out this information in our day and age of technology.
Now, if someone takes my idea and runs with it, great, throw me a bone if you get rich.
Photo by Kevin Dooley
I saw this phrasing online once and thought, “cool. sounds beautiful.” From my very early days of being online and having my own website, the title I gave my website was “uniform DiSaRrAy” and it’s always been fitting in nearly every little nook and cranny of my life, even to this day. When I think about most of my life, I always remember this feeling of “swirl” as if the tabby-tornado ever-spinning. Some people call it “drama.” I guess so, but I don’t even know what its like without the low hum of the crouching twister.
Effects of the lifestyle I have include a lot of things like…. oh…. loosing my keys constantly. Or if its not about loosing them, its about dropping them even when I have a firm grip (oh my gosh does that ever both me!). I also twist words around when I speak, or my voice goes out right when I need it most, or all of a sudden i need paperwork that I know I’ve lost for years and it takes digging through four boxes of paper before I find it, but in the mean time I’ve found tons of treasures of paper that aren’t helping me in the moment. Or I run perpetually late to every single meeting for the day. Or I am wide awake at 4:00a.m. because I forgot to pick up my thyroid prescription and my body is revolting… thinking somehow that staying awake will help regulate things. I keep trying to tell it that its wrong, but it won’t have any of that.
So, with all of that, how do I manage? Systems. Lists. Consistency. And a little bit of swearing.
Routines are incredibly important for me to establish. If I don’t have a routine, then I loose track of the day. I keep calendar after calendar available so that I can keep track of all of my commitments and promises… when I keep them and break them. I have a specific place that I keep my keys so that I and others can find them when needed. I have to disconnect, at times, from the phone or social networks to avoid getting distracted by having this human connection with people, because otherwise I’d spend all day connecting and no time keeping my commitments. I leave the house and work at a coffee shop so that I can focus better. I make lists to check off when I start to feel like I’m a little bit crazy. Don’t worry, I haven’t heard any voices. And then finally, I allow myself to express when I feel frustrated or sad or angry or fearful. That’s probably the thing that helps the most, is not punishing myself for having human emotions in times of chaos. Mostly this method is designed for those special key-dropping moments or, you know, when I trip up the stairs.
So, how do you manage your chaos? Post and let me know!
Alright, so you’ve been hearing about this thing called the “Internet” now for like, 10 years and you’ve even ventured onto Facebook, and although you still don’t quite get it, you have finally come to terms with the fact that… YOU NEED A WEBSITE. Now the question is, “What the heck? How do I do this?”
Perhaps you invest in a mac because you’re told you can do it yourself with their tool called iWeb. Or you’ve gone out and purchased Dreamweaver, because someone said that’s what you use. Okay, now what? You could sludge through tons and tons of online tutorials on how to use these tools, but most people who do eventually come to terms with the fact that… they need help.
So, where do you start?
Well, first of all, you probably know someone or know someone who knows someone who can do a website for a reasonable price. So, start trying to get into contact with whoever that person is. But when you finally DO have your meeting with that person, come prepared!
This post will give you a few questions and info to gather for your new website venture and your first meeting with your web person. I’ll be posting a series of blogs that will help you with the entire process over the next few weeks but for today we’ll just deal with the first meeting.
- What kind of business do you have? This is important because there are a set of specific pages that most web designers know should exist depending on what your website is trying to sell. For instance, if your business is a storefront where you sell designer boots, then your designer will need to know that you’ll need a shopping cart and all of the bells and whistles that go with this. If your business is selling your voice-over skills to the local studios, your designer will need to ensure that you have a voice-over portfolio page and possibly some special access to possible recruiters or employers. If you’re a novelist, there will need to be pages about your works and publications. I think you get the drift.
- Given no budget, what would you want your website to do in 10 years? No, I know that there probably IS a budget, but giving your web designer an overall perspective on what you’re eventually going to do with the website is helpful in planning. Now, you may not know and that’s okay. But do try to take at least 10 minutes to sit down and jot some ideas on what it COULD do. Trust me, you’ll really probably like the process.
- What do you expect this website to do for you? Make sure your developer/designer knows what you are expecting from the website. “I want 100,00 hits in two months” is an example of that. This helps the designer/developer know what they can provide for you on a more reality-based set of circumstances. For instance, if you are Julia Roberts, that may work. But if you are not someone of great fame already, the designer/developer can help you redirect goals to a more reasonable level and give you a good process in order to eventually get to that final goal.
- Why should anyone care? And of course, I mean this in the nicest way possible. Really, why are you unique. Why should anyone give a damn about your website? If you want to create just some store out on the internet, fine… a designer/developer would probably gladly except your money in exchange for another store out there. But its ALWAYS good to be UNIQUE in what you are bringing and to be clear about that uniqueness.
- What is your budget? Come on, now, this is a serious question. I’ve experienced a lot of people who like to keep that question vague to see what they can get out of me and its just a bit annoying. State the budget. Trust me, your developer can give you an accurate quote based on that. If you asked for a 10 page site and then you say your budget is 300.00, then your designer/developer can at least adjust and give you one kick-ass home page.
- When do you want this completed? DON’T leave this open-ended. Give a deadline. Give a deadline for the proposal and don’t be afraid to set reasonable consequences.
- What do you like on other websites and what do you hate? Give examples. VERY HELPFUL!
- How much time and resources will you want to commit to this new venture after its done? Your team will want to know this in order to quote out the possibility of an admin-able website to enable you to change your own content, or they may not if you don’t intend on spending your time doing this. In my experience, paying more money upfront to get the admin-able stuff is always the best bet because otherwise you’ll be paying here and there for things that eventually add up.
- Who is your target market? Type (Businesses or consumers?), ages, gender, etc. If you’re a website for elderly people, for instance, you will want to make sure your site accomodates larger texts. If you’re a website for teen girls, you’ll probably be looking for a more vibrant and hip look and feel to it.
This just about covers the info you should bring on your first meeting. Next, we’ll go over more specifics about budgeting and maintenance.