Things I've Learned From Having A Website - 11.27.00

Well, the title of this piece is pretty darn self-explanitory. Not only am I taking a bit of a break from self introspection or fiction and everything else I write in this section, but I wanted to do something a little bit more fun since this is the 200th installment. Yup, you read that correct and I can actually hardly believe it myself. Way back in August of 1997, there was no way that I could have expected to keep writing for as long as I have and as much as I have. I haven't figured out exactly how many pages it translates to for sure, but it's somewhere around the neighborhood of 400 pages worth of stuff of very varying degrees. As always, if you've read anything here and liked it even one bit, I thank you. If you've come back more than once, I'm flattered.

Now, onto the main piece, which is sort of a (hopefully) humorous/somewhat serious look at some of the things I've learned since starting this section (which was the very first section of this site).

Don't expect anyone to care
I don't mean for this statement to sound grumpy, but it's probably the one biggest thing that I've run across in the time that I've had my site. Since the web has become so entrenched in our culture, there are several different ways that people view websites. Some still think that when you say you have a website, it means that it's a site with pop-up banners and pictures of you with your car and pet and some 'cool links' that you've found while surfing. Others are on the opposite end of the spectrum and discount it for the opposite reason; they're so into the web themselves that they can't be bothered by another site to look at, especially if nothing you tell them piques their interest.

Don't write anything you don't want people to know
This seems obvious, but I think that when I started my site quite some time ago, I didn't give it as much thought. At that time, it was a completely obscure site getting about 20 hits or so a week (mostly from the very few people I told about it and a few random others), but now almost all my friends, family, and all kinds of people who don't even know me very well in person (as well as tons of people whom I'll never meet) all know about it. I've had ex girlfriends read pieces about them and comment to me and I've gotten comments from friends giving me a tough time about other things. It's a fine line, and I think it's something I've managed to balance fairly well.

Don't expect to make any money
I've had a couple people ask me the question of whether I make money from my site and usually my answer is an uncontrolled laugh. When I actually made the leap to buy a domain name and server space each month, it was kind of a big leap for me because it meant about 150 dollars a year that I was spending simply to put my thoughts and work out on the web for people to see. Of course, it's completely worth it, and just putting it all out there has probably saved me on therapy...

Don't expect to get hate mail
This is partially serious and partially not, but one of the things I wondered about when starting my site was how many mean letters I'd get from people. As it turns out, I haven't gotten even one in the over three years that I've been putting things on the web. Whether that means I'm just too lame to get any or whether people just think I'm a decent guy who's feelings are easily hurt is still up in the air. I'd like to think that it's the latter, though.

Don't expect to have a torrid internet romance
We've all heard the tales of people meeting on the internet or internet sites and eventually getting together, but I'm here to say not to count on it. Not that that's the reason I started my site, but I must admit that I find it compelling. It could be that I'm flat-out un-romanceable, but it may also have something to do with the fact that I live in Nebraska.

Don't expect people to understand
This is something that ties into a lot of the above, but often times after I've told people how much time I put into the site and how little money I make from it (none), they just really can't figure out why I would even do it. Of course, I explain myself in terms that make a lot of sense in my own head, yet many times I'm still left with blank stares. It's the communication, baby.

Of course, I've learned a lot more little things, but I don't want this thing to turn into a rambling piece of junk like many other things I've written in this section have been. Instead, I'm going to sign off now and again say thanks for stopping by. It's been an interesting run of things.