Blogging. Websites. HTML. Skype. Instant Messaging. SMS. MMS. These, and other terms, are fast becoming the new vocabulary and currency of the 21st century.
Of course, it’s nothing new. It was all happening in the 90s. The internet boom. Mobile phones. You could see it all coming. However, I always thought it was a bit geeky. A bit naff. I resisted a mobile phone for a long time and now only use a ‘pay as you go’ for basic necessities. I wouldn’t have a clue about Bluetooth or Blackberry or anything like that. Back in the 90s, if you had any kind of inside knowledge of techy stuff, you were a computer nerd, a webhead or an anorak. Nowadays, it’s the reverse. You’re cool, indispensable and probably wealthy.
Still, for some reason, I always thought I was fairly on top of the latest technology. In reality, I’m straggling behind somewhat (I’ve been promising myself a PS2 for years, but I might as well get a PS3 now, once I can afford the blimmin' thing). Basic computer specifications and laptop info go completely over my head. In fact, I wouldn’t even be on-line if it weren’t for Blogger and Moonfruit. Thank you, Blogger, for making it free and easy to blog and Moonfruit’s website builder is basic and effective for my needs, so phew.
The Writers’ Guild held a talk on Websites for Writers last Thursday, and they asked me to be part of the panel. I was happy to oblige but prior to the event, I felt a bit anxious that it might be a bit ‘be there and be square’. Naturally, that wasn’t the case at all. In this day and age, it’s vital to have on-line presence and knowledge, no matter what your experience or credits. The talk was great because Tom Smith at Everythingability told the novice webheads, like me, why the internet is such a useful place, and how you go about setting up an effective website.
Then, Sophie Nicholls talked about her Lots of Big Ideas blog and, in particular, her use of Wikis, which is an internet phenomenon that I was only dimly aware of before hand. Tom Green, the Guild’s online editor, has a full report on the event here while Tom Smith set up a blogging point of contact for those who were inspired to start their own blogs here.
So, with blogging and websites, it seems it's very much a case of "be there or be square". A director recently asked me to recommend a few writers for a project he wants to develop so I pointed out a few blogs that I like. There were others I could have recommended but they were anonymous or didn't have an email or relevant contact details, and that put the director off. Later, he asked me for more as he "didn't get the right vibe" or "wasn't impressed" by some of the sites, so a half decent holding page and/or a well-presented blog does go a long way in making first on-line impressions count.