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World Wide Word

Apologies for the lack of good blogging - I've been working on re-vamping and updating my web site.  I am sick to death of the old template, so I'm giving it a more modern look (and eliminating the big white gap on the right side of the screen that makes me want to kill myself out of embarrassment every time I look at it).

Updates soon.  I don't have the petticoats article written yet, but there will be a little bit of new content, mostly in the Le Monde section, which is getting a serious makeover.  A few pictures, an extra article or two, and *poof* new site!

(That reminds me - I should add MeatPets[tm] to the site.  They'll give it flavour.)

It's a touchy thing, this web age - I, along with a lot of other Laurels, do not feel that a web presence is a requirement for an award, but if I'm going to be completely honest, darn it, it helps.  While my friends knew me and what I could do, it wasn't until I had a web site and a journal that other people started to recognize my name.  With a web site, I can reach people all over the world - people who have never been in the same country (let alone to the same event) as me know my name and converse with me regularly.

That seems like too good an opportunity to pass up if you want to put your knowledge out there - sure, it's a little bit of a hassle keeping your site current (I've been changing title pages for hours, it seems), but the payoff is really huge in recognition for your work.  It doesn't have to be super-complicated or huge, either - my website was quite small when I started - just a few photos (including one of you, so people know what you look like) of your work, any documentation you've done, and maybe something current you're researching.  From there the sky's the limit - there are people who devote themselves to dress diaries, web research, cooking, fiber arts, woodworking - whatever your pleasure, there's a niche for you. 

In the past ten years, the web has become a presence in everyone's lives - and it will only get more ubiquitous.  How do we deal with this vis-a-vis assessing a candidate's work?  I think in the end, it won't ever be a requirement, but if people can see your work for themselves, see your research, see your conclusions, they can make a more confident assessment when it comes to commenting on a candidate (because commentary matters to the Crowns an awful lot when it comes to deciding on awards).

Networking is also hugely important - through your web site, you have a chance to meet people who are interested in the same, or complementary, research.  You may find someone you never knew about, who has that vital piece of your research puzzle - or you can help them with theirs.  This is how you can get known.  The first place people look when they have a question is the web - why not be there, waiting for them?  Especially if you have a more esoteric area of interest.  While there may be no-one in your kingdom with the same interest, there might be someone somewhere else.  And if you're the only one working on that particular piece of research?  Your web site will become the place to go.

Even plagarism or idea stealing is reasonably easily handled on the web - if your idea is out there, date stamped, someone else is going to have an awfully hard time explaining how their fabulous new idea got out there three years before they claim to have had it - especially if everyone knows your site.

(I have never had anyone steal something from my site and claim it as theirs.  FYI.)

As for the nuts and bolts of setting up a web site?  Honestly, I know fuck-all about computers.  I can run a couple of basic programs, but  pinkleader had to hand-hold me through the set-up of my site, and if I have an actual question, brian_murrayanswers it for me.  Without the templates provided by my hosting company, I'd be in deep trouble.  I can create an embedded link, and I know the difference between linking and hotlinking (and why you should never, ever do the latter), but advanced html?  Ignorant Laurel says what?

Huh? (yeah.)

If I can do it, pretty much anyone can.  And I do recommend it.  You can fight the idea, and say it's unfair that people with web-sites get an advantage, but it's somewhat like saying that it's unfair that people who travel and display a whole lot get an advantage.  If you want to be known, you need to do things that get you known - and last I looked, it was a hell of a lot cheaper to get a free web site than it was to travel all over the kingdom so people could get to know your work.

I say go for it.  It worked for me - not in the getting a Laurel sense, but in the getting known sense.  Without this journal and my web site, there would be no Attack Laurel, no Extreme Costuming, and no-one would know about my jacket.  

(Thanks, pinkleader.)

Comments

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dreadbaron
Aug. 27th, 2008 01:38 pm (UTC)
And what would I do with one?

Honestly, I have thought about doing one, but I'm just so darn lazy.

However, I have thought about doing a woodworking forum with Fin along the lines of the armor archive. No egos the size of Montana allowed and all that.

But then the laziness takes hold again.
dragonazure
Aug. 27th, 2008 01:43 pm (UTC)
There already is a medieval woodworking forum....but I'm too lazy to go find its formal name....
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landverhuizer
Aug. 27th, 2008 01:43 pm (UTC)
I love doing up websites... now to just keep them updated :s Never actually got around to doing one of strictly SCA-interest... again, been thinking about it, persona-wise... just where to start...
orlacarey
Aug. 27th, 2008 01:44 pm (UTC)
LLT and I have one (www.otcreations.com) but I haven't done the work to put anything on it. Part of that what WAS on it was SCA resumes for me, LLT and frederich. While it was on my ex sig. o's server there were some issues (it was a wiki and no backups were apparently made). The files that died were the two that I'd put the most work into - my resume and LLT's. So now I have to go back and recreate everything and I just haven't bothered.

Of course I probably would care more if it were more than just a list of the things we've done or if I knew enough to make it "pretty".
firenzekat
Aug. 27th, 2008 01:45 pm (UTC)
I have had a website for some time. It helps me share what I have learnt or tried out (since I live away from the more populated Eastern States). It makes me get off my butt and finish things. It helps me clarify my thoughts. I also love checking out how others have intepretted designs and research.
:)
Interesting hearing your thoughts on this one with regards to the SCA. As I have been told, several times, that it was almost a death nell for any chance at a Laurel in the SCA, at least in Lochac.
Still, having one outweighs the disadvantages, I feel.
chargirlgenius
Aug. 27th, 2008 01:47 pm (UTC)
*Having* a website would be a death knell for a laurel? Why?
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chargirlgenius
Aug. 27th, 2008 01:46 pm (UTC)
For me, the ability to look at a candidate’s website is often the difference between an abstain, or a yes/no. I simply don’t trust commentary all that much, unless I really know and trust the commenter.

Live Journal can be used and abused as a quick and dirty way to make a website. If you can put pictures and links into posts, you’re golden. Make a post for each project you have. Then make a top level post that gives your overview, and links the topic or subject posts. Insta website, right there!
attack_laurel
Aug. 27th, 2008 02:03 pm (UTC)
This.
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maricelt
Aug. 27th, 2008 01:49 pm (UTC)
I gotta admit, my site needs a revamp. But, I love being able to reach more people with my work and my ideas. Did it help me reach a Laurel? Honestly, I don't know. But I do know that while I have been taking care of my father and commuting to NC my website has been one of the primary ways that I could continue to share with people.
peteyfrogboy
Aug. 27th, 2008 02:00 pm (UTC)
Back in 2005 I started with a project blog running a tweaked version of Blosxom. It was something of a chore to keep it updated and I don't think much of anyone ever saw it. Later that year I moved things over to LJ, where there's more likelihood of people actually reading the things I post.

I don't really have a good way to view the total corpus of things I've done (aside from going back through old posts), but honestly I'm never happy with my old stuff anyway.

As far as non-blog websites go, the one I'm happiest with is the Renaissance Dance Database, which is more of a useful tool than a showcase of my own work.
gwacie
Aug. 27th, 2008 02:06 pm (UTC)
There is no such thing as the "Completed" or "Finished" website, soon as its posted its out of date! ;)

:)

Conversely, just putting up a page without good -CONTENT- is just teasing people. Ooo! A page on 12th century widget making! yay! Oh... it's just a header and a photo of someone. Dang.
attack_laurel
Aug. 27th, 2008 02:26 pm (UTC)
soon as its posted its out of date!

Boy, do I hear you on that one. :)

I am usually deeply impressed by what I see people put on-line, and I can honestly say that no-one has ever gone down in my estimation because of their web site (sometimes their blogs are a little disconcerting, but what is said privately between friends and what is said publicly shoudl be assessed in a completely different manner).

I think this is the age of the amateur historian - even Museums are starting to consult with private researchers - look at how museums come to Kass for information on the Shinrone Gown!
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attack_laurel
Aug. 27th, 2008 02:28 pm (UTC)
I think seeing someon's learning curve gives them real credibility - like working out a maths problem, you really get to see how someone has developed and improved over the years. :)
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my_stitching
Aug. 27th, 2008 02:12 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you wrote this. I haven't had an active website for quite a while. I still own my domain name (mostlymedieval.com) but there hasn't been anything but an "under construction" for years. That is a bit of a lie, isn't it? Clearly I have been constructing Eff-All. But now that you mention it, it IS time that I put up a website again.
attack_laurel
Aug. 27th, 2008 02:28 pm (UTC)
Yay! We will take over the past and reclaim it from Wikipedia!
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reasdream
Aug. 27th, 2008 02:27 pm (UTC)
Oooh. LIbraryThing. I have an account there, and on good reads, but I had not thought to use it in this way.

Thank you for sharing that use of a resource! I think it will be massively handy for my class at University.
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eithni
Aug. 27th, 2008 02:17 pm (UTC)
Yay, web geekage! My webpage is in the beta version on my laptop, but soon to be posted. I finally got frustrated with the caliber of Pictish information available on the web and decided to take matters into my own hands. :P My kind and tech-geeky apprentice is holding my hand and I hope to have the first page up - as early as tonight, provided I don't prove to be too dense. I even got eithni.com, for extra geek points.

Edited at 2008-08-27 02:19 pm (UTC)
attack_laurel
Aug. 27th, 2008 02:31 pm (UTC)
Woot! I tell you, I was so excited when I found out that extremecostuming.com was available - I couldn't believe no-one had taken it. It's a testament to my ego that I had the nerve to call my site that, I guess. :)
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noxcat
Aug. 27th, 2008 02:17 pm (UTC)
OK, you sold me. My domain is up for renewal, and I guess I will actually do it and do something with it.

I've been kinda unhappy about what I thought was my increasingly smaller chances of achieving a Laurel as my ability to travel has diminished. Not that I'm hungry for the cookie, but it would be nice to be recognzed as knowing my stuff.
attack_laurel
Aug. 27th, 2008 02:33 pm (UTC)
Do it. doitdoitdoitdoitdoiiiiiiiiiiiiiitttttttt...ahhhh.

:)

I think the web is a godsend for people who are doing real work, but time/finance/other issues prevent them from travelling. Over the past two years, I really haven't been to that many events, but between my blog and my site, I've been able to keep people abreast of everything I'm doing.

Blogs: Not just for telling people what you ate for breakfast.
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zsof
Aug. 27th, 2008 02:22 pm (UTC)
I created a website for my Pennsic theatre troupe, The Known World Players, but don't have any of my research linked to it. Maybe I should do that, eh?
attack_laurel
Aug. 27th, 2008 02:34 pm (UTC)
Ya think? ;)
elizabethnmafia
Aug. 27th, 2008 02:33 pm (UTC)
I completely agree. I think having a website can be a great way to display one’s work and theories. I love looking at other people’s websites and the things they’ve done and personally I’ve really enjoyed maintaining mine. It’s helpful for sharing ideas and research and its fun to occasionally look back over the things you’ve done.

I agree that it helps with name recognition and visibility. It’s just not possible for candidates or Laurels to be everywhere all the time but just like traveling a website allows more people to see your work and research than might otherwise get to.

It’s not a requirement and it shouldn’t be but it is a tool that helps share your work and knowlege. And I’m with you, if I could do one anybody can. :)
attack_laurel
Aug. 27th, 2008 02:37 pm (UTC)
You're right - it's a tool. No more, no less. It's no more tacky to put up a website than it is to travel to thirty events a year and display your stuff - or enter the Pennsic Arts display. Or teach at every University. All are ways of gaining visibility for your work, and none of them should be considered off-limits.

As far as I'm concerned, other than shoving your work up my nose and screaming "can you smell the hand sewing? Can ya? Huh? Huh?!", getting your work known by the means available is good.
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