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!
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?
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.