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Why The Internet Fails Essay

7320 words - 29 pages

why web journals suck last updated: 6/1/00 Table of Contents Introduction Why You Might Not Want To Keep A Journal Where To Begin Elements Of Excellent And Good Journals Content Writing style Visual style Audience awareness What You Shouldn't Do Star Power: When They Really, Really Like You Types of Journals Frequently Asked Questions (New: October 20) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Introduction, Or Why I've Written This I began my journal in June of 1996. At that time, there were perhaps 20 journals online. I've loved journals and journaling and put up an entire essay on the topic -- there are tons and tons of ways to keep a journal. That page was then and still is now one of the most comprehensive guides to paper journaling online. (There are now others: Diarist.Net and Metajournals, to name but two.) Today there are several hundred journals online, with more being added every day. At first it was great: I met a lot of great people and read lots of great writing. But now journaling is what someone does with a web page when they can't think of anything else to do.Why have I written this essay? Why am I putting my thoughts together on what is (obviously) a very personal and subjective experience? For a couple of reasons: I like online journals and I want to help them thrive by pointing out what works and what brings one reader back again and again.I want to point out some flaws that mar some otherwise deserving journals.I want to stop this trend of people putting up a web journal when they haven't thought through what keeping a public journal means.I have an ego the size of a planet.By deserving journal I mean deserving of being read."But!" I hear you cry. "But these are journals! Diaries! People's innermost thoughts! They shouldn't be critiqued by bourgeois literary standards." Then hey: keep the journals off the airwaves. Putting them on the Web is publishing them (and falls under all current and international publishing and copyright laws), and publications have benchmarks.My analysis of the online journals and what the authors should consider depends on one major premise: The author has put them on the Web for an audience.If you don't care about having readers and you could care less whether visitors ever return to your site, my words probably won't mean anything to you.But if you check your access logs occasionally or keep a visitor counter, you're lying.(The only exception to this rule I accept is if you keep a journal on the web as a way of keeping in contact with friends: sort of a private collection of letters. In this case, you should keep the URL secret, keep the journal password-protected, and avoid talking about the journal entirely with people not on the list of acceptable readers.(To do anything else and yet insist your journal is private and not for readers is disingenuous at best.) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Danger, Will...

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