To blog or not to blog ?

Blogs are wonderful tools that are very convenient for sharing all sorts of information without the burden of writing code an spending time on site maintenance (Unless you want to fine tune your style, add fancy animations or perform advanced functions). This is an almost trivial statement for those who started publishing on the net a few years ago, but believe me, in the early 90’s, running a web site was not as easy as it is now. Starting from the installation an Internet connection which would require a bunch of ten 3.5″ floppy disks. In these years I was committed to invest this emerging media by my boss and I spent some time investigating the technical means as well as the way information could be shared.

Thanks to a pretty efficient telephone networks, the French PTT (Post Telegraph and Telephon administration) developed the Minitel, an innovative network of data terminals.

minitel

In the very beginning, the Minitel was mainly used for its Yellow Pages application. Soon followed by commercial applications and inevitably by X rated applications which turned the Minitel to the “Pink Minitel”. Internet emerged approximately at the same time and I seriously wondered whether or not Internet would soon or later turn to a “Pink Internet”. Would Internet be a good place for advertising serious business ? Would web sites be a convenient tool for sharing information ? I managed to meet a local pioneer in the Internet world and we had a long and very interesting talk. In the end, Sébastien Canevet told me “Well, Internet will look like what people will feed it with. The more the bul…it, the worst the Internet’s content. The better the content, the coolest the result”.

As a result of this clear statement, I built my first web site for my company as well as my first private web site. I do not pretend that what I published was top of best, a worldwide reference for the next four generations of webmasters, nope, just plain information, honest, usable and understandable by most. I did not deviate that much from my original vision on web sites and I hope that arduinoos reflects this claim. From the statistics that are recorded from some web sites that I run, this policy seems to be fair, well accepted and even popular. That’s good news for those who would like to start their own blog or web site. Here are a few guide lines that I may recommend to follow:

  • Choose an explicit name for this site and check the availability of the corresponding domain.
  • Register your domain and get your own storage area. Free space has never be so free !
  • Create a specific eMail addresses linked to the domain.
  • Create the structure of your blog: WordPress proves to be a fine one.
  • Create a visual signature: logo, banner, font, colors.
  • Create a contact page; you may also create a “who am I” page.
  • Create the first few posts. Each of these pages shall contain an explicit title, text, some illustrations (do not forget to give credit whenever applicable); use hyperlinks to create cross-referencing and add credibility.
  • Post publications periodically: every week, twice a month, monthly it is up to you. It is a good idea to keep a few posts on the back burner to achieve this goal.
  • Always approve comments from visitors. Use an authentication tool (so as to say a captcha) in order to prevent spam.
  • Using a counter and statistics plugin will help you to understand who is paying attention to your publications and what the like to see and read. These statistics will help you in focusing on specific matters or visitors.

And now a few words about the content. Write what you like, what you are (almost) sure about, what may be of some interest to others. Keep in mind that every day, every hour someone in the world is using Internet for the first time. I am almost sure that every hour, someone is told about arduino and is currently seeking for information on the net. This person is not looking for advanced information (he will shortly though!). All (s)he needs is a starting point which is usable, credible and fun. Achieving this goal requires more communication skills than technical background. Then you may decide to go for something more specialized, based on your qualification, experience or expertise. In this way your blog may gain reputation because of its artistic content, its technical content, its innovative applications, its informative content, …. the list is not exhaustive.

I also have a strong concern for publishing or not papers on how to… build a detonator, a weapon, … , all these sorts of things that would please the villains so much. In the end, it is good to feel that most clever girls and boys are good girls and good boys. Other wise, we could not live this world.

 So, get ready for new adventures, feel free to start your own communication spot and feed the internet with constructive matter.

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