Creating an appropriate online web presence, either simple or complex in format, requires many development considerations which are vital in order to construct a positive identity and minimise any undesirable digital shadows. With this project, I have made a vast amount of decisions relating to the suitable selection of Web2.0 tools from content to layout and images; to the consistency and the social aspects of my web presence, all integrally tied to my goals and objectives.
As my web presence, I decided to lean on the “guidance” provided to many people over the years, especially my own daughters, and create a motivational/inspirational theme with a “niche” focussing on “realising life dreams and goals” using famous people’s stories of triumph as evidence and inspiration. To best support my efforts, I chose a blog format as blogs are a type of websites where the content is usually written by one person, updated pretty regularly and presented in chronological order. My intent is to provide regular empowering messages and interact with my readers through their sharing and comments. Communities have sprung around some of these topics allowing people to share and learn from each other. A blog was therefore the vehicle of choice to uphold my central and contributing nodes (Godwin-Jones, 2003).
To publish my web presence, I decided not to use a web-based service such as Blogger or Typepad but a dedicated blog publishing software such as WordPress which enables first-time users like me to get up and running quickly. Upon a search through Technorati (a leading blog search engine and directory), I favoured the look provided by most WordPress sites. As a novice, I certainly found that “the networking capabilities of Web 2.0 tools make content creation, sharing and collaboration uncomplicated thus stimulating people to participate in society and shape significant social networks” (Goel, Maitrey & Kanauziya, 2010). In WordPress, I selected a template called “Neo-Sapien” by Small Potato which has a very prominent custom header and four-column format. I wanted a simple and elegant look to my presentation with minimal distraction so as to keep the focus on the content and my message. The fixed-width centre column is prevalent and perfectly suited to meet my objectives. The background colour palette of red, black and grey provides the fire, energy, elegance and corporate feel which I believe is best suited for my target audience. The smaller font size used in the 3 side-bars was selected by design in order not to overpower the main message which is my content.
Each post on my blog is tailored around a single message. Each point is highlighted in bold and associated with a famous person whose life’s achievements epitomise the essence of my message. I used Hypertext by linking the famed person to their respective page on Wikipedia providing the reader with an easy access to additional information should they so desire. To further visually strengthen the message, I embedded a custom-made “motivational poster” with each post which I created myself. For that, I used another Web2.0 technology namely the Big Huge Labs site. Being fully aware of copyright laws, I selected pictures with no restrictions under the Creative Commons. The Creative Commons tools “are an innovative attempt to create a category of creative works which essentially are governed by a different set of copyright rules. This different set of copyright rules permits a far greater, and publicly beneficial, range of uses of works that the Copyright Act permits” (Loren, 2007). I believe my central node forms a framework of interest promoting interaction with an appropriate community.
Not to clutter my Home Page, I listed the links to my contributing nodes under my “blogroll” in the side-bar. They have been carefully selected to ensure a coherent and consistent identity across all elements of my web presence. I have incorporated my design theme of the “Frozen Penguins” where possible to provide a means to immediately recognise one of my nodes as being part of my online presence. Twitter is perhaps the most powerful social networking and microblogging service I can use as it will allow me to share daily inspiring messages to all that follow me (Akshay et al, 2007). Through regular tweets I will be able to reach and inspire a wide audience. The people I follow in Twitter are within the “self-development” domain. As a social bookmarking web services, my Delicious bookmarks will allow readers to have access to my “tagged” list of web links. With a mind-set of “folksonomy”, where the users are the ones who “describe and organise content” (Mathes, 2004), I am and will be able provide my audience with further levels to their personal development as well as strengthen my online presence within the participatory community (Joergensen & Blythe, 2003). My “Care2” node is an important part of my presence as all people who are serious about self-growth as people who are searching for ways to make a difference. FriendFeed, is a fun and interactive way to discuss information amongst people. It allows me subscribe to updates from individuals or groups and contribute to a shared stream of information. I find FriendFeed to be a “central point”, linking it all together, reflecting my entire web presence and positioning my blog within a network. To complete my project, I have included a Really Simple Syndication (RSS) web feed, an Email Subscription facility and my “SocialVibe” icon which portrays the true spirit of my target audience. Lastly, my “About Me” page provides the “face” of my online image, brings the credibility and the glue to the total compliment of tools used.
Taking advantage of the capabilities of each Web2.0 tools, I believe I have considered all elements in order to create a well thought out web presence with a purposeful message which strengthens my on-line image. Careful consideration to all content and design elements are vital in today’s social tapestry in order to maintain credibility, minimise digital shadows and remain a respected participatory voice within the community.
Akshay, J. et al. (2007). Why We Twitter: Understanding Microblogging Usage and Communities. Proceedings of the Joint 9th WEBKDD and 1st SNA-KDD Workshop 2007, August 12. Retrieved October 29, 2010, from http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1348556
Godwin-Jones, R. (2003). Emerging Technologies Blogs and Wikis: Environments for On-line Collaboration. Language Learning & Technology. 7(2), 12-16. Retrieved October 9, 2010 from http://cursa.ihmc.us/rid=1131480053328_1801720929_4296/godwin.pdf
Goel, N., Maitrey, S., & Kanauziya, S. (2010). Web Technologies (Web2.0). International Journal of Computer Applications. 1(24), 11-21. Retrieved October 17, 2020 from http://www.ijcaonline.org/journal/number24/pxc387746.pdf
Joergensen,J. and Blythe, J. (2003). A guide to a more effective World Wide Web Presence. Retrieved October 22, 2010, from https://www.jyu.fi/jsbe/oppiaineet/yma/arkistoyma/vanhatmateriaalityma/YMAS350/Exam%20article%203.pdf
Loren, L.P. (2007). Building a Reliable Semicommons of Creative Works: Enforcement of Creative Commons Licenses and Limited Abandonment of Copyright. George Mason Law Review, Vol. 14, p. 271, 2007; Lewis & Clark Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2007-12. Retrieved November 2, 2010 from
Mathes, A. (2004). Folksonomies – Cooperative Classification and Communication Through Shared Metadata. University of Illinois. Retrieved November 12, 2010 from http://www.adammathes.com/academic/computer-mediated-communication/folksonomies.html
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