The internet should help you express yourself easily and ensure you have control over the content and quality of your writings. But is that possible?
The internet has always been called the great platform for self-expression. The claim goes that you no longer need to be talented and lucky enough to get your work into a book or newspaper or magazine; anyone can publish anything to the internet, and if it’s good enough, it can get found.
It’s definitely true that the cost of self-expression has gone down with the internet, so people are much more likely and able to use it to publish their ideas. (The idea of economic cost, or amount of effort it takes to do something, is a very powerful one, by the way. When it gets easier to do something, that thing explodes in popularity. It’s pretty self-evident, but it’s a powerful way of looking at things like the rise of self-expression with the internet.)
There are two main ways of publishing content online:
Publishing independently (making your own platform)
Using someone else’s platform (hosted publishing)
Both of these fall short of the goal of allowing for easy self-publishing. I think, though, that there’s room for a hybrid that would bring the best of both.
I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, but there’s this thing called the internet that people these days tend to use a lot. As I’ve said before, it’s extremely important nowadays to now how to develop for the web.
So what better way to learn and practice web development skills, all while making a name for yourself on the world’s biggest platform, than to create a website?
This is the first in a series of tutorials where I’ll show you, step-by-step, how to build an awesome website from scratch.
Say you want to write about how awesome your pet toaster is and publish it for everyone to see. Say you want to make an app where users can interact with their own virtual pet toasters. Say you want to start selling pet toasters online once you’ve convinced everyone how awesome they are.
In this case, I’d probably be a bit concerned about your sanity. But, more importantly, you’d want to learn some web development – that is, the art of creating web pages like the one you’re viewing right now.
Twitter is a great social network for catching up on the latest — oh hey, I got a new Tweet! Be back in a second.
Whoops, sorry. As I was saying, Twitter, the “other” social network, is an incredibly quick and easy way to catch up on all the news that’s fit to type in one convenient place. But, in order to fully make use of the #awesomeness that is Twitter, you’ve got to learn a bit. Luckily for you, @I have made one that @you are reading right now. #whatluck
It’s 1999. Internet Explorer 5 is hot stuff, the tech bubble is growing. And Mariano Rivera is World Series MVP. And young (gasp.)
A web developer sits at his computer, drinking coffee and writing some code. He wants to make a browser-based game. The only way he can do this is to use Adobe’s Flash platform to make an interactive movie and embed that in his website.
He wants to put a video on his site too. YouTube sounds like the name of a cheesy subway line, nothing more. Our developer has to make a Flash movie for that, too.
If you’ve bought an electronic device in the last year, you’ll notice that Microsoft is hawking its search engine Bing more than I hawk my products. (On a totally unrelated note, download Cabra, my free and open-source flashcard program.)
That’s all well and good, since you’re allowed to advertise, but Microsoft really goes to the extreme:
Microsoft signed a deal with Blackberry so that Bing would be the only search engine available on Blackberrys.
My sister bought a new computer and was offered a free song download if she searched with Bing.
I’m sure this happens to a lot of people: you have an important file on your flash drive and you need to hand it in, print it out, or take it somewhere else. Only problem? You lose your flash drive. It’s happened to me far too many times.
So that’s why I decided to eschew flash drives and emailing stuff to myself and use the power of the internet.
I found Dropbox, which lets me access my files from anywhere as long as I have an internet connection. I don’t even need a flash drive any more; I can just store everything I need on my Dropbox account.