Self-expression on the internet: a hybrid approach?

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.

May the source be with you: an intro to open source software

Funny open-source cartoon with Tux
Open source software: anyone can edit it and make it even more awesome. Here’s a rundown of why.

Open source software. Sounds like another tech buzzword like agile development, MVC frameworks, waterfall models, and so on.

But really, it’s much more cool than all of those.

Simply put, open source software is software that anyone can edit. And because of that, it’s awesome. Read on to see how your favorite open source software (Firefox and Android, for example) works.

How it works

I think it’s easiest to explain open-source software with a little story. Get some popcorn – this has action, drama, and copyright infringement.

Tutorial: starting a blog with WordPress, part 2

Wait! Before you read this, read part 1.

Now that you’ve gotten your blog all set up, we can start getting familiar with it.

If you’ve forgotten, I’m writing a sample blog as we go along so you can follow along with this guide.

Your Dashboard

Your Dashboard is where you can administrate your blog by writing new posts, moderating comments, and more. This is where it all goes down, and obviously no visitors are allowed in. To visit your dashboard, go to <your blog>/wp-admin and sign in using the password and username you signed up with.

Tutorial: starting a blog with WordPress, part 1

Maybe you’re a rabid sports fan with lots to say about your favorite baseball team. Maybe you’re traveling the country and want to keep a journal about your travels. Or maybe you’re just some windbag who likes ranting about technology.

Whatever your hobby or interest, starting a blog is a fun and rewarding experience. And don’t worry – you don’t have to be a tech guru either. As long as you can browse the internet, use a word processor, and think of interesting things to say (harder than it sounds), you can blog.