Back in 1996 I had my first experience with internet, in the city library. And from 1997 on I had internet at my office desk. Though I was not such an early adopter, it was at a fairly early moment, and a lot happened on the internet then. And since, of course.
At first I used internet to extract for information only. At work I loaded HTML pages onto floppies and transfered them to my computer at home. I also did print out a lot.
In those years I also did some very basic essays, using information from articles, some of which I had collected since my school days. At the same time I was trying to cope with those piles of information by archiving them in some kind of database.
In May 1998 I came across Peter Landry’s website Blupete, He is a lawyer based in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. And I new at once that this was an important model, a blueprint, for the website I had in mind. For one, he was clearly interested in more or less the same subjects as I am. And further, he used linked essays as the main body for his website. In his own words:
My purpose in writing these pages is to express that which interests me in my life and to educate myself in the process.
The next year, 1999, I entered the internet work force as a content master at the Amsterdam Exchange. And from then on I had the opportunity to experience the internet to the full extent.
I learned who were the gurus, like Jakob Nielsen and Lawrence Lee. Both were using a form of communication that imme.diately struck me for its model. Nielsen posted, and still does, comments and links on his work. He also combines them with bi-monthly essays on internet usability. Lee’s Tomalak’s Realm once was THE source for the hottest stories on internet technology, internet economy and internet marketing, published every day. See 1999 interview on WebWord. In fact he had what we now call a blog. (Update: for an overview of those early “bloggers” see Julia May in Pelfusion.com May 2010)
The model I had in mind was now almost complete.
Since 2000 I have came across a growing number of so called weblogs or blogs. And from then on I knew how my model for a website should look: a weblog that had to be regularly updated with thoughts, experiences and references, either based upon on-line or printed sources. And to combine that with more in depth stories and reports. It should also have to use the minimalistic approach that is so strongly promoted by Nielsen.
On “story telling” Nielsen wrote in his Alertbox of 1 October 2000: Content Creation for Average People:
To take the Internet to the next level, users must begin posting their own material rather than simply consuming content or distributing copyrighted material. Unfortunately most people are poor writers and even worse at authoring other media. Solutions include structured creation, selection-based media, and teaching content creation in schools.
Not to mention learning English up to a very high level.