It is springtime in Alabama. Forsythia is already blooming, jonquils and crocus are beginning to drop their blooms, but the nights are still cool and the grass is still brown. Spring is a time of rebirth for plants, animals and even careers. How does one become an online media person? Well the road has many turns, not all of which were smooth pavement. The how-to side was easy. My dad taught me beginning at a very early age, 6 years-old holding lights. handing him tools, toting lumber and bringing him drinks. I learned by observation. I observed brake jobs, small and large motor rebuilds, house framing, wiring, plumbing, drywall and finish carpentry along with woodworking.
On weekends when we weren’t repairing cars, we were building a cabin on the lake. Ours was a modified a-frame with an unfinished basement. The exterior is cypress board and batten and is still beautiful. I am still trying to finish the cabin some 40 years later. Twenty years ago we bought the finished house next door to our cabin and we went from building to more maintaining. About this time, with my father’s help, I left my job as an executive with a fastener company to take over as president of a furniture factory. I was 32 years old and dad and I insisted we secure our investment against the woodworking machinery we would buy to make the factory more efficient. A short time later, my dad had one of the best outfitted wood shops in his barn. We discovered the factory was too deep in debt and had a $250,000 balloon note coming due. We left and took our machinery with us.
After this I took a job with an insurance company. I was traveling three to four days a week. That got old. I decided why not build a website and let the customers come to me. So I built a site. For its day, the site was state of the art. That was in 1993. While I was in college in the 1980s, our college president decided to make me a poster child for computers being used by non-computer science majors. So I learned computers. Earlier I had been an electrical engineering major and taken computing classes like Fortran, WATFOR and WATFIV along with Basic. This was during the time of paper tapes, cards and a 12″ disc was considered high tech. During the next decade I built more sites, monetized them and learned more. Most of my learning was from mistakes I made. I guess I made more mistakes than others, because I learned a lot. This is how I learned the internet.
Combine the two together and you end up with someone who understands building, and understands online media and websites. I am not the best carpenter nor the best writer. Not many tradesmen are good writers, and vice versa. There are a few. I enjoy reading what these tradesmen writers have to say. The one thing I do understand is writing for the web, is very different from writing for any other media. For the web, we must think of keyword concentrations, varying the descriptors and other devices to make the content discoverable by search engines. This part is a blend of technology and art. I am still learning this.
But remember; “There are only 10 types of people in the World, those who understand binary, and those who don’t.”