In October 2000 I invited a number of people in the independent web production community to participate in a project aimed at encouraging and motivating newcomers to this online passion. I asked each this not so simple question, "What is the primary motivation for the production of your web content? Put another way, why do you do what you do?" As you will discover from the responses, there is a common thread. You will hear terms like sharing and creative expression, most of all, you will hear the word give. Jeff Clark
|"Because if I didn't, I'd most likely go stark raving mad." Champ|
I suppose this is one of those questions everyone is afraid to answer. The temptation to try and say the deepest, most prolific thing is just too great. A friend of mine, when told of the fear I have in trying to answer this, came back with a sarcastic answer of "because I want to". I laughed and shrugged off this answer, as it did not sound "intellectual" enough for my taste at that moment, yet I think this really is the most revealing and honest answer. "Because I want to".
It is an answer that can be aligned with many other reasons for doing what I do, specifically, SpeechTherapy. As anyone who has been to SpeechTherapy knows, I have struggled with my life on the web for quite some time now. Four years ago upon acquiring a job working for a design firm, I realized I was hooked. This was a medium unlike any other. I had an opportunity to smack the world right in the face with my style, my ideas, my technique, and me. I wanted to revolutionize it all somehow. I always have had a profound interest in anything creative, and, more specifically, I have always had an interest in doing something creative and helpful in a grand manner. I wanted to help, or be noticed, which ever you prefer as most honest, in a most grand way.
I worked and toiled as time went on to somehow "compete" with all of the wonderful designers. Countless hours in Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and Flash took much of the time I should have devoted to my wonderful wife and our relationship, and left me frustrated. Many, many hard lessons were learned during this time. The most important one being that this sort of self-destructive competition leads to nothing more than constant heart wrenching disappointment. I am not alluding to the fact that competition is not a wonderful, if not healthy outlook, but self-destructive competition to where you always seek perfection and never once rest in downplaying your ability or talents is painfully debilitating. It will simply kill all desire to do something that could possibly find you meaning and purpose.
A few months ago I came to the conclusion that such a mentality was no longer suiting to what I wanted from my personal Web experience. I put most, if not all of my previous works on Zip disks and locked them in the archives. I then began the lengthy process of building something I could enjoy working on and updating. Something above all for me, yet honest enough that someone else may connect. At the time I did not have a name, and I was still relying too much on design aesthetics, and not enough on raw honesty. After several tries I fell upon a look I was more or less pleased with, and began just jotting my feelings at that moment down, whenever I got the whim. I knew nothing of the entire "blog/journal" community, and had no model I knew of to draw on. Then I fell upon Harrumph! through an entry on K10K and was mesmerized. The sheer honesty of Heather Champ really inspired me. Her work also inspired me to work less with visual and graphic design, and work more with typographic layouts. Upon meeting Heather through email correspondence and interviewing her, I learned even more about who I was, and where I wanted to begin moving in my efforts. Before I continue any further, thank you, Heather, you really have helped me more than you know.
More and more I have changed my outlook on SpeechTherapy, and through the same sort of correspondence with more and more of some of the most wonderful people on the Web, I have learned to become more tolerant, and even more honest in my efforts and approach to producing SpeechTherapy. I would mention you all here, but I hate to resort to too much name-dropping. I think you all know how much I thank you, and if not, consider this an official work of gratitude.
To circle this all around to the original question, I do this because I want to. I want to help people. I want to connect to anyone, anywhere and hope that somehow, by posting the daily thoughts of one human being and the trials and efforts I go through every day just to remain sane, that I can help whoever I may connect to. I don't really care if I help them by revealing a school of thought possibly not considered before, or if it is merely to give them a laugh or two at the sheer silliness that can sometimes be human life.
Why do I do what I do? Because I want to.
I am motivated by the opportunity to shape a new medium.
I am excited at the possibilities of a collaborative medium shaped by people instead of clueless corporations and lowest common denominator broadcasting.
I am inspired by what beautiful and meaningful things people can create when they work together.
I do what I do because we all can make a difference, and I feel it's my duty to try.
If you'd like to chime in on this topic yourself, stop by the IB Community and start a new thread. Just hit the Talk Back button. You know you can.
There were times when I was discouraged while learning HTML that I called on the voice of my father telling me as I was growing up that I could do anything I wanted to do. After all, I didn't really need to create a web page. I wanted to create something during my lifetime that would merit global recognition, a rather lofty goal, but because of the net, I had the opportunity to reach that goal. Because of the faith in myself that my father instilled in me during my lifetime, I never doubted that I could do it.
The net is an opportunity to share, to learn, and to be a part of a larger community than the small town in which I grew up. Being a part of the process of learning, and of teaching others what I have learned, is my way of keeping the memory of my father alive. He would have loved this place and made many friends, for he never saw a room full of strangers, he saw instead a room full of friends he hadn't met yet. He never stopped learning and neither will I. I now have the opportunity to have a whole world full of friends I haven't met yet.
I produce Web content to earn a living. I chose what I'm now doing because it so nicely brings many components of my life experiences together. The learning and communication processes that are part of this culture are new every day.
What I do is interesting, challenging, and rewarding (emotionally, intellectually, and financially), and well worth the necessary time, expense, and effort.
It is beacause I can think of nothing else that will let you work at home, at best in sweats, and deal with people from all around the world.
Design itself is a love/hate thing with me. I really think I wish I did not want to do it anymore. It is guaranteed to never let you feel you "have it" and never gives you peace. However, when I do not do it, something inside me does not feel right, and before I know it, I am right back at it. I could easily make my living now with just writing, and I keep saying I am going to, but my platter is full of design ... I just do not want to live smarter, I guess.
Is there a 12-step program?
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