Blog Pile

Is the Web a Side Dish?

Traditional Korean Food
Traditional Korean Food by savagecorp
posted 20 Jun ’05, 9.40pm MDT PST on flickr

Main Soup Dish and 23 sides to nibble on.

Sometime later this month will mark the 15th year I have been on the web. Every since sly Jim Walters at phoenix College handed my a floppy disk (showing my age right there) labeled “Mosaic”; the web has course through my being as to become a way to see the world.

I keep forgetting that many people don’t operate like that, and the thought of the web becomes a side dish, where for me, it is the main course, the utensils, the music in the restaurant.

In my years at Maricopa, I just accepted this, as it was there the web to the world went from techie gadget to central to many things, both work and social. I strove to make sure all actions my organization did, all events, projects, publications had a web presence.

It was an upward battle.

The web, at best, was a secondary thought, after the fact, or not at all.

How do you know your main meal is someone else’s side dish? Its when you seem important information being sent out only in email. It is when you run a meeting, a conference, and there is no remnant for others to access later. When no one thinks to turn on an audio recorder.

It’s when your publications are sent out as just PDF or documents. It is when you scurry to post something on your organization’s web site after seeing it go through other channels. Or when stuff is posted, it is copy/pasted text from Word, nary a hyperlink, and surely not an image or embedded media.

Or it is when you build systems for people to self-publish, to be part of the user-generated generation, and they send you stuff by email to post. It is when you find yourself blogging under other people’s byline. It is when you are editing HTML to remove “Click here” links.

It is when you publicize your delicious tags for sharing project information, and people keep sending URLs by email and the delicious-wide URL for your tag matches the one under your username.. It is when you are posting 90% of the content in a project wiki. When you invite people at a conference with 1000+ attendees to tag photos, and the tagging brigade is 10 people.

But I seem to live in the long tail of web behavior. As I write this it sounds like I am whining, complaining, but I have come to expect this to happen. I always love the British term for what I do, “whinging”, to complain in a moaning manner . Had blogging been invented in the U.K. surely it would be called “webwhinging” and we’d all be talking about our “Whingelogs”!

But I am also thinking that now is the 10th anniversary of Google’s start and if the web is not part, not included as a core action of your organization, then… well, something is wrong, fill in the blank…. maybe you are lighting gas lamps in 1925.

I just wish more people would “think web” with all their actions– in advance.

The web, the network, is like a reflex for me, it is in my DNA. Right between adenine and thymine in my double helix is HTML.

Maybe it is different elsewhere, but I dont find beyond my personal network, are people that think and act with the web in mind. I am not talking about being a techie or hooked on gadgets, but including consideration of it in the process of all we do.

I’d babble more, but I have a few blog items to post in other people’s names….

The web is not a side dish.

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so)


  1. Kia ora Alan!

    Dunno about the side-dish or main course bit, but the web certainly is becoming more the bread and butter of what I do on computer, apart from the routine administratium.

    I like the term ‘whlog’ that you’ve anticipated. It makes me smile when I think of all the posts I’ve put on my blog, where I was obviously whlogging a dead horse! Thanks for that 🙂

    Ka kite
    from Middle-earth

  2. I’m living in the same web world that you are, Alan, and I feel your pain. A good whinge every once in a while is a useful catharsis. Sometimes that’s why we “whlog” to each other so that we know we are not alone.

    And using a nucleotide analogy – sheer genius, sir. Absolute fracking genius.

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