When I first finished my website and told my family and friends about it, I got various responses of the same sort. "That's nice. What's a homepage?" and "Why do you have/need a website?" There may be as many answers to these questions as there are personal homepages. I have lots of internet friends whose pages are mainly photo albums. It gives them a way to show family and friends what's happening with them. Other sites proclaim a specific cause. They wish to inform and/or to provide and garner support. Others inform about a specific topic--a hobby, a movie, tv show, favorite star, a game--whatever. I imagine that you can find at least one homepage (often many) on any subject you choose. And there are pages like mine that reflect the varied interests of their creators, perhaps in addition to being one of the above.
But "Why?" turned out to be not so easy a question for me to answer. Finally, after being asked many times, I answered "It's a creative outlet." That satisfied those who asked the question, but it was not enough for me. Yes, it is definitely a creative outlet, but I hardly needed another one. If you check out the other pages of this site, you'll see that I'm dabbling in too many "creative outlets" already.
When I first came to the internet, it was with a good deal of trepidation. I had briefly checked out a few sites on AOL, but had not found any site of great interest to me when we ended up going with a local ISP. I had felt safe with AOL and suddenly felt like I was on my own in a dangerous place. I knew nothing but stories about women and children being harmed by perverse people they had met on the Internet. "Don't give out any information about yourself, especially your name and address," I was told, but everywhere I went it seemed needed that information. I wanted AOL back! There I had a screen name to hide behind. Well, if I still wanted AOL at the end of the month, I could have it, but try this ISP out. I knew I'd get AOL back. After all, how could I go anywhere on the net without it? But I'd give the local guys a chance and try to use my connection.
In my limited way I knew how to search and finally I found a site I trusted from AOL. I should have noted the exact time and date because it was truly a momentous occasion in personal way. The site was Moms Online and it was the beginning of my journey through cyberspace. I learned a lot from their Cyber Newbies message board. I learned that there are lots of nice people out there on the internet (probably more of them than perverts). I learned how to give sufficiently adequate information without giving too much. I could start going places on the web. This wasn't so bad after all! Then I discoverd MO's Learning HTML and Personal Homepages message boards. It was a revelation to me and I was on my way.
The end of the month came and there was no way I would change ISP (even though I did still miss IM with my sister). None of this is to say I think AOL is bad--I don't! Changing to our local ISP after the AOL trial forced me to learn some pretty basic stuff that AOL takes care of when you join them. That makes them a great ISP for beginners or people who don't want to get too involved with the internet. But I love to learn and I love a challenge. What is HTML? and http? What's a browser? All those computer related books in my husband's den started to look appealing.
Since so many of my new internet friends were making or had made Homepages, I was ready to learn how. This coincided with my teen's school assignment to make a simple HTML page. I copied his notes and grabbed 10 Minute Guide to HTML off the shelf. With help from the women at MO, my new search skills, Notepad on my pc, I started. I had no idea what I would end up with--only that I wanted a homepage.
I did know that I wanted it to be as uniquely me as possible. I tried many different titles in the beginning, trying to find just the right one. A lot of them dealt with Dreaming, Daydreaming, and/or Imagination, but none was quite right. Then I found the Shakespeare quote that's on my front page. It was a perfect description of what I wanted. I can't say the number of hours I spent looking for graphics. Again I was looking for the best I could find to express myself. Finally! Airy Nothing was ready to debut.
So...Why do I have a homepage? Because I CAN! I can find free space*. I can write HTML well enough to get by. (I don't use any kind of HTML composer.) I can be creative here.
I'm still a novice at all this, really, but I have what is, so far, an insatiable desire to keep learning. Recently, I've been playing with graphics, trying to create some that are uniquely reflective of me. And, you know, that JAVA IN 21 DAYS on the bookshelf seems to be calling out to me.