Not the Colosseum—or blogging a website

You didn’t really think I meant what I said about “tomorrow–the Colosseum!” did you? I can’t imagine, or justify really, spending three hours sorting through photos and tour books, two days in a row.

Let’s all take a break.

Besides, the Colosseum and the Forum photos (let’s not forget St. Peter’s in Chains that we saw on the way to the Colosseum) are in an unsorted and sordid mess right now. Later.

Instead, I want to use this opportunity to talk about blogging, websites and what I’ve been doing lately.

For the past three years I have provided web-editing support for a past professor of mine, Jeff Hillard, and his online magazine, RED! the breakthrough ‘zine. It contains stories of transformation in the lives of prisoners and individuals re-entering society and of innovations making it happen.

Although I am not, and don’t pretend to be, a computer or programming officionado, I studied Adobe’s “Dreamweaver—Classroom in a Book” and patched together a website in 2008 that wasn’t great, but was adequate. We have been plodding along since with one major re-design a couple of years ago. But the problem with an HTML website like Dreamweaver, is that you have to find someone who either knows how to program, or has a copy of and is able to use Dreamweaver.

RED! is a nonprofit of the sort that means, “Forget about profit, we don’t make any income. Nada.” So in addition to the above requirements for a web-editor, he or she must be willing to spend however long it takes to update and maintain the website which continually posts new stories, out of the goodness of his or her heart. Which I have been doing for the past three years, quite willingly.

But I don’t know how indefinitely I’ll be willing or able to continue and I felt to assure the future of RED! we needed something that wouldn’t be so highly dependent on an single individual—me.

Since my recent debut on WordPress.com, I’ve realized how user friendly and versatile this software is. I suggested to Jeff that we convert to a blog format for RED! — so that’s what we’ve been doing. (And I have had to delve into far more internet details than I’d ever hoped to in converting our domain to the WordPress blog—name servers, DNS for e-mail boxes, etc.)

Happily, we made the transition. I think—there is still that pesky e-mail from someone at our previous web-site hosting company . . .

I’m glad to say the technical support at WordPress.com was quite helpful indeed, and in particular would like to thank Hew, where ever you are, for not only your informed and timely assistance, but also for your cheerful attitude. I believe you really are a “Happiness engineer.” Not only did he come charging in on his white horse to answer my distress call, he followed up later to inquire, “Everything working as expected for you?”

Some people are of a mind that you need to have a website and a blog, which is where we were the first three years with RED!. So in some ways this move could be considered a step backward—demoting the website to an archive and using the blog as the website. And if we were the New York Times or Huffington Post, maybe that would be true. I hope what we lose (which really, right now, I can’t define or quantify, because from where I’m sitting I don’t see any loss), will be more than compensated for by what we gain.

Anyway, I hope with this move to a blog format RED! webzine will become more self-sufficient, easier to maintain, and much more interactive.

If you read nothing else, you might be interested in Jeff’s letter about why he started this ministry of sorts.

I hope you’ll stop by and see us from time to time.

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9 thoughts on “Not the Colosseum—or blogging a website”

  1. Thanks. You made my day. 🙂

    PS – Isn’t Italy amazing?? I did an all too brief run from Venice -> Florence -> Rome and I would go back in a heart beat.

  2. I think you have not gone backwards. I much prefer an interactive platform over the regular websites. And I believe this ‘ministry’ calls for interaction…not static info.

    I worked with Dreamweaver from 2003 on until last year…great program…love it! But…it is detailed and intensive at times. So this move is a smart move. Action/interaction vs constant tweaking/upgrading.

    Enjoy:)

  3. If you’re selling a number of different products, and hoping for a profit, a website is a must.

    If you’re sharing information, a blog is apt to suffice.

  4. I used to volunteer as an ESL teacher and one of the programs that I heard about was teaching prisoners and the positive response that a lot of teachers had received. I believe that if we want individuals to succeed we have to contribute wherever we can. I wanted to offer whatever assistance I can to help Red! in it’s changeover. Just let me know.

    D

  5. :)…nice, never heard of RED. Also, read your comment over in WD. We all have a hard time keeping up with reading each other. I’ve decided to keep my blog posts to three a week b/c I’ve got a novel to fix and a new one I’m writing. The finished one needs repairs and I work full-time cutting hair.

    I play catch up on Friday and Saturday evenings. It’s all good.

  6. I shouldn’t complain. I have a memoir to repair, notes for a second one to write, but I don’t cut hair (although I’d probably look better if I did.)

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