has taught us this year that we ARE interconnected
As the pace of technological change accelerates, we have already learned
to accept that a single year can bring great changes. But a year like
For the Internet, the story at first was the cataclysmic dotcom to dotbomb
collapse of Web-tech stocks, with the resulting ripples through the
rest of the economy. Last year at this time, the seemingly unshakeable
Cisco Systems was selling at almost $72 a share. By last April, it had
plunged to less than $29 (rebounding to $46 today).
As a barometer of the scope of the implosion, when I presented workshops
at WEB2000 in San Francisco just before the presidential election that
now seems so distant, the event covered almost three floors of the Moscone
Center. The more than 3,000 mostly young professionals who attended
looked like they had the world by the mouses tail. The freebies
at the jam-packed trade show included free food and beer, exciting new
software and a treasure trove of games and gizmos that I still play
This year, the event barely covered half a floor, with fewer than 800
people participating. The Cool-Site-in-a-Day contest never happened.
I soon avoided the trade show altogether after being swarmed by the
desperate folks who manned the few booths in attendance.
A fellow presenter entered the facility and immediately burst into tears
when she saw how much things had changed in just one year. Rumor was
that the layoffs in Silicon Valley had led to such a mass exodus that
there was a six-month waiting list to rent a U-Haul trailer anywhere
in the Bay area.
Yet my interest in the Internet never had much to do with becoming a
millionaire. I built my first Web site in 1996, in the week prior to
the first anniversary of my daughter Kims death. The 17-page sequential
site memorializes her life and details her death from alcoholism and
Almost immediately after it was launched, I began receiving e-mails
from people around the world. I especially remember a teen-age girl
in the Philippines who was afraid to tell her parents that she was putting
her finger down her throat after almost every meal.
If not for the Internet, how could I, a middle-aged woman in Michigan,
develop a relationship with a young girl living halfway around the world?
It was then that I began to see the power of this new medium to communicate,
educate and transcend.
That experience reminds me how much the Internet has helped us cope
with the searing events of 9-11. Like me, I am sure that you scoured
the Web for the latest news for weeks afterward. Alternet.org is now
at the top of my list of favorites. E-mail helped us all keep in touch
with family and friends, which seems so important now. E-mail also seems
to make even more sense in an era of anthrax.
Many people donated to victims online. When I can bear it, I read the
wrenching and magnificent stories about the World Trade Center victims
published by the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com).
The Internet allows us to share insights and information. The Victims
and the Media Program (http://www.victims.jrn.msu.edu)
that I coordinate at Michigan State University hosted a seminar on how
journalists covered the tragedy. The digitized video of the event again
generated e-mails from all around the world. A professor in Argentina
wrote seeking information on starting a similar program in his country.
A reporter from Switzerland visited this past Thanksgiving, primarily
as a result of seeing that video.
Maybe the lesson the Internet has taught us this past year is that we
are indeed interconnected. No longer do the oceans protect us from problems
in other parts of the world. Lets also hope that the Web becomes
a vehicle to bring us closer together in peace tomorrow.
WORKSHOP DATE CHANGES: Darcy Drew Greene and I
have changed the dates for our upcoming workshops on Developing Your
Web site: A Project Management Approach. Please mark your calendars
for Saturday mornings 8:30 to noon on Jan. 26, Feb. 9 and Feb. 16 in
Room 145/147 of the Communication Arts & Sciences Building on the
Michigan State University campus. More details next year.
(Among many career paths and interests, Bonnie Bucqueroux acts as Web
doctor for Web specialists Newslink Associates (designers of City Pulse
Online). E-mail us your questions and she will try to answer them in
career paths and interests, Bonnie Bucqueroux acts as Web doctor for
Web specialists Newslink
Associates (designers of City Pulse Online). E-mail
us your questions and she will try to answer them in future columns.
also read Bonnies article on E-training in Web Techniques magazine