the barf plan
What is Working?
EXAMINE THE NET WAY OF LIFE
When Johannes Gutenberg crafted his 42 line bible in 1455, created on his invention of movable type, to mirror the manuscript copyists of his time, the concept of publishing has continued relatively unchanged to this modern era of communications.
Like the masters assistant, Peter Schoffer, who later opened his own print shop, and who first published a book with the date and place of publication and the printers name in 1457, people have used the media of typed words to communicate thoughts and ideas to others. The growth of the internet community can be directed related to the convergence of several factors: telecommunications, efficient tools and cost.
We are the communication descendants of Gutenberg. We add to the craft of wordsmanship as each generation adds volumes to the printed word. As revolutionary as tacking a printed list of demands on the church door, individuals are now empowered with an electronic printing press; the internet.
Telecommunications access through universal telephone lines gave individuals the distribution channel to reach others effectively and quickly. The HTML editors and web design programs have made it easier for non-technical persons the ability and tools to create their own content. The cost of creating, publishing and accessing content on the web is at a low-cost breakpoint which has established the fertile ground for the explosive crops of individual web pages uploaded each day. This site is one of those pages.
In the beginning, the purpose is to create a personal ejournal of net observations and essays on this new electronic printing revolution, where individuals are empowered with the tools to make their ideas well known in the public space. We will also take a neo-journalistic view of how the internet is changing perceptions, realities, and judgments. Examine the Net Way of Life is the mission statement.
Since the explosion of domain names, web sites, content providers, and national media attention, the medium has turned into the message. There has been a rush to be on the net without thinking through the process of what being on the net means. Billions of corporate dollars have been thrown into the wind on this mantra. And the rise of the fallen dot.com business models will be the storyline of a wary generation. It may not be the science of accident reconstruction, but there needs to be some outside the box examination of this enterprise.
It is important to look at this phenomenon with a objective, cynical, and critical eye. This will not intended to be a technical digest site. The attempt is to be a conversational, observational dialog with its readers who like to view the topic of the internet, its social issues, current events and community culture from an unconventional, tangential and humorous viewpoint.
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the barf plan
by Paul C. Pinderski
The religious fever surrounding the explosive growth was hailed as the greatest growth industry in history. The message was simple, the net was the answer to all ills. You had to be on the net to be a player or stay even with your competition.
The medium has turned into the cultural message. There has been a lack of general critical, cynical or tangential review of the pop culture surrounding the global informational highway. The business plan here is simple: create a new e-publication on the focus of internet culture on society.
In order to re-examine the popular culture of the internet, one needs a plan. A realistic business plan. It has been more than eight months since development of this site began on notebook pages, research into web page creation, and creation of a business model. Anyone with a small amount of capital, a personal computer, a web page design program and time can create a viable web enterprise. This endeavor will be a small business enterprise of e-publishing content.
Gad. E-publishing sites are the bottom feeders in the WWW fishbowl, right? Out of favor, maybe.
A basic tenet of the American dream is the opportunity to do something you enjoy, and profit from that commitment. In this situation, creating a content driven web site in an environment of dropping web advertising dollars and venture capital could be called dumb. But if one puts this in perspective, and dont quit your day job, there is a reasonable opportunity to succeed. There are numerous stories of enterprising individuals devoting their small resources to a content page, nurturing it, and hitting a profitable take-off point of success. That is the goal for cyberbarf.com.
The content, essays and political cartoons will come from the Creator. Not from a religious revelation, but from self-produced content. I am an independent writer and cartoonist. I have had experience writing and researching opinion pieces and publishing a self-produced zine before the term was popularly coined. It real cost is time to create the stories or cartoons based upon personal experience and observation. This principle is a standard for most web page site creators. The ease of uploading simple pages is part of the story behind the rapid growth of this interpersonal publishing media. This site will begin slowly, probably as a monthly publication, and work toward weekly editions as time warrants.
The fixed costs of a site registration fees, web hosting fees, and the like are constant and not megabudget items. Realistically, the site should break even with its limited cost structure, like any other small business, within a year of launch. The projection is to become break-even by the end of year one. The sources of revenue are republication fees, advertising, freelance commission, and merchandise. Control of these avenues of income is easy since this is a barebones, lean and realistic vision of a part-time business enterprise. A social experiment on whether you can create a topical publication in the electronic community. We will see whether the real world timeline of profitability has a parallel to the cyberworld.
I used to believe that you needed some intelligence to create intellectual property. Then, look at network television. Everyone believes that they can do just as well as the professionals. So all materials used on the site is copyrighted by the author. A copyright is the freedom of the author of the tangible idea to put strings on how, when, and where his works will be published. The control of the right to copy is the key to the right to have a return on the investment of creative time. Without the public recognizing the need to protect intellectual property rights, there can be no movement to e-business stability. The initial content is published free to the readers. Later republication will be a resource.
The long term plan is to repackage the content into reprints or a collective e-book for resale. Site advertising will be available. The plan is to take a print publication and transport it to the digital world. But retain the same elements of stories, essays, advertising and feedback. Part of the feedback is advertisers who want to associate with the publication, and to target the audience who come to cyberbarf.com. Two to four traditional magazine ads on the site would be controlled by the publisher. I do not perceive the push ad web programs as being associated with the early development of this site. Other possible revenue sources would include other publications asking for freelance assignments, republication of past articles and merchandise. Since this is a part time small business operation, freelance assignments would be on a selective basis. Merchandise, such as t-shirts and caps with the cyberbarf logo, will be on a limited run basis in the future. The balance of fixed costs and variable revenue streams is the key to creating a successful publication.
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What is Working?
by Paul C. Pinderski
The origins of the internet was the U.S. Defense Department ARPANET, a network to provide secure and survivable communications for organizations engaged in defense related research. There was an parallel system in academic circles by the National Science Foundation. The primary directive was research communication.
When the internet was created in 1983, its original uses were electronic mail, file transfer, bulletin boards, news groups and remote computer access. The underlying content was knowledge and research.
What is working on the internet today? Has the basic purposes changed?
Electronic mail is still a growth engine. It has replaced the water cooler conversation and intercom messages between managers. It is a simple and effective tool of communication between individuals.
File transfer has grown from a leaf to a redwood. The graphics, multimedia and interactivity embedded in transferring files from a server to an end user has gone beyond the simple text transfer of research papers.
Bulletin boards were community kiosks. Post something and come back later and see any reaction. The concept is still being used, like with Apple SupportÕs discussion groups. But stagnant bulletin boards have been morphed by real time chat rooms.
News groups are the topical conglomeration of subject matter interest between individuals. The discussion, commentary and organic bibliography of any particular subject is still prevalent on the net. However, the search engine has replaced the need of a subject matter primary resource site. For example, you donÕt need to belong to a news group on gardening. All you have to do is type in gardening into a search engine, and thousands of pages will appear.
Remote access to computer terminals has traveled from the internet to intranets, local area networks to secure routers, as common place as a touch tone telephone. Is todays underlying content knowledge and research? No, it is now more complex because of the shear number of users on the net.
There are three major areas under development: academic, commercial and personal. Academic is the original core content of cooperative knowledge and research tools. Commercial is the use of the network to facilitate commerce-- marketing, contracting, sales, and interchange of information. Personal is the individuals production of a piece of their life, ideas, interests, hobbies or creativity into the public forum.
Successful commercial applications tag behind the nets personal element. The major uses for individuals clearly could be defined in a limited pattern: search engine use for topics (business or personal interest), financial stock tracking, on-line brokerage, news portals, email and chat rooms through ISPs like AOL or Earthlink, and research. What do these subjects have in common? Personal interest. Personal interest in your own portfolio, your own news stations, your own friends to email, or your own research tools to complete your daily projects. Personal interest is the driving force behind the exponential use of the internet. It was the foundation of the origins of the net; it remains the foundation today. In essence, the foundation of the digital world has not really changed since its inception.
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