Le Scarabée
Masquer la pub

Presentation of the Webmaster

par Eric Cotte
mise en ligne : 31 December 1996
Traduction : Bilan 96

Most of this is taken from the 1996 personal, economical and human overview of the first year of the site (written by the webmaster himself).

The Beetle was born on February 10th 1996. There were two reasons for this. The first one was that, on the 10th, my brother (who is, to my dismay, a rightwing sports fan) expounded on his political views, to which I didn’t reply only because it was his birthday. I said to myself that I had to answer this some way or other. The second reason was that, on that same morning, there was more hair on my comb than on my head. I said to myself that I was a creep. That’s how, pushed by the dual will of dying rich and famous (and as late as possible), I started working on the Beetle.

Since that day, the Beetle has become a 8 Mo, 200 pages site (data of the time) with over 110 000 hits. It became, in August of that year, a newsletter as useless as it is irregular, that jams the mailboxes of 350 readers. My goal for 1997: becoming the web’s reference on spelling mistakes, obsolete links, unchecked info and banalities.

More seriously, the conclusion reached for this year 1996 is a great personal enrichment... So great that I don’t see why more people do not start their own site! So, if I’m talking about my achievements here, it’s mainly to give you the will to start (if you haven’t done it yet) your own homepage. First, it’s nice to have to write on a regular basis. You can’t never learn more about yourself than by writing. Thoughts start getting a structure, thinking becomes (hopefully) sharper and you find your edge... You meet your own self.

Then, you get to meet readers. Those who discover the site, people who read me pretty often, those who read everything... Their emails show a sort of trust, a kinship feeling, real warmth, which strike me every time. Also, messages can be of a great pertinence, just like that of the guy who wrote me, just after my first article, to say that I had created a whole site just for those articles. There are hateful people and nasty emails, but they’re scarce. There are instead many warm messages, little notes to say that people agree, to add more information, or to explain, as in an apology, that they don’t agree. That’s the real good news on the Net: kindness and warmth, honesty... Men are good, and I have proofs!

Back to me: the relative success of the Beetle allowed me to discover new scenes: some journalists surprised me through their nice soul and people from the movie critic scene stunned me through the base ugliness of their world (a scene as insignificant as that of fashion!). The web gave me a taste for revolt, anger and some emotions that I had somewhat lost after puberty. Messages from readers make me believe that, indeed, there is a hope. We can fight and beat the ugliness of the system, the mediocrity of politics, the passivity in front of the return to a moral order and fascism. Good and beautiful people are more numerous than hateful, egoistic and feckless beasts (to be sung on the air of "We shall overcome").

Independent webmasters belong to a great world too! Whatever the size of their page, they all feel like they’re taking part in "something", in this new medium, this link between people. They all have something in common, the same enthusiasm, and see the Net as a challenge... not an economical one, not a technological one, but a cultural one.

So, what about 1997? One thing is for certain, we’ll have to defend ourselves, resist. How? By hardening the tone, even if we risk to be only preaching to converts, by using the enemy’s weapons, even if we risk drowning in crap? I don’t know, but what I do know is that the web is changing, and it’s not always for the better. We have to react. Newspapers that talked about users and cultural goals are disappearing one by one and only the ones fascinated by the technological aspects stay. Development tools are becoming more and more expensive and purely commercial sites are monopolizing the news. Is it the beginning of the end?

That would be sad. So I hope you’ve grasped the aim of this article: the real boon of this web is its users, active and humans, who invest their lives, with their messages, both warm, light and funny, and bring a bit of human touch. That’s the total opposite of professional sites, web-business specialists, who are only motivated by gain and whose messages are normalized, calibrated, and mind-numbing: simple contact between consumers and salespersons. Looking at the latest evolutions of the Internet, I fear it could be becoming as unexciting as an inflatable doll.

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