Friday, August 6, 2010

The Internet for Poets, Part One: Quick and Dirty

You aren’t on the Internet.

Well, if you’re a poet, you should be. This is not a game for the faint-hearted. Unless you are awfully well-connected, the kindness of strangers is not going to be an option. It is quite literally a question of do-it-yourself or perish. So drag yourself out of your dream-cave and get on with it.

In response to a couple posts I made here last week, I received some emails asking how to begin. I don’t want to duplicate my replies, so I’ll answer those emails here. There are two production modes, the first of which I call Quick and Dirty.

1) Blogging

Go to Blogger and Wordpress, decide which works best for you, register, and then just do what it says to do. You’ll be up and running in ten minutes. Stop thinking about it and just go do it. I mean it’s not like you can’t remove it later, if you decide to.

You’ll need to choose a format. The current trend is black text on a light background, like printed pages. I don’t do that, because presenting pictures is an important part of my blog—some would say the best part—and I think my pictures look much better against a black background.

Writing regularly on a blog can be useful as a daily yogic practice, but naturally it’s a good place to post work, invite comments, and grant the curious reader a glance into the workshop.

Of course you’ll need a counter to follow what’s going on with the blog. I think that Blogger has one as an add-on; personally I use Statcounter.

The biggest problem with blogging is getting people to look at it. There’s lots of advice on the Internet which I won’t replicate here, but I do know from experience that talking about the blog on your facebook account is extremely effective. With time and persistence the readership will grow.

Because most visitors aren’t going to go rummaging about in the archives of people’s blogs, you might also consider creating a

2) Website

This is so easy and cheap it’s ridiculous. Go to GoDaddy or 1&1 and obtain your own for a few dollars each month. Use their proprietary software to design your site and upload your jazz.

Consider that your website is like a poster wall where you can put up whatever you want people to see or to know about.

3) Issuu and Scribd

Internet literacy took a huge step forward with these programs. People don’t like to read long posts and texts on blogs or websites, so do it this way instead. At no expense you can upload whatever you’ve got going in MS Word or as a .pdf and blitz it off to issuu or scribd, and then link to it or embed it in your blog or website. People can then deal with it or not. Big Problem solved at zero cost.


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