Jerry Gervase: My website and Taylor Swift’s panties
Updated: 08/21/2011 01:42:01 AM PDT
When a good friend suggested I get a website I naturally asked her why.
“So your readers can follow your exploits when you’re famous.”
“I’m already famous. It’s just that no one knows it.”
“That’s why you need a website.”
Such non-syllogistic reasoning may have caused Socrates to chug-a-lug some ouzo laced with hemlock. Still, there was no denying I harbored a secret desire to be part of the dot-com community rather than just the dot-clueless community. I did some research into why one should have a website, and found many reasons that would make sense to someone who designs websites for a living.
Reason No. 1 is that my competitors already have websites. I checked, and sure enough Dave Barry’s website is up and running. Yeah, I can hear you now: “I know Dave Barry. And this guy’s no Dave Barry.” Hey, if you’re going to identify with someone, why not pick a winner?
The second reason for having a website is that your customers are probably searching the web already. In my case, customers are readers. I understand that many of my readers are of a “certain age” who may think websites are where spiders hang out. I wouldn’t want to scare them off their tuffets while they’re reading my column.
The third reason really caught my attention: Existence is everything! Without a website, one simply does not exist in the world of commerce. That’s a shattering thought — as devastating as realizing I was never going to be enshrined in Cooperstown.
Then I analyzed it as it applies to me. How do I research a company or service? I go to their website and find as much information about them as I can. And I usually do that at my convenience, often during weird hours of the day or night. (Reason No. 4 — Even when you’re sleeping, your website is working for you)
Reason No. 5: A website distinguishes you from others. Here’s a story that illustrates that point. Recently, a gentle reader approached me at Starbucks and told me how much she enjoyed something I had written about South Africa’s Floral Kingdom. She used the terms proteoids, ericoids, restoids, and geophytes. I know without checking my computer database that I’ve never used any of those terms. She couldn’t have read anything about gardening in my column. I told her I would have been kicked out of the Garden of Eden for neglecting all the plants after Eve came along.
“I have a black thumb,” I said, “I’m so bad at raising things that my Chia Pet died.”
“I know it’s you,” she insisted, “I recognize you from your picture above the column.”
Aha! Mystery solved. Now I understood her confusion. Look at my mug shot at the top of this column. Then, if you still have a copy of yesterday’s Herald, take a look at Tom Karwin’s picture above his column, “On Gardening.” There is definitely a resemblance. I’ve been trying for a couple of years to get The Herald to change my picture. Not that I have anything against Tom, he is quite a dashing fellow. The current picture of me is missing that je ne sais quoi, the indefinable quality that is so evident upon meeting me in person.
One of the best things about a website is the freedom it gives you to reinvent yourself. A website presents the opportunity to show off your personal side, your professional side, your playful side or all of them at once. You can even add search terms on your home page that will interest Internet surfers, assuring multiple hits. For instance I can add “President Barack Obama,” “Sarah Palin” or even post that picture of Taylor Swift’s dress blowing over her head, revealing her flesh colored panties. Taylor in her tights should be worth a couple of million hits.
My website is still in the building stage but you can check it out and/or leave a comment at www.jerrygervase.com.
Jerry Gervase is a columnist for The Herald. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.