I remember the moment. Art Bell, a late night talk show host who kept me company on my swing-shift job, was exuberant about the Internet, almost hyperbolically so, and he was going on about web addresses and his own web address at artbell.com. So in the spring of 1997, still basically broke and going to college, I followed him into cyberspace and purchased apfelbeck.com. Looking at the website over two decades, it’s a microcosm of the World Wide Web, filled with promises, fits and starts, and stagnation. (I sometimes wonder how long the term World Wide Web will take to sound like horseless carriage.) Our first attempt was by my wonderful wife Isabella, hosted by Geocities, was quite lovely, and can still be accessed at the Wayback Machine. When we moved to Galena in 2001, I tried my hand at basic HTML, creating pages for all of my classes, with room for myself on the edges. As personal pages tend to do, content ebbed and flowed, with a concerted focus around 2010 as HTML5 came into vogue. I remember lots of fun on cold winter days writing code. Soon afterward, social media flooded the landscape, and Facebook provided an instant easy-to-use platform for Internet access, so much so that I’ve read about those who conflate Facebook and the Internet. I also seem to recall 50 percent of all web pages are moldering away unused, and that soon included apfelbeck.com.
The first time I had heard about WordPress was at the 2014 journalism teacher’s conference at the University of Missouri, shared by Jim Streisel, the journalism teacher at the Carmel High School HiLite. Soon afterwards, we put the Hawk Highlights on a WordPress platform, and I learned enough to almost keep up with the writing by the students. The big shove pushing out of my complacency came from my master’s degree classes taken during fall 2018, one which suggested that teachers set up their own blogs to share knowledge and learn from others, adding that platforms like Wix and WordPress offer many good possibilities for the amateur (such as myself).
The 2018 WordPress platform reform seems designed for someone like myself – sort of like creating a web page with digital Legos with the ability to add snippets of code. I’d like to teach this to students, but bandwidth is a concern, as I discovered this past week recreating this web page. Someday, perhaps. In the meantime, wish me luck.
Paul Apfelbeck ~ 28 December 2018