My first attempt at building a web site was a mammoth affair. First there was a hunt for an ethical provider. Ethical! I was looking for a provider for goodness sake – computers all on 24 /7- where the ethics? Well, a cleaner one than most then. I was also looking for a local UK one, with a vague feeling that one should promote home grown industry where possible. I found one. With eco credentials. I explored their software for creating the site but my computer took a dislike to it and refused to have any contact with it. What to do?
That was the first time I met one of those splendid faceless devotees of their job. The man (and it always has been a man so far) sat at the other end of the email trail with helpful, patient advice. How their hearts must sink after the first million e-mails for assistance, view my signature with dread. Do they show it? Utter a sharp word? No never. If these fellows are as nice in real life as they are in cyberspace then they are the kind all right minded mothers would wish their daughters to bring home to afternoon tea!
Do they ever sleep? I ask them and can feel them smiling gently as they assure me they do. When? This first one was UK based so I can’t even see the international time zones confusing me. When I struggle with internet thingies, I am often there in the small hours. Maybe at 2.30 a.m I’ll stretch my aching back, rub my red rimmed eyes and call it a day – sending an e-mail plea as I do. When I struggle to the machine a few hours later I find the answer waiting, having been sent at some silly o’clock like 3.00 a.m. He would be there at 11.00a.m and 11.00 p.m. Early morning and early evening. Monday through Sunday. Did he ever have a day off I asked once? Oh yes, was the gentle smile.
Friends suggested he wasn’t a real person but I do not think machines have been made to answer the personal questions, quips and joking references I sent him – no he was a real person. He was amazing and holding on to his metaphorical hand I finally managed to – ta da – unveil a sparkly website. Somewhere along the way I learnt about parent, child pages, I learnt about royalty free photographs, I found my way around widgets and Paypal buttons.
There was a man over in USA Pacific Time who ran a site one could put up one’s books and ask folk to post their reviews and comments. It was a great idea and I thought it would be a good place to be. It was for the year it stayed but, although one book delighted in its new home the second fought shy and would not, despite my best efforts, even try it.
Yet another person who never slept or took time off – a fellow indeed who would email from his mobile as well as from his base. If he travelled to another zone he was still picking up the distress calls. Once, for interest I translated the times and sure enough he also seemed to work the clock around. There have others in this long process of trying to get to grips with cyberspace. I have a fondness for them all.
This year I decided to move my website to another place – still keeping my original platform and when I inevitably came across a hitch and called for help – that original, gentle, kind man answered my call and helped me out.
I am a bit of a dimbo I realise but I also know I am not the only one yelling for help. So, are these fellows
a) working impossible hours or have they,
b) as I suspect, been cloned!