The Education Liberator, Vol. 2, No. 6, July 1996
Separation on the 'Net
by Greg Dirasian, Alliance Webmaster
I recently participated on a panel at the International Communications Association Annual Conference in Chicago. We discussed the use of new technologies, primarily the Internet, as a tool for grassroots organizations to deliver their message.
During my presentation I stated that elaborate graphics have limited appeal to many people on the Web. A modest amount of graphics provides visual appeal, but too much merely slows the download and may discourage the viewer from giving the material presented the attention it merits. There are cases where graphics are desirable as a means of presenting information (a picture is worth a thousand words), but my experience has been that people want the information with a minimum of distractions.
Dr. David Lytel, who created the White House Web site, speaking next, took exception to my statements. He described his "art" and his use of new features. Then he said that every time he released a new site, he got plenty of visitors for a few days, but it quickly dropped off as others copied his work, reproducing his use of new features all over the Web. He clearly believed that people were not interested in information.
Perhaps it is just that we intend to address different audiences, but I can't help but wonder if the people who don't want to provide information in their Web sites, take the same attitude towards government schools.
I assure you that The Separation of School & State Alliance will have plenty of high-quality information with just enough graphics to entertain, without causing lengthy downloads. Most of the pages will be enhanced for use with Netscape. For example, the school house currently displayed on the first page of the SepSchool Web site (https://HonestEdu.org) has a bell that moves back and forth (only displayed by Netscape 2.0 or later). My hope is that if people come for the graphics, they'll stay for the information.
We are also getting several visitors to our site, coming through search engines. The most popular page visited right now is an Education Liberator article by Jackie Orsi, entitled "The KKK's Attempt at Thought Control in Oregon Schools." Our logs also indicate the name of the "referring page," and it is usually the "results page" from a search engine that was looking for "KKK." "Should we 'Shogunize' the Schools?" by Ken Schoolland also seems to be getting hits from the search engines.
We will be making several enhancements to the page over the next few months, so please come by and check it out often. Visit the SepSchool Web site: https://HonestEdu.org
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