|What is a Webzine?
From: Paul Weinstein
Subject: More introductions etc.
The simplest definition I can come up with of a webzine is a independent
(noncorporate) site that warehouses information on one or more topics. I
would consider, to some extent, that webzines in this simplest form is the
natural evolution of the "personal home page". Where a personal home page
is a collection of links and images, a webzine is a collection of
information (content) along side links and images.
In this sense, my own domain, is a webzine, an evolution of my own "home
page" into a collection of specific topic oriented pages that allows me to
publish not only my personal bookmarks, but art I've created, information
and knowledge I've gained, and in some cases, areas where net surfers can
interact and post there own knowledge, etc... In other words the answer to
the question, why a webzine is: Well that's what my work has became.
Whether or not others might agree with this, I don't know. But, in terms of
corporate America I'm a consumer not a producer. In Internet terms I'm
both. This means I have to deal with the same issues as anyone who's online
creating content but outside of corporate America. I have organize, run,
promote my own work with LIMITED resources and time.
Hence, why I'm here and what I'm trying to do.
One idea that's crossed my mind is the concept of creating a portal site
(gees, can you tell I still do read Wired?) that directs surfers to
independent content. Hence, cut your energy in half when it comes to
promoting your 'zine. Simply promote the portal/search engine. Here's one
area where Webzine can help. If WebzineXX is the annual physical gathering
of independent content creators then webzine.com (or whatever) is the
everyday virtual collection of the actual content.
Which brings us to a humble beginning. Following in the best traditions of
the 'Net, I've created a banner/button for content creators to post on
their site. Some of you may recognize the tag line "Corporate Websites
Suck" from Webzine98. I've borrowed this little sound bite as a way for
webzine authors to voice their opinion that independent content matters
just as much as corporate content, while also allowing the same authors to
link to other sites that they think best highlights these ideals. Check it
out, tell me what you think and join in.
Hmm, seems I've add more than my two cents worth...oh well.
From: Paul Weinstein
Subject: re: Definition of Webzine
>There's obviously a
>lot of hostility in the Corporate Media against Web information --
>viz. all the fnords about not believing everything you see on the Web,
>viruses, privacy, etc. The general covering of the Web is that it's
>A) a good place to buy stuff and B) a bad place to learn stuff.
I would agree that that's been the "topic of discussion" in media about the
Web over the past year. However, that doesn't encompass all of the media
coverage about the web. After all if this was true then why would so many
schools and libraries be rushing to make sure that they to have web access
that anyone and everyone can use. Somehow I doubt they're doing this to so
people will goto their local library to shop.
>The big bad part is that there's no real way to tell that the
>site that you're reading is any more/less credible than anything
>else. This means that you have to use your DISCRETION ("Is this
>really a good idea?") rather than your LIZARD BRAIN ("Well-known logo
>and flashy graphics... OK, I believe it!") to make decisions. Which
>is good for the WORLD.
This is a greatest concept for anyone, not matter what outlet you prefer,
be it web, books, tv, whatever. You should always "consider the source."
The problem, or at least one that I ran into while playing sysadmin for a
elementary school is that people, in this case teachers, don't what to take
that extra step. They like (and I should note the parents of the children
as well) like well-know logos..oh look it's Scholastic Network's Website,
you know the company that does our book fairs...here's a project that would
work well in our class. The other half of this is why should a teacher
discuss to the kids how to go about flittering information that reaches
them. It becomes a headache and the end result might be the kids start
filtering out what your telling them. (I don't want to debate if ignoring
what our public school system teaches is good or bad. Teachers and the
public school system in general are ok..it's those few bad apples the stink
up the whole system.) Anyway the end result is that the kids then learn that
corporate media outlets are good and others are not, are of course they next
set of teachers and parents..and off we go again.
Point one would therefore be that the two goals of Webzine should be to
help educate readers about the issues of independent source vs. major media
source and next how to filter and digest corporate and independent
information. A "Corporate Websites Suck" generalization is just that a
generalization. It helps start, at least in my mind, to "bring the issue
home" using a method that most consumers of major media outets understand,
i.e a sound bite. Of course, the next step is to replace this sound bite
with a better more complete definition. Otherwise we're no better than
other current media outlets.
Well, at least thats a more complete picture of my two cents...I think....
From: Paul Weinstein
Subject: RE: Definition of Webzine
>I just find it ironic that, frankly, a lot of zines have the same 'style'. A
>'style' invented by the corporate sector. The whole retro thing is so
>capitalized on by *everything* out there from Coke to Datsun to Cnet,
>practically. It wasn't invented by ziners. Hell, it wasn't even really
>invented. It just happened. I guess what I'm saying is that corporate sites
>are just as valid in certain respects as other sites that aren't huge and
>have a stake in the Dow Jones or Nasdaq.
Of course they are. But they aren't the ONLY source of valid information.
People should be able to choose wisely between any source of information as
you obviously do. The problem is there's no level playing field. I don't
have the money to place a 30-sec add on TV during Super Bowl Sunday (or any
other day of the year for that matter) to drive people to my site. But
because someone else can they all of a sudden are a "valid source of
The point of definition for us is to help point this out to the people as
we can. I'm not anti-corporate. If I was I'd have no means of living. I'm
Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2000 18:46:23 -0700
From: Paul Weinstein
Subject: Re: WZ >> Q & A
ryan junell wrote:
> here's some thoughts I had about the WEBZINE event and
> independent publishing in general. do you guys have
> any thoughts? maybe everyone could take these same
> questions and answer them and post them to the list.
> it'd be nice to take excerpts from here to fuel our
> press release and the way we present our ideas on the
> new website.
Here's my take:
> >- What was your formative involvement in this format? Did you put out any
> >print zines before moving to the Web format, or do you come from more of a
> >computer-oriented background?
As I think I say to everyone in connection to webzine, first and formost
I'm a computer geek. If not running my own website I'm sure I would be
doing something else in my spare time computer related - such as running
a BBS or gopher archive. Having made this disclaimer however doesn't
mean I can't see the personal effects of self-exploration that can come
out of sharing your own published works. In fact if I where running a
BBS or gopher site I'm sure it would continue to run such a service
becasue of what I put into that medium and what it means to me, along of
course with what others got out of what I've done or what others might
be duing on their own in that medium. Anyway in specific to the web I
got hooked in the real early days, 1994, while working at a computer
bookstore, Books and Bytes, and spending other
free moments on various BBSs and such. I started doing web design for
their site (some of which can still be seen years after I left there).
With my own publish I first started with a web page at the bytes.com
domain, then on to Geocitites, then AOL and finally on my own domain
when I need a specific place to focus all my works. At the same time of
course I explored the technical aspects of the web such that I now run
my two domains, and
on machines mantained by myself and a friend
(soon hopefully three with Zinecities.com going back up). Overall I
would say my work is a self-exploration of not only what I might have to
say, think and feel, but also of exploring the technical methods/design
> >- I've heard that you are considered a pioneer in the Webzine field. What
> >was your first venture into the format, and when was it constructed? Was
> >there anybody else doing similar things at the time?
A pioneer I am not. My first web page as I alluded to was a simple web
page with links to some of what I found interesting on the web (like all
pages at the time it didn't even have a background image. The collect
grew till it could be divided up into specific topics. That with some
simple design and images pretty much made up the sites that where posted
to Geocities and AOL. Around '96 I desided to try my hand at what would
now be termed a portal for Mac users. That's when I first desided to put
together everything under one roof as it where and got my own domain.
Since then I've just keep growning the site into what it is now a
digital collection of what I'm interested in. All of that hat hardly
sounds pioneering :-)
> >- What sort of applications (programming, graphics, text,etc) do you use
> >in constructing a site?
It finally occured to me while I was chatting with Josh,
why I do HTML by hand in text editors
(and why I think all hard core coders do and always will)...anyone who's
ever written a program (I mean like writing a C program not some
and then, depedning on what language it is, run it (there might be a
step or two first). I've been doing that since I learning BASIC on my
APPLE IIe way back in the day...while some people might think this is
not be the best or most effiecent way for everyone to do web pages, I
would argue it is the only way since you see the code, getting hands on
and get to play in the dirt as it where, but I think I'm getting a
little off topic here. Any text editor, Photoshop or some Photoshop like
tool (GraphicConverter on the Mac or GIMP for XWindow/Un*x I've been
know to use when at hand) are what I use most. Mozilla is probaply my
favorte brower to view the work and of course there's my digial camera
which helps add content.
> >- What are your thoughts about the concept of a digital divide? That is,
> >do you think the Webzine format is somehow elitist or exclusionary, since
> >many lower- or working class folks do not have access or knowledge about
> >computers? Print publishing (in the way of zines, tracts, pamphlets, etc)
> >could generally be created by anybody with the proper motivation. Do you
> >think Webzines and Web publishing in general is the same? If not, do you
> >have any ideas about how this could be remedied so that all groups have
> >access and ability? (sorry, I know that's quite a pretty weighty question)
There's an interesting assumption here which if pointed out, I think
might illuminate things. The comparison is that print publishing would
find a larger audience than digital publishing. But with print
publishing you need to have a literate audience to be able to reach 'em.
The same is true with digital publishing the reader needs to be literate
with the digital medium (such as using a computer, having access to a
computer, etc). Now while there may seem a larger precurser to digital
literacy we need to keep in mind that A) this is new enough that it may
well take a generation or two till over 50% of the population is taught
how to be digitally literate and B) that with literacy, both digital and
non-digital we will always need a vigilant advocate in our world to make
sure that the majority of people in this world can comprehend it no
matter what medium that world information is stored/presented in. So to
answer the question, yes there is a "digital divide" that needs to be
dealt with, but no more or less then the divide of literacy in general.
> >- What are your greatest hopes for the format? How do you see the Webzine
> >Conference as promoting these goals?
To be able to push the consept of self-publishing beyond the image of a
sub-culture and for it to be seen as a method for ALL people to be able
to explore themselves and thier peers.
> >- Finally, do you feel there is any tension between print media and Web
> >publishing? This topic has been thrown around a lot, but I've only
> >received answers from people in print industries, so I'd be curious to
> >know your thoughts on the subject.
No. My hometown is the Chicago Metro area and I still read the Chicago
Tribune online everyday to catch up on Sports and what not. What the
Tribune company has done not just online or in print, but in all media
shows that if nothing else their not scared to explore and imbrace. I
thing that's attitude that we need right now with this new medium. Of
course, the mass media/busniess outlets shouldn't be the only place
where we explore the web, and hence why we need groups like Webzine.
I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have
been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and
then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst
the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.