The Wired World

#Internet

Mon, May 15th, 2000 05:00 by Lord Lansdowne ARTICLE

When people find out I work in the web publishing industry, they showvivid interest. And it's strange, because it seems that everyonenowadays is doing webpages. On my way home I pass four companies thatdo exactly what I do: webpages.

But I suppose it's a consequence of the Internet having become sopopular (I miss the days in 94 when CoN had a total of 6 readers),and so hearing people on the bus you'd never think would have Internetaccess, use phrases like "I e-mailed that bitch but she still hasn'tgotten back to me" while holding a kid and wearing the latest ChicagoBulls jacket, has become the norm.

I digress. It's the wired world, everyone is on Yahoo!, thousandsof people are masturbating in front of pictures of golden showers andlistening to the latest Mp3 craze and while the Internet has never beena centre for useful information, it's impossible to determine who hasgot the dumbest site.

But the stunning part of all this is the people that work behind theworld of the Internet. The people that make things work, bring yourconnection, ensure that your e-mail is working fine and that therouter is functional, and all those crazy people that work like bugsto dish out truckloads of YAWS (yet another website). And it's scary.

It's scarier than having to deal with people with AOL, because withthe people you have at work, you need to interact in order to get afinished product done at least three months after the deadline. Andthat, sometimes, can have a detrimental effect on your liver, makingalcohol look like a healthy alternative.

While in the rest of the real world one needs to be qualified to dothings like working on planes, fixing cars, or building a bridge,qualifications are just fictitious in the e-world. I've worked asa systems administrator knowing nothing about networking. I've donemy fair share of Flash, Director and similar, learning as I was goingalong. I installed phone cabling and DSL connections having no cluewhat the pretty coloured wires were for. But at least I put theeffort into it all to learn. And I thought that was all over whenI landed my latest job.

When you work in new media you find yourself surrounded by reallystrange people. They all look the same. To the point that you canrecognize from which department they belong to just by how they dress.

Shaved head, Metallica t-shirts, piercing, strange colour combinations?They are in design. Well dressed, nicely done hair, always lookingtheir best, latest shoes? They do flash or 3D or Director or anythingthat involves following a pre-determined design that needs to be putonline and with no thinking of their own. Jeans, stubble, a pissedoff look (mostly from trying to convince designers that what can bedone in Photoshop can't always be done in HTML), sucking down coffeeand cola like water and a cigarette always stuck in their mouth?Those are the programmers. Marketing and sales is the only groupof people that you can't really fit anywhere.

In marketing and sales they all look different, albeit they followthe "I did take a bath recently" standard, despite their constant smell,they all have their own acceptable style. The only dead-give-away isthe fact that they smile. A lot. If you walked into an e-businessand looked around, the only people you'd see smiling are the bastardsfrom marketing and sales. They smile because they just got a contractto design an entire site, with flash, asp and all the bells andpromised it in a week. The smile is also caused by the fact that theylive in their own little world, using words like "synergy" or "page hits"when potential clients are shown the office, because, and as we allknow, clients like to see things like the boardroom.

So what do I do in here? I do writing. At least, that's what I washired for. I was hired to spew out amusing sentences and provide thatmuch needed entertaining content on the site I'm assigned to. But ithardly seems to work that way these days.

But it turns out that I do just about everything, from design, to coding,to animation, and next on my list is to re-build a mail server someone"competent" totally fucked. I don't mind. I've worked so many jobsalready, all paying disgustingly low amounts of money, that I canwire your DSL connection, set up your server, build your web page,and put content on it.

Maybe I should just cover ALL the bases and show up naked for work.

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