"Please don’t take this question wrong... I mean it kindly and inquisitively. Who communicates with public via web presence? I have (clients) lined up out the door/gate here at the farm, as do many of my friends in the business...what would be the advantage of web pages beyond a kind of show and tell photo gallery?"
I love this question! For one thing it's a perfect reality check. I get so wrapped up in my own reality - I forget to consider other people's point of view. Pat's inquiry made me think it through. How do people use the internet these days anyway? And what does all that stuff in the title have to do with it?
For me, Just about Everything!
I love shoes. Always have. I'm no Imelda Marcos - but I haven't seen the floor to my closet since moving in. I like wearing cool shoes. Doc Martens, John Fluevogs, Mountain Horse, hand-painted Danskos, Irregular Choice and more. But I live in the sticks, just above a holler in the rolling bluegrass hills of central Kentucky. I'm inconveniently located from just about every resource for style that isn't Carhart focused. But I have DSL, which means I have Zappos, which means I am still hip in the shoe department. (http://www.zappos.com)
I went to a conference where I learned people load miniature horses up and take them around to public schools and other facilities to inspire the occupants. Well I love horses, I love inspiration, I love helping people smile and the idea of walking a miniature horse (whom my husband lovingly refers to as 'mutants') into a classroom gives me great joy. But I'm a busy gal. I run my own Marketing + Design business. When do I have time to shop for a cute-mutant; a cutant? In between emails, layouts, spreadsheets and teleconferences, as it turns out. I googled minis in my area and found the little cutie-pie pictured here.
My neighbor and I took a drive, loaded him up in her mini (ha!) van and brought him home. He's in process of growing up to become an inspiration as we speak.
OK, what about the grand old log home? Usually this is a long after-dinner story (and a self-published ezine). You're busy, so I'll keep it short. My husband and I began looking to move to Kentucky while still in metro-Chicago. I am nothing if not perseverant when it comes to achieving a dream. After many many hours searching I found a 200 year old log home (American Chestnut - already restored) on five acres with a creek (on a hill, over a dale, above a holler) on the - let's say it together - internet!
PayPal was just getting started back then, so we bought it the traditional way.
OK, so here I am, busy, into horses, far away from civilization that isn't about farming - what am I gonna do about my addiction to laymen's quantum physics? Well, it's a no-brainer, first off there's amazon.com for books. In fact, while still in Chicago, with book stores next to every coffee shop, meaning, many, I started shopping for books online. Couldn't take the caffeine temptation I guess. So this wasn't any big stretch. Then as the years have flown by, more and more information is becoming available online. Research. Papers. Studies. It's all there for people like me. I can now be as confused as I can ever hope to be on this and many other topics - every other topic, all because I can surf and discover new thoughts, new crack-pots, new blogs, vlogs, forums and wikis every single day.
So, what am I - some kind of screen-crazed hermit? Do I ever go meet actual analog people? All the time. My neighbor and I arrange cutant training sessions in my front yard (she got one too) via email. I do stuff for local horse rescue organizations, online - but get to meet them and see their horses whenever I want. I have one in my barn right now, matter of fact. Made the illustration for a new inductee by the name of Lava Man into the Old Friend's www.oldfriendsequine.org stable of retired thoroughbred stallions just last month! Never the left the studio - plan to when he finally shows up! I'm no shut in - Gotta meet with our hay guy, the ferrier, our vet, the UPS driver (hello box from zappos!) So while it's easy to keep it real - I get to work and play even more - and more efficiently - because of the good ol' internet.
I still have clients in Chicago - we do it all online. I art direct a magazine for an international organization (http://www.eagala.org) completely from the 3rd story of my log home! From data collection, ad creation, proofs, corrections - all without ever leaving my view of the barn, except to go visit the barn to dole out more fodder. I have clients in Utah, Tennessee, Pennslyvania, Ohio, California, New York, and even overseas!
So, Pat, I know that for some lucky people everything they want or need shows up for them right where they are and it is more than satiating. But for people like me, we find a need or a use to not just connect locally but engage globally, too.
Next time I'll explain in some solid research-based way just how beneficial the internet can be for a business - large or small, non-profits or any other group of people wishing to connect with their communities!
ps - as for eBay: I sold an ill fitting saddle, HappyArt paintings and I've gotten a halter for my cutant, Fabulous shoes (big surprise), vintage western wear and english riding breeches for a song, my rating is A+ and I hardly ever have to succumb to driving to a mall for anything!
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