Taking the plunge into cyberspace

Forgive me if I seem a little nervous this week but this is a debut, of sorts, for “Moving with Mike.” And I’d be fibbing if I denied having a few opening night jitters, so to speak.
You see, thanks to today’s launch of the Fort Frances Times’ new Web site, “Moving with Mike” is going global. As in a potential audience of six billion people.
The thought is both awe-inspiring–and nerve-wracking.
I’ve known this day was coming for quite some time now, and you’d think I’d have been ready with a barn-burning column to take the world by storm. You know, one that would grab the attention of Maclean’s as the heir to Allan Fotheringham’s roost on the back page.
Or perhaps the Globe and Mail or National Post, prompting a bitter bidding war for my words of wisdom.
Alas, as is typical, it’s 12:45 a.m. on Wednesday–and I have no topic.
The ol’ brain is, well, brain dead, which, to be fair, is somewhat understandable given I’m just home from a 16-hour day at the office getting today’s edition ready for the press. Who wouldn’t be exhausted, or at least drained of any remaining creative juices?
But heck, it’s my world debut and I just can’t back away from the challenge of churning out something–even if it takes ’til dawn.
Of course, my wife doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about. I’ve written most of the editorials that have appeared on the Web since 1995. She also reiterated that I’ve been writing columns for years and of the six billion people out there, just the same 40 will read me.
Now that brings a person down to earth pretty quick.
Okay, okay, so I’m no Stephen King. Our new Web site won’t crash tonight because it’s overloaded with millions of people trying to log on to read “Moving with Mike,” especially since I’m halfway through it without having thought of a topic yet.
But who knows? The sky’s the limit here in cyberspace and there’s simply no way of predicting whether someone in Kalamazoo, Timbuktu, or all places in between someday–while bored out of their collective trees–will type www.fftimes.com on their computer, click on columnists, and poof.
An instant global following.
And believe me, if “Moving with Mike” gets 50,000 hits a month, and advertisers are beating down the door to link off me, I’m asking for a raise.
Seriously, though, the real point of all this is that the Internet brings the world to our fingertips pounding on the keyboard and, through our efforts here at the Times, delivers Fort Frances and Rainy River District to it. Our stories, opinions, pictures, and ads are “out there” for all to see.
Someday, in the not-too-distant future, people won’t pick up a newspaper to get the news, they’ll call it up online and read it on their computer screens. All the newspapers are doing it (not to mention magazines and even the major TV networks).
For instance, just now–being from Ottawa originally–I called up the Ottawa Citizen and read several of their stories from the different sections as well as some of their columnists like Charles Gordon, Warren Kinsella, and Wayne Scanlon.
Instantaneous, from the comfort of my living room 1,500 miles away, at 1:30 a.m. All with the click of the mouse.
It’s the way of the future.
The good news is my job is safe, because no matter whether people read it on paper or their computer screen, companies still will need someone to write the stuff, and edit it. They may even need a columnist or two.
Well, I did it. It’s 1:43 a.m. but my world debut is ready to be unveiled. The pressure’s off–at least until next week.
No doubt my 40 faithful readers await with bated breath, my wife excluded.

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