Friday, February 23, 2007

Research is More than Memory

Friday is a much better day than Thursday. My website is back up.

Yesterday, I picked up my daughter and took her and my laptop to a coffee shop. She totally fixed everything. Because I don’t know html, I use a WYSIWYG program to build my site. I can look at the code, but it means nothing to me, except a headache. My daughter on the other hand has no fears about going into the code.

She completely restructured by site, putting things into the right places and cutting out duplication. Once she was finished and made sure it was back up and running, I told her it bothered me that some of the rollover buttons didn’t do what I wanted them to do, but I could live with it. She went right back into the code and got rid of every crazy “style” Dreamweaver attached to every page, and made sure the rollovers acted correctly by writing the code manually.

Hot damn, I love that girl.

So, the site is back up, but my email is still not coming through. That’s a pain, but not one she can fix.

And why can my daughter do all that? Number one, because she’s smart, of course. But also because she grew up with computers. Neither of my kids remembers a time before computers, internet, cell phones, and other high tech gizmos. They have no fears, they speak the language, they are within their comfort zones.

If you write about young people, don’t rely just on your memories of when you were a teenager or a young adult. Not just because of the gadgets and software has changed over the years, but also because the entire language seems to have changed. And even the language is not universal among young people. It varies from region to region, group to group, socio-economic level … even cultural background can dictate slang words.

It’s just another aspect of the research you have to do.

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