Why Feel Inferior?

August 5, 1998

The majority of 'personal home pages' I happen upon are the usual sites you hit; here's my family, here's my dog, and some writing I did all pushed onto one page, invariably with some blinking text, multiple animated .gifs and a couple of bar graphics as dividers. And of course, along with these evil mistakes out of HTML's early life, here comes some stupid song by Hanson blaring over my speakers as I go frantically searching for the 'stop' button. Geocities and Tripod have gone a long way to bringing really bad web pages to the masses. Then there are some that are more organized, ones that do have some quality writing and design to them, using some JavaScript for mouse-overs and such. I'd like to think I fit in the later category.

Not that it's a contest or anything. It's just some internal need that drives me to be as good as I possibly can. But then, I look at the next level - the people who actually know what they're doing. (Who? Sites like glassdog, anything by Alexis Massie or Magdelina Donea, or Craig Mitchell's My Boot) You know, I look at what I've done, and then I see what these individuals are doing out on their sites. I'm not including commercial sites because they hire these experts (and some companies hire complete idiots, but that's neither here nor there).

But these 'next level' sites, not just in the design department, but also in the writing, the layout, the graphics, these individuals are just so far out there that I look what I've done, not just with this site, but with my writing, and I just think 'damn, do I suck.'

No, it's not a contest. It's a relative comparison. And I'm not saying that these particular individuals, or anyone else I failed to name (there are a lot of great web designers and writers out there) are the end-all be-all of greatness and we should all fall down and worship them. That would be going too far. I do think they do have something to offer, something to appreciate in the same vein that I'd go to a university art exhibit or purchase a poetry and prose rag.

But it makes me introspective. It makes me look at my own work in a new light. It reminds me that I don't have too many original ideas in my web site. I haven't come up with some killer way of looking at site layout. It slaps me in the face and tells me that my writing is still immature (although vastly improved since my first attempts).

Overall, it gives me an inferiority complex.

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