The American Amateur Press Association has had a presence on the World Wide Web since the fall of 1994. AAPA's first page on the Internet was pretty much an adaptation of the recruiting brochure About Amateur Journalism. Space for the page was provided by Ohio State University, but they had a strange condition: the content had to be updated every few weeks. When I left on vacation near the end of the year and wasn't able to change it before the time limit, it disappeared!
In early 1995 I came across a better offer. Volant Turnpike was starting a free "Metropolis" Web area for non-commercial users. After my application was approved, I established the page at the new location. Having a page is good, but getting people to visit it is even better! I addressed this problem by registering the AAPA page with the Yahoo index service and writing articles for both the "What's New" Web page and the news group set aside for announcing new pages.
The announcements seemed to do the trick! Over the following weeks, Mike O'Connor and I received several e-mail inquiries about membership, and some of them even joined.
The traffic soon tapered off, and I figured I needed something else to announce. A page of information on letterpress printing seemed a natural, so I watched for announcements of appropriate pages. Not too many showed up among the ever-increasing volume of new pages, but I discovered that using a Web "search engine" found pages much more efficiently. These Web pages allow you to enter a keyword or phrase, then they search the content of all the pages they have visited to find addresses of interest. I found several good pages, and those led me to even more. The AAPA had its second page! Several more folks noticed the announcement and requested information.
In addition to requests for membership information, the Web page has generated other interesting e-mail, such as:
I knew that several other pages referred to an AAPA page, and figured I'd better write and tell them about the change in address. Using various search engines, I found over 50 pages referencing the AAPA! Most have a printing or journalism tie-in (many from universities), but some pages are from individuals who have put together a seemingly random grouping of topics.
The current address of AAPA's Web site is:
http://members.aol.com/aapa96/In addition to recruiting and letterpress information, the site includes pages dealing with these topics: links to graphic arts pages on the Web, "Use the Meat-Axe" (suggestions for improving your writing by New York Timesman Burton Crane), other amateur journalism groups, and links to pages that reference the AAPA.
None of the AAPA pages make heavy use of graphics. Although more pictures would make the pages look snazzier, they also would increases the amount of time it takes to download.
Please drop by, take a look, and let me know if you have any suggestions on content or presentation.
A total of $47 was sent in by Lee Hawes ($10), Len Carrick and Ted Conover ($5 each), Les Boyer, Charlie Bush, Fred Liddle, Guy Miller, Gale Mueller, Gordon Rouze, Ivan Snyder ($3 each), Guy Botterill, Carl Masson, and Duane Scott ($2 each). Many thanks for covering my expenses for another year!
Anyone who wants to participate in next year's edition should get 350 copies of a 4½ by 6 inch page to me by August 31st.