Kim Alexander,

Kim Alexander,

A weeklong electronic journal.
May 19 1998 3:30 AM

Kim Alexander,

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       I am not worthy of the title "Webmaster." A Webmaster is someone who knows exactly what's going on with their Web site. My Web site is troubled. Well, not really troubled. But we have a serious glitch with one of our features--an image map that allows users to navigate through the five major sections of our new voter guide.
       The trouble is, the map never works for the first link, which goes to the section on statewide races. It took us over a week to figure out what was happening. It turns out the Web authoring program we have been using is lopping off the first line of coordinates in the image map every time we download and edit a page from our site. Now we have to decide: junk the program we know and love or remove the image map from each of the 300-plus pages in our site?
       Meanwhile, our site is "live," and thousands of people are trying to click on that damn image bar and getting nowhere. Producing for the Web sometimes feels like that recurring dream some people have when they're kids, in which they find themselves standing naked before all their classmates at school. I've never had that dream, but now I live it practically every day.
       Every voter guide we put together features more links than the last one. In 1994, there were three California election-related sites on the Internet--the secretary of state's, Kathleen Brown's, and ours. In the March 1996 primary, our guide linked to 60 sites. By the fall of '96, the number of links rose to 140. Now, we're just getting started on our 1998 guide, and already we link to more than 160 sites! I think there has been some degree of "if you build it, they will come" operating here in California. Candidates are more aware that the Internet is an available tool to help them get their message out. And some candidates are clearly embarrassed that they don't have addresses to give us--"yet."
       And as difficult as it may be to publish and maintain a 300-plus page Web site, it is nonetheless a true labor of love for the good people of California. People like my mother, for example, who left a five minute message on my machine today asking for help deciding how to vote on June 2. If I were a better Webmaster I'd figure out how to convert it to a sound file and place it in this entry so you could listen to my mother: "Lieutenant governor, treasurer, controller, Board of Equalization ... Kimmy, I don't know who any of these people are."