Saturday, November 15, 2008

What Makes Pan Historia Unique

I decided to stop and consider what makes Pan Historia such a great site and why, year after year, I continue to pour time, money, and love into it. Recently I have been wandering around the rest of the internet expanding my horizons and trying to learn to like new things. After all I don’t want to be called an old dog! Some of my little adventures I have posted about here already and I’m not going to go into dissing other sites and interfaces – after all I am a bit of a simpleton when it comes to internet technology. I know a bit of PHP, MySQL, and DHTML, but only enough that I can get creative at my web site and achieve the bells and whistles that I think would be fun.

The point here is to get positive. What I love about Pan Historia is the community and the creativity and the fact that it’s fairly simple to use. The bells and whistles are usually all the same platform and so everything loads nice and fast and I don’t hear my computer start to grind the minute I start to load Pan pages (like I do with MySpace or Facebook or Shelfari). Ok, so that’s the tech side. What is it about Pan that truly makes it unique and special?

  • The staff/owners actually participate in the site (yes that’s me mainly but I still like it!)
  • The owners/programmers actually seek the opinions of the membership about what they would like to see (yes again, that’s me, but I was raised with the idea of democracy, fair play, cooperation, or simply a benevolent dictatorship).
  • There is room for all sorts of creativity without lots of technical know how.
    • Such as graphics
    • Writing
    • Story planning
    • Games
    • Contests
    • Collecting badges and awards
    • Learning HTML to create beautiful web pages
    • Creating characters, scenarios, and even new worlds
    • Fanfic
    • Reading all the great stories written by Pan members

As for me I get to work on the site design and construction year after year – tinkering, getting new ideas, making improvements. I get as much joy out of that as I would in constructing a sculpture in my studio. Pan Historia is as much an artwork as anything I have worked on in my life. One of the significant things about this work of art is that it’s alive and interactive and that other people are contributing in significant and unique ways to the whole. It’s not solely my vision, but the collective creativity of an entire community – many of whom have been with Pan Historia since the very beginning in 2000.

I’m still as keen on the site today as when I sat down with the early developers and brainstormed.

No comments: