Report Card Time

Part 2

This is a continuation of our report card on the operation of the web site from its inception on Oct. 14 to the present.

Special projects- I am pleased with the activity we have been able to generate in this category. The search for Bill Currie, the breakfast with Paul Severin , the proposed interview with Rameses ( I will have more to say about that later ), the search for Bill Currie and Ray Reeve tapes and the telephone conversation with Charlie Justice were all exciting even if we didn't meet with complete success. We have encountered copyright uncertainties with the Currie tape and some things need to be worked out before we can conduct the Rameses interview. In addition to the excitement these projects provided, they fitted very nicely into the original design for the web site. I have consciously tried to carve out a unique niche in the web site world and the only way to do this is to do things that are a little unusual. I will continue to try to find out of the ordinary interviews, projects, etc. for inclusion on the site.

My grade for this category is B plus.

Notables- There have been some notable experiences that I could never have envisioned when the web site began. Included in those experiences were the following:

1. Receipt of a lengthy e-mail from Woody Durham commenting on his experiences with Bill Currie. This was later included on the site as an article.

2. Invitations from two other web sites for me to be a regular contributor which were both declined.

3. Reference to the web site by Carolina Blue for the article we wrote comparing the ACC and the Southeastern Conference in the U.S. News and World Report academic rankings.

4. E-mail received from Mike Voight.

I give the web site a B plus in this category.

So that brings us to the overall grade for the performance of the web site to date. I really appreciate the most recent comment in the Guest Book section where a retired teacher says I don't know how to grade and that he would give me an A plus. I hope and I think he was sincere since I have developed a cyber friendship with the poster but I know me well enough to know that if I accept that grade as being valid, I will become lazy and the site will suffer.

I give myself an overall grade of B with a promise that I will continue to try for an A. In the meantime, if you want to help me achieve the highest level, please do two things. First, make contact with me and/or the site. That way I will have a better feel for how things are being received. Second, spread the word to your friends and associates about the site. The same principles that apply in the business world apply to the site. Either it grows or it will begin to die. I'm not ready for it to die quite yet.

Part 1

In this article, I get to do something I have always wanted to do but never had the opportunity. After almost 5 months of operation, I think it is appropriate to grade MYSELF and the web site on our performance during this period.

Researchers tell us that individuals tend to grade themselves lower than superiors would grade them which is a little surprising based on the large number of complaints we hear from those who have been graded by others . One factor involved in school grades and work evaluations not present in this type of evaluation is the effect peer pressure has on reaction to grades. Even though such information is supposed to be confidential, frequently if not always, knowledge of grades and evaluations will be made known to peers and performance or lack of same will influence the "pecking order." While one might be perfectly willing to accept, in a vacuum, the grade issued, it oftentimes becomes more difficult when compared to grades issued to others. A favorite saying of mine is "Nothing means anything until it is compared to something."

I have decided to makes my evaluations in several different categories and then issue an overall grade for the combined categories. Sort of like in school where you had grades on individual projects and/or tests, but then a final grade which encompassed all the individual grades plus the final exam. Hopefully, we are not to the point where we have to consider, at this point, a final grade.

Here goes:

WEB PAGE DESIGN-- Got to be careful here because my nephew has done 95% of the work and he has done an outstanding job. My less than total satisfaction with some aspects of the design are not his fault. Some, we may be able to correct over time and others we may have to live with. The streamer across the top and the alternating pictures are good, in my opinion, and make a very good visual impression even if I can't see the pictures on my web TV. My web master kept referring to them and I told him I didn't have any pictures at the top of MY screen. We finally concluded that my problem was unique to web tv because we have checked with several people who report the pictures do appear at the top of their page.

I'm not pleased with the format for the RamFanatic Food section and it will be redesigned in the near future. Originally, I had planned to have the food section contain only traditional recipes that are fast disappearing from the culinary scene. Mrs. RamFanatic is an excellent old school cook and I had finally prevailed upon her to write down some of her best recipes like Brunswick stew, chicken and pastry, chicken pot pie, country style steak, lasagna, etc. While traffic on the food section has been disappointing, I realized very quickly that there was some interest in what I call "yuppie food." ( No slam intended ). The redesigned section will have a "Traditional" section and another for "Haute Cuisine". The HQ Section won't have much in it if we don't get better participation from viewers because Mrs. RamFanatic, Leroy and I don't eat much HQ. HQ to us is having ice cream with our pecan pie.

So overall, I give the design portion of the site a B plus.

TRAFFIC- I must say the traffic has exceeded my wildest expectations. If someone had asked what I expected in the first 5 months, I probably would have said maybe 500, 1000 at the most. To date, we are approaching 3700 visits, not hits which I am told is the total of visits and movement after reaching the site. This being the case, the figure for hits will always exceed the number for visits. Initially, I would e-mail maybe 15 friends each time a new article went up but I have discontinued that unless I think there is an article which will have particular appeal to to a specific person. We have not continued to add to the traffic as I hoped we would but I have several ideas that might bring improvement in the coming months. We got 1000 visits in the first 18 days, but the rate has dropped off somewhat since then. I've had business cards printed and I have left some at the various memorabilia shops along E. Franklin St. Maybe they will start to have a positive effect soon.

GRADE- A but needs some work. Reminds me of a paper I got back in a History course at UNC which had the notation across the top of the page " A, but you could use a course in advanced composition." I agreed with him but my playing around days in high school was coming home to bite me. Oh, another one I got in English was " A- Not the best short story I have ever read." I never have figured out what that meant. Did the professor think I came to UNC to learn how to be a short story writer? I just thought the comment was so unnecessary. It took all the pleasure out of getting an A, something I'm told is so commonplace now that maybe there is little pleasure associated with getting one.

VIEWER RESPONSE- While the responses I have received have been very nice, I must say this has been a major disappointment. Approximately 15 people have signed the guest book and I have gotten maybe 5 e-mails. Maybe I expect too much, but I thought people would be responding right and left about things they didn't agree with, corrections, related experiences, etc. Everyone says they would like to be a guest poster but you can see, only a few have followed through.

GRADE- F. I can't figure out whether I am giving the web site, myself or the viewers the F. At any rate, it is being done with no animosity, so please don't take offense.

This evaluation ( report card ) is running longer than I thought, so I am going to have to break it up into several parts.

Part 2 will be up next week.

In the meantime, I have a little bit of business to take care of in the Dean Dome Sunday afternoon.

RamFanatic