After the book ‘The Joy of Ageing, Esoterically’ was launched, the editors realised that a website was needed to sell the book online and also to expand on the topics raised in the book. They invited a group of older women (most in their seventies) from the Northern Rivers in NSW to form a team to develop a website. We all embarked on a steep learning curve in order to get to launch.
We felt that there was a deeper purpose to the experience of ageing and that we could introduce more meaningful discussions for our age group.
However, what to do? As we age it is easy to feel as though we have missed the boat when it comes to being cool with Facebook, Twitter, blogs, websites, Google+ and all that social media offers. Do we sit back and give up, feel invisible and irrelevant?
Launching a website felt like a great start to addressing these questions. What was the state of our computer knowledge? Did we need to upgrade computers and/or skills?
With the book as inspiration, we committed to working together to develop CONTENT for the website.
What interested us? What do we talk about? What have we learned that feels precious and valuable for everyone? What matters?
One of the editors initiated Skype calls for us to meet once a week, so that was a first step. Download Skype, upload a photo and invite friends. One new thing learned!
Back to content. Okay so we were going to be the writers until we had enough content for the website to be launched. What would be the first topics that we could write about with authority from our own experience? Relationships, the joy of ageing, self-care and exercise were some of the topics that were written about in the book, and that we had been reflecting upon in our own lives. We felt these topics applied to everyone, regardless of age or experience, and so they laid the foundations for the website.
We needed editors, so turning our hand to editing each other’s writing came next. This step meant no imposing, respecting the writer’s integrity and asking for clarification if we did not understand any part of the article. We were clear that the articles had to be accessible to the readers. There was much to be learned about using all the relevant tools offered in Word, such as formatting, spacing and hyperlinks.
You can’t have a website without photos. Who had iPhones? Right, you are our photographers. As we went along we were very blessed to connect with some professionals who generously gave us some of their photos to use. With time and practice, we were also able to start using our own photographs especially after one member of the team took it upon herself to learn more about photography and formatting photos for a website.
Next was a choice of platform for publishing. Two of our team members spent time researching different options. Weebly was chosen for its clean design, flexible options and ease of uploading content.
An experienced graphic designer was employed at this point to oversee the design, format photos and tweak the layout for each page. She brought her light and expert eye to every page and her contribution was greatly appreciated.
Finally the site was launched online, accessible to everyone.
Our work was not completed once the site was launched, as there was fresh content and new inspirations to keep expanding the pages on the website. For example we learned Mail Chimp so that we could have a monthly newsletter for our subscribers to the website.
We have all been inspired by the way we worked together as a group, and what can be achieved when people work together harmoniously, keeping things light and playful where possible.
We have shown that not only is one never too old to learn new things regardless of how complex they may seem at first, but that learning new things in a group can be a very joyful process.
Bernadette C., Australia