Upon learning HTML in 1996 I immediately began creating personal webpages around my interests. The largest one, and the one that had the most success was Trinidad-Online.org. Initially it started as part of my personal college site, but eventually it moved to its own domain name and server space (huge steps, especially in those days!).
For many years it was the largest online portal for Trinidad & Tobago related content, and my community efforts which included a chatroom called De Rumshop Lime and a self-hosted mailserv brought Trinbagonians from around the world together. And, before twitter lists, google searches and blogrolls, webrings such as the one I created for Trinidad-Online were how new net users learned which Trinbagonian websites were really the “cream of the crop”.
In 1999, my work on Trinidad-Online came to the attention of two UK sociologists, Daniel Miller and Don Slater, who were working on a book on how the Internet was being adopted and assimilated by Trinbagonians at home and abroad. Over a series of interviews my responses became a major part of one chapter in “The Internet: An Ethnographic Approach“. For some reason my name was changed to Patricia (apparently everyone involved was given pseudonyms). But there I am, “Patricia”, it was a proud moment, if an anonymous one 🙂
I ceased work on Trinidad-Online in 2003 several years after returning to Trinidad. The site had been born out of my homesickness and with my feet firmly back on local shores the drive and impetus began to gradually wane, as did the external pressures of self-employment. I realize now that in many ways my current work, especially Trinigourmet are natural outpourings (and improvements on) my initial success with Trinidad-Online. It’s where I cut my teeth on the convergence of passion, site monetization and onlinel networking, long before those were internet buzzwords. The realization that some kind soul at some point renewed the domain and has kept the site alive via a ‘mirror’ is something that still brings tears to my eyes. Thanks who ever you are 🙂