New Changes to the blog

Visual Changes

As many of my followers no doubt noticed, I’ve been fiddling with the overall look of the blog for the past year. I tried and tried, but I could never find a theme that really suited the layout that I wanted for my content. Specifically, I wanted a theme with easy access to the menu categories at the top and with a grid layout for the entries. I also wanted a “continue reading” option so users could quickly scroll through the posts without having to go through each one chronologically. As it stands, I think I’ve found a decent theme which I’m hoping will do for a while.

Name Changes

You may also have noticed that the site is still called Fair Winds and Following Seas, but the URL address has changed to “thetidesofhistory.com.” That was the only domain name available for purchase that was close enough to the site’s name. I had to use the site’s tagline, otherwise it would’ve been something stupid like good-winds.com or whatever. Be advised: the Fair Winds and Following Seas URL is “thetidesofhistory.com.” There is another site with the URL of “tidesofhistory.com,” but that’s different, obviously.

I don’t know, a website called “Really Good Winds Over the Ocean Water With Super Awesome Guns and Explosions OMG! CHECK THIS OUT! AMAZING!,” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Other social media platforms already oversaturate the internet with dumbed down content, and I see no reason to add to that trend. DURRRR!! 🙄

Premium Changes

One change that I didn’t really want to happen is that I’ve had to monetize the site, as well as begin charging a subscription fee for access to certain articles. I’ll also be looking into the possibility of creating a tiered subscription/contribution system.

I know we all hate seeing internet ads and paying for content, but there needs to be some financial justification for the amount of time and energy I’m spending on this. Of course, the problem then becomes one of trying to put a quantitative value on effort. In short, how much money are my time and research efforts worth?

One of the most difficult parts of writing this blog is amount of research that’s required for it. There’s always gotta be that one more book or article that I could read to further my knowledge on whatever I happen to be writing about. Consequently that slows down the amount of material I can realistically output. Unfortunately, there’s only so many hours in the day, and this is a one man operation, mind you. Research is hard and time-consuming. Ughh!

I suppose in reality, I could probably be charging a substantial amount for the writing and research alone, but I want to keep the paid content somewhat accessible to everyone. Therefore, as of August 2020, the subscription plans are $10/month which will give access to the Basic premium content, and $20/month which gives access to the Exclusive Premium Content.

Even at that, the premium content only applies to certain posts like war games and ones that required a significant amount of research. I plan on continuing to offer the vast majority of the content on this blog FREE OF CHARGE, with the occasionally annoying ad.

*all of the pricing, etc. is subject to change without notice, however.

I’m also accepting donations via PayPal. There’s a widget button near the bottom right-hand of the blog that you can click on and donate via PayPal.

Please consider supporting the blog and the research I do, either through subscriptions or donations.

So what? Where does it all go?

We now live in a world where information is potentially unlimited. Information is cheap, but meaning is expensive. Where is the meaning? Only human beings can tell you where it is……

George Dyson (as cited in Son, 2011).

Think about the above quote from George Dyson and consider how technology has advanced our accessibility to information. This isn’t anything new, either. The invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg, along with the translation of the Bible into German by Martin Luther, ushered in a new era of mass communication during the Renaissance. Modern day communications have only further accelerated the spread of information. Yet, we still need experts to interpret things for us. We still pay thousands of dollars to attend college/university and get degrees. We still hire specialists to do the technical work for us. This tells us that while the speed and breadth of our exchange of information has gotten faster, the capabilities of analysis and evaluation have not automatically increased with that exchange. Finding out the who, what, where, when, and how is simple enough. However, it’s the why part that makes us stumble.

Sadly, there will always be people out there with a sense of entitlement. “This or that should be free! I don’t get why I have to pay for it! It’s too expensive!” As an educator myself, I understand that there’s tremendous value in a free and public education. However, the paid-for content on this blog goes above and beyond what you would get in a normal high school history course. If there’s any lesson to be learned here, it’s that having a whiny sense of self-entitlement won’t get you anywhere with me. If you really want something, then you’ve got to put out in order to earn it. As history has shown us time and again, a lot of information has a price (of some sort) attached to it. Considering that some people have paid for it in blood, asking for a simple dollar amount doesn’t seem too steep.

The ad revenue, the subscription fees, and the donations are more than just paying for my time and writing. They help pay for access to research materials such as books and articles. In other words, I can increase my knowledge, and in turn, I can bring you people better and more well-researched content. I can provide you with a more accurate analysis and evaluation of the material.

References

Son, S. (2011, October 29). Interview with George Dyson: “Information Is Cheap, Meaning Is Expensive”. CuratorMagazine. https://www.curatormagazine.com/sandyson/interview-with-george-dyson-information-is-cheap-meaning-is-expensive/.

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