It started with an email:
“I was surprised you didn’t own WayneHarada.com. I’m also surprised it’s still available! Let me know if you want to pick it up, I can set it up for you, free. It never hurts to have a space you own on the web to post or at least archive your independent writing.
Either way, keep doing what you love, we love you for it!”
The dude asking me about my establishing my own website was Ryan Kawailani Ozawa, a technologist who was the last of three who–over the past decade or so– suggested I should launch my own site. I’ve declined mostly because I was retired as a life-long journalist and turned to Facebook to post reviews, share entertainment and other chatter, and communicate with former friends and new followers as I began enjoying retirement and the uncertainty of unemployment.
When I exited the Honolulu Advertiser in 2008, I was invited to continue to write my “Show Biz” column for nearly a dozen more years. It was an easy commitment at a livable pace — a column every Sunday – posted from anywhere, home or a trip abroad. Tuesday was the deadline day.
In March 2019, however, the paper terminated the column under crude and deceptive means, abandoning me in what they claimed was part of the pandemic cutbacks of freelancers… which was untrue since freelancers still populate the paper; I was one of only two terminations, but I appreciated the freedom but was not yet convinced my own website was a destination.
Facebook and beyond
Facebook has served me well. I post, followers respond. Many are ex-colleagues and longtime friends; but strangers have become “friends,” all virtual.
Ozawa was genuine in his email, and if WayneHarada.com was up for grabs and he did the snagging, I figured why not?
If he had faith in me, I thought I should reciprocate.
The timing was not ideal, however, since I was recuperating from minor back surgery to address an alternative to pain management for a sustaining lower back issue.
Clearly, I am not a techie, doing things as simply as possible, so I had to go on a fast track of learning.
With Ozawa as a mentor, I made the leap. He set up the initial perimeters and I had to learn the ropes without a manual, so this has been an educational journey, too.
I informed him that a May 10 launch would be ideal, since I was doing “test” posts, some winding up on Facebook, too, but others confined to wayneharada.com.
The kick-off date became moot, since Ozawa turned on the switch much earlier in May.
As he suggested, the Show Biz column now exclusively runs at my site.
Generous, gentle guru
Ozawa has been a generous and gentle guru, providing kokua and tips on how to manage a site.
In repeated email exchanges, I pose questions, he provides solutions.
I’ve not met him face-to-face for Q&As; he prefers email.
I provided my cell number; he still prefers email. I still don’t have his number, so I email. Constantly. My Qs might seem dumb to him, but the mentor has been patient and persistent, sharing support with a cool demeanor.
Sample exchange: Since I’ve been cross promoting my site on Facebook, Ozawa provided this advice:
“What you want to be sure to do is, every time you mention WayneHarada.com, is include a full link to the site: https://www.wayneharada.com — with the “https://www.” part — so that people have something to click to go directly to your site.”
Logical, of course, but how would I know that – without the tip he provides. I never quite understood why the https://www precede was vital.
A journalistic background
Yes, I’m flattered that he’s put up with me, and continues to do so, but it feels somewhat like a phantom relationship. He’s there, but not there, if you get my drift.
And he won’t allow me to reimburse him for paying for the website.
Ozawa also has become a contributor of tidbits for my column. So his savvy and voluntary “service” has been invaluable. He’s also approached and helped others, to some degree.
Then there was a confession:
“Yes, I have a habit of helping writers I admire start publishing independently online. Not all are as lucky as you to have their website domain name available, which is why I was a little more excited to contact you! I have a journalism degree but never had the guts to work in media, but I give lots of credit to those who do… and given the tumult in the industry, it’s important to me that great storytellers can still have their voices heard.”
So that’s the saga on how a retired journalist was thrust into launching his own website.