VOL. 115 | NO. 156 | Wednesday, August 15, 2001
Webmasters association getting word out
Local Webmasters group getting word out
By SUE PEASE
The Daily News
A new chapter of the International Webmasters Association has formed in the Mid-South and members are working to get the word out and ramp up membership.
The Mid-South Chapter of the IWA launched in the spring and currently has 18 members. The groups Web site is www.iwa-memphis.org.
The MSCIWA is an arm of the IWA, a non-profit group created in 1996 and headquartered in Pasadena, Calif.
The associations mission is to foster professional advancement for people in the Web business.
Along with helping professionals in the Web industry, the group hopes to push a higher standard of Webmaster, said K.R. Ollar, the Mid-South chapters chairperson and owner of Krow Webbing.
"When companies are shopping for a Web developer and they see that the developer carries that (IWA) logo, they usually are ensured of getting a truly professional well-trained Webmaster," Ollar said.
Membership dues for the MSCIWA are $50 a year. The group covers the tri-state region with Memphis in its center.
In Tennessee, it reaches from Memphis to the Tennessee River, in East Arkansas to Little Rock, and in Mississippi to Jackson.
There are a number of requirements besides paying dues, Ollar said.
Members must be either a Web industry student or someone who has worked in the field at least two years.
Ollar, who was an IWA member before the local chapter formed, felt a desire to network with other Web professionals in the area, especially people focused on the Web and not all facets of technology.
"As the Web continued to evolve into its own science, we were looking for a group that was dedicated to Web professionals only," she said.
The networking aspect is one of its greatest benefits, Ollar said, but there are many others including discounts for Web site hosting, training, a resource for job listings, and a place for training and certification programs.
The international group has more than 24,000 members, said Nicholas Gallagher, membership administrator.
Half of those members are outside of the United States.
Members are not strictly Webmasters, but include site developers, graphic designers, system administrators, educators, e-commerce specialists any individual participating in the development, monitoring and management of Web sites.
Chapter organizations now number more than 100, Gallagher said.
Membership into the IWA is $88 per year.
IWA members do not need to be members of a local chapter. However, members of the MSCIWA are required to be members of the headquarters group.
One benefit of the local chapter is something called the "Spotlight Me" program, which gives a local member his or her own time in the spotlight by showcasing the individual on the MSCIWAs Web site.
"It gives local members a little more exposure," Ollar said.
Julys spotlight member was Kevin Crosby, owner of FastBytes Internet Services in Memphis.
Crosby, 44, said he has been active in the online world since the late 70s when he ran several bulletin board systems. Moving into the Web world was a natural progression.
In 1997, he formed FastBytes, which is a server hosting company for businesses, hosting UNIX, Linux, Windows NT and Windows 2000 operating systems.
He joined the IWA in 1998 to take advantage of the resources available for Web design professionals.
"As with any professional society affiliation, I believe this gives the member a standard of excellence to not only strive for, but also gives our customers an indication that we are not the fly-by-night operator that always chases that ever present dollar," Crosby said.
"Computers and IT specifically are an unknown to most people and there are many ways that this can be extorted," he said.
Along with being a networking and resource tool, the IWA offers a certification program, called Certified Web Professional or CWP. It is similar to Prosofts Certified Internet Webmaster or CIW certification.
To be a CWP, an individual must pass a Webmasters test, plus have two years of industry experience and IWA membership. There are also continuing education requirements of at least 30 hours every three years.
The CIW certification can be administered through businesses such as New Horizons.
The Computer Resource Center at Southwest Tennessee Community College also offers the CIW seminars, said Bill Hawkins, director of the center.
MSCIWA officials said they have approached schools, such as STCC about starting CWP programs too.
Hawkins said it is something the center is considering.
For MSCIWA, member meetings and networking opportunities are in the works for the near future.
The first official member meeting is planned for 7 p.m. Sept. 6 at the East End Cafe at Winchester and Hacks Cross roads, Ollar said.
For Crosby, being a member in the association can assist him in gearing up for the ever-changing Web world.
"Much of todays Internet activity is taking place business-to-business, rather than business-to-consumer. Even large businesses are still figuring out how to do e-commerce and e-business, evaluating what works and what doesnt," he said.
"Successes and failures alike have much to teach us, whether they intend to or not, which in turn, makes this a very good time to get ready, because the Internet and e-commerce and e-business and e-life are coming fast, ready or not."