Internet citizenship

Giving something back

For some people, their teaching and scholarship is their life. For others, it is a major part of their career. If you fall into one of these two categories, you might want to think about putting your work onto the Web or a mailing list.

Think about it. It's not difficult. It's not expensive. It can be very rewarding. And it can act as a 24 hour a day advertisement of your expertise in this area. If you aren't impressed with the quality of information already out there, or are dealing with an area that isn't well covered, you should seriously consider it.

If you are doing action research, and the people that you are working with have access to the Internet, a mailing list and a Web site can really help to keep the group focused.

If you want to set up a Web site, GeoCities or Xoom will give you space for free. They will also show you where you can get an e-mail address for free.

The purpose of the free Personal Home Page program is to give people the ability to create a home on the World Wide Web that reflects their interests, hobbies and background.

GeoCities is an amazing place. More than a million people from all over the world have taken up residence in one of our neighborhoods. The sites created by this group of GeoCitizens contain an incredible array of facts, opinions, entertainment and interesting information. We are very mindful of our role as stewards of these communities, and will do our best to ensure that GeoCities remains a positive contributor to the Internet community.

Drawn from the GeoCities membership information.

GeoCities provides a huge amount of information and assistance to help you get your first Web page up. Sunrise Research Laboratory at RMIT provide a free set of tutorials to help you write your own Web pages.

Setting up on Xoom

Here is what I did to set up a Web page on Xoom.

  1. Go to Xoom at

    This is the main address for Xoom, an organisation which will give you free Web space.

  2. I followed the link that says "Unlimited Web space". If you can't find it, just use:

    This page describes what you get:

    "Unlimited Web Space!

    • Free unlimited web space.
    • Use our HTML-free Easy Page Builder 2.0.
    • Or use your own software and FTP your site.
    • Includes a free XOOMMail account.
    • Earn Money through our affiliates programs.
    • Download free clipart for your site.
    • Participate in chats, communities, and more..."
  3. Then I followed the link that said 'Join now, for free'. If you can't see it on your page, just use:

  4. Finally, I am getting somewhere. Xoom ask me for my e-mail address. Type it into the blank rectangle at the top of the screen, and then click the [next...] button.

  5. If you have typed your e-mail address correctly, you will now be asked to fill in a form. I only want to talk about the first two questions - all the rest are basic questions that any form has, like name and address.

    1. Member Name

      This is the name that you will give out to people to find your Web page. For example, if you choose 'weasel', then your Web address will be "".

      So choose something that will be easy to tell people over the telephone. It should be easy to remember, and easy to spell. Write it down.

    2. Password

      This is the secret word that will allow you to change your Web page, and stop other people changing your Web page.

      There are two ways to make a simple, easy to remember, password:

      • Take a short sentence, like "RMIT, your future starts here", and just use the first letter of each word: "Ryfsh".
      • Take a simple word, and change some of the letters for numbers, so that "Yellow" becomes Ye110w" (changing 'L' to '1' and 'o' to '0'.

      Whatever you choose, you will have to type it in twice, and you should write it down.

    3. NB: Just a brief word on the last question, "Interests: In what areas of interest would you like to receive great product offers?" If you tick any of these boxes, you will get junk e-mail advertising things.

  6. When you have filled out the form, click the button marked ["When you're done, click this button and wait..."]

    You might need to change some of your answers on the form. For example, the first time that I tried, it told me that the user name that I choose (Jonathan) was already in use by someone else. So I changed it to 'jod999', clicked the button again, and it was happy.

  7. Here is what the page will say if you fill in the form correctly:

    "Your account: jod999 (or whatever you typed in here) has been created!

    Important: You cannot access your Unlimited Web space, nor use most of the services until you activate your account!

    An email has been sent to (or whatever your email address is), which contains information about how to activate your account here at When you receive the email, go to the URL listed to activate your account and start reaping the rewards that come with membership!"

    So, now you need to check your e-mail.

  8. In your e-mail, you should have a message with the subject, "Thanks for becoming a XOOM member". When you read it, it will give you a Web address to go to so that you can activate your Web page.

    Somewhere in the message, it will say something like:

    "To activate your account, log in to the following page using the member name and password you already selected:"

    Click on that link, and it will complete the process of setting up your Web space on Xoom.

  9. You should be looking at a Web page which says:

    "Your account: jod999 (or whatever you choose) is now activated!!!

    Your web site address is: (Access using with jod999 and your password)

    Your XOOMMail email address is:"

  10. Where to from here?

    Xoom have an extensive help system. Have a look at:

    Here you will find links to tutorials and the Help Center Forum, where real people will be talking about the problems that they are having and finding solutions for them. If you get stuck, ask a question there, or e-mail me (