Greetings! I’m Gayle Olson, the creator, and publisher of Go Cybernaut. I have been involved with the online world for more than 30 years.
As an intern in the corporate offices of Motorola Wireless in 1994, I acquired the nickname Go Cybernaut due to my enthusiasm about the future possibilities of online networks and communities. It was a play on my initials and habit of leading others into this new Cyber Place. By 1995 I had already designed my imagined supermall, finally the technology is in place so that it does exist.
As my involvement with Bulletin Board Systems, Usenet, and similar networks during the early 1990s grew, I acquired a special interest in how these mediums could be useful for disabled or remote users for work and recreation. How they would connect and work with business and commerce. I was exchanging information with visionaries and futurists, with groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, eventually becoming the Telework expert of the day. It was exciting times with a slow modem.
In June of 1996, I was invited to attend the Imagination Convergence in San Francisco by Tech Futurist Paul Saffo. He was hosting an event, bringing together an eclectic group of minds to explore the future of technology in the arts and through virtual communities. At the helm was The Well’s guru Stewart Brand, with guests Brian Eno, Laurie Anderson, Dennis Muren, and Spike Lee. This “look into the future,” was an opportunity to embrace the new forms of media that would be borne out of the Internet.
At the VIP Reception following the event I was fortunate to spend time with Brian Eno. We chatted about train travel, San Francisco, The Exploratorium and my plans for World Wide Web storytelling. He insisted that I “go for it,” beginning with the story of our creative convergence, 36 Hours in San Francisco.
In February 1997 I was recruited to join The Mining Company, an up-and-coming web-based network that set about to “take back the net” and organize the quickly expanding web through a network of human guides.
As The Mining Company launched In April, I began as the Guide for Science & Nature for Kids. My husband Robert joined the company in July, guiding the Big Island of Hawaii site. In 1998 we co-guided two additional sites, Kid’s Toys & Collectibles, and Vancouver, Canada.
Through the Toys & Collectibles site our Toys & Collectibles” Wish List was a popular annual event where we profiled and reviewed hundreds of toys, games, playthings, and collectibles. With six grown sons, and as grandparents for a quickly expanding brood of youngsters, toys and playthings are topics we know well!
During my years at The Mining Company/About.com I earned the title as the “jewel of the Mining Company through my involvement as a marketing mentor for the network and quality control “angel” for the education and family channels.
September 2002 brought an end to the Kids and Canadian Channels at About.com.
Between 2002 and 2008 I continued to create resources for Science for Families and Toys & Collectibles in addition to the All Info-About Almanac, which featured a variety of family-friendly topics. My most positive network experiences were at All Info-About. I enjoyed freedom of expression while working together with a terrific community.
My involvement with Squidoo began in 2007 where I wrote about a variety of topics including music, gardening, television, books, pop culture, and the Annual Toys & Collectibles Wish List.
Squidoo was sold to HubPages in 2014. I was never able to quite find my footing at HubPages. I found that my content appeared awkward in the new format, and the “rules” were difficult to work around in able to provide a well-rounded positive experience for my audience.
At this time, and for the next few years I took a break from creating to care for my elderly mother and disabled brother. While challenging, I appreciate that I was able to have the opportunity of spending time together in their final years.
I came across Bubblews following the 2014 launch. I was able to create content in the way that flowed nicely. It was a rewarding experience as this is where I found so many international colleagues. This allowed me to explore a variety of countries and cultures through the very supportive community of creators. In November of 2015 Bubblews shut down the network without warning and once again the carpet was pulled out from me!
My return to online content creation was always at the back of my mind. I wasn’t able to find a network where I believed I would have the freedom to employ the experience and ideas acquired through my career.
Then came COVID 19.
Due to disability and autoimmune factors my lockdown was immediate and thorough. Simultaneously my husband Robert was diagnosed with cancer, followed by required surgery and by months of treatment.
Dealing with the stress of the situation while attempting to maintain a positive attitude was a challenge where I knew I needed to channel my energy into doing something distracting and enjoyable.
In the winter I took up jigsaw puzzling to pass the time and challenge my mind. In the spring it was tie-dye until I had more tee shirts than I or any of my family members could wear. My summer project involved editing all of the family VHS home movies to digital and starting a YouTube channel to share the memories.
In the fall I decided it was time to “take back the net” once again. I signed a 5-year plan and began to create Go Cybernaut. I had no plan of subject matter. I created and share content that I enjoyed. If I feel it is helpful, positive, or worthwhile, it would be worth sharing. If I believe that there is one person out there who finds something of interest and thinks, “that’s exactly what I’m looking for” I am happy to share.
It was once I began assembling resources that I realized that more than ever there is a need for a “Cybernaut” guide to weed out the clutter and find those Internet gems. There is so much noise, click-bait, and great content buried by never-loading oversized ads, pop-ups, and other distractions.
In 1997 the mining company was born to sort things out. I believe it is needed more than ever today!
Why I Create
I create because it brings me joy. It brings me joy because I am able to share the best I can discover about the topics I find interesting. When I write articles or create topical resources I consider sharing this information as I would with a friend or family member. There is so much great information out there that can and will make a difference to those who are equally enthused as I am.
With my illness and disability comes chronic pain most of the time, and the occasional episodes of extreme discomfort. I find that my focus towards creating Go Cybernaut helps me significantly with the everyday pain. During the very bad days I may disappear for a day or more. As soon as I am able to get back to the keyboard I appreciate the opportunity.
There is no better therapy than having something to look forward to!
So often, when under the rule of outside forces, or networks in the past I found myself unhappy with the quality of what I was expected to create. Other times it would seem like my work was valued for the revenue potential of the network. That’s when it all became work that really wasn’t worth the time involved. I work well under pressure, just not that kind of pressure.
Six months into building Go Cybernaut and I am happy with the progress. I look forward to getting a start on the day, browsing press releases, finding the gems that will enthuse or excite my audience, discovering new ways to add value to resources. I am content because for the first time in a very long time I am creating on my terms, in my way. I am still finding my way. It isn’t easy being the sole member juggling research, development, marketing, networking. I am on my own and up for the challenge.
In one month’s time Robert will have had his final post-cancer check, marking one year free of the disease. So far, so good and fingers crossed.
One Year Update - October 2021
The great news is that my husband has remained cancer-free and we are appreciating every minute of life. The frustrating news is that I fractured my D5 vertibrae a few months ago. I am finding that building and working on this web space has helped me through much of the pain and frustration. I have a firm foundation covering so many of the topics I live to share. I am now ready for getting the word out and sharing the space with all of you.
If you can take a few moments to share the site with your friends and socials I would be quite thankful. A review on Google would be a delight.
20 Month Update - June 2022
Twenty months in and Go Cybernaut has amassed some 700 pages within 33 special-interest channels. I am enjoying every day of content creation and have so many ideas for upcoming topics and articles I should be good for the coming years!
My husband, Bob remains cancer-free and has joined me in the effort of keeping Go Cybernaut up-to-date and under control. I have fractured another vertebrae, this time my L# and have been on bed rest for two months. Frustrating for sure. It has slowed my efforts a little, but assigned to bed rest doesn’t keep me from creating as it is my therapy!
Now that Go Cybernaut has reached a good size we are dipping our toes into advertising with the hopes of reaching enough visitors who will like, share, and return to the site and we can continue to grow an audience. The next step is to submit a proposal to kickstarter and gain some backers who can help us along with marketing costs.
Please continue to share and pass the word along about Go Cybernaut! Your voice will always be the best promotion we could ask for.
The Bottom Line
Of course, there is a bottom line. Who wouldn’t welcome an income from their efforts?
I have the potential to create revenue through the partnerships and affiliates I foster and through sales of products at Amazon. While this is important in creating a business I don’t want to create a website where all of the content is wrapped around a sale. When I write about products, or select products relative to a particular topic I select these with care. For the most part, these are the same articles I would purchase myself, or recommend to family and friends.
Should you decide to shop with me, it will always be appreciated.
If you would like to buy me a coffee or make a small donation towards operating costs this would be lovely!
Nice to meet you. Thank you for listening to my story. It hasn’t been the easiest to write. I think it is proper to let you know there is a face behind this network and a story behind Go Cybernaut.