Robyn's Secret Passage
Espy, June 2000
Local webmasters - Robyn Gallagher
Robyn Gallagher is creator of the satirical (for want of a better word) Secret-Passage.com, one of the most compelling sites created in New Zealand. We caught up with Robyn at Starbucks on Queen's Birthday for a chat:
Espy: What was the starting point for you to start writing stuff down?
Robyn: It was 1996, and I was sort of semi-active on BBSs. My brother used to have one, and people used to write interesting stuff there, and there's where it got started, writing stuff online and having people read it. I started a web page, and I hadn't seen a lot of personal web pages, and I didn't know that there were any standard expectations. I guess my first version of it was pretty generic, but I started adding bits to it and suddenly it grew from that. I didn't plan it, it just happened.
Espy: There's a bunch of linked sites here, linked to and from your site, with that very clean, spartan, almost too-perfect design sensibility. Is this another kind of community that...
Robyn: It's a group of people I think who kind of all... they're all sort of doing the same thing, they've all got that in common. I don't know is there's that 'oh yeah, you're not welcome 'cos you're not as cool as we are' or may there is to some people (laughs).
Espy: Do you think there's a cultural cringe when it comes to local content sites?
Robyn: Um, I'll have to think about that because I've got a dot.com, I don't have a .co.nz. And at the time I got it, dot.coms didn't suck, and now they do, so now I'm thinking of getting something else... Think people can work out where I'm from. I've never said anywhere, "I'm from New Zealand." On the BadWickedEvil page I said, "I'm from Hamilton and all you Americans out there blah blah blah..." it's so... I'm not a component of any type of global village mentality, but it's... you don't have to pander to the whole world, you can just "be yourself man"...
Espy: Do you ever get stalked online?
Robyn: Um, actually I had one guy on my notify list, who, whenever I posted a message saying "I have updated my webpage" he'd always respond to it with all these really lame comments. I was kind of polite and said, "please stop doing this. I don't want you doing this," and in the end he wouldn't stop doing it, so I had to take him off...
You do get creepy guys like that. So that's why I'm hesistant to put too much of myself out there. I don't think you have to know me personally to get anything out of my site.