One of the things we did successfully with a number of the websites I have developed is create a sense of community. With websites, community means that communication is a two (or multi-way) way process, with more than one party providing input, expressing opinions, etc. That’s easier to do with message board sites like ACCBoards.Com and The Cat’s Domain. It’s harder to do with other sorts of websites, including blogs. But it’s just as important.
One reason I changed Newsome.Org from a traditional website, which looked and worked something like a newspaper- content was here, but it flowed one way, to the current blog format is because the new format makes it easier to create conversations and connections. Conversations via the Comments feature and connections via links I include in my posts and the Trackback feature.
Another reason I made those changes is to reconnect with old friends and meet new friends. Over the past few years a lot of people have told me that they visit Newsome.Org from time to time. Many of these people know each other. Until now, there was no way other than email for these people to communicate with me and no way at all for them to communicate with each other.
I know from my stats reports that there is a good amount of traffic here, and I know from my age and that of most of my friends that the internet as a two way proposition and blogs in particular are relatively new concepts. So here’s a short primer on how these features work.
Most posts have several links at the bottom, and here’s what those links do. The “Permalink” is a link to a separate page (called a “post page”) that contains only the post in question. This allows people to link to a particular post as opposed to the main Newsome.Org page, where the posts that are here today will be pushed to the Archives pages (see the list in the left hand column) by new posts. A few posts which are mainly family news and photo items don’t provide for comments, but that is the exception
The “Post a Comment” link is a way for visitors to respond to, comment on, agree with or disagree with anything in a topic or post. When you click on that link, a box pops up where you can type a comment, opinion, etc. and have that comment added to the bottom of the post. One thing to remember: the text of the comments appears only on the post pages. On the main Newsome.Org page, you’ll merely see the number of comments made at the very bottom where it says:
There are three ways to access the post page, and the full text of all comments. Click on the title of a post, click on the Permalink or click on the “X Comments” link. Each of these links leads to the same place- the post page containing only the post and the full text of the comments.
The Del.icio.us and Furl links allow visitors to easily bookmark the post on one of those social bookmarking sites. If you don’t already use those sites, you can ignore those links for now, but I would suggest you check them out. Those sites are great ways to share links and find other interesting pages, posts, etc.
The Trackback feature allows visitors who have blogs themselves to link back to a post on their site that refers to the post. For example, if I post about my problems with Technorati, a visitor who has similar problems may want to post a topic on his or her website and link to it from here via a Trackback. It’s a way to create natural connections about related content over multiple websites.
That’s about the sum of it. If you’re here, have your say. It’s much more fun to discuss things that to read things. Don’t you agree?