Whenever I’m feeling antsy, I have to do something radical and this weekend I focused the fever on the OBN.
First off, I finally bit the bullet and changed the format throughout the entire site so that everything is cohesive with the exception of the Blog Directory – which is a unique directory template.
I really liked the look and feel of the old homepage, but that theme didn’t play well with cache programs, certain software, aggregation of other layers of the OBN etc, etc. Sadly.
I still have some cosmetic tweaks to do, but it’ll do for now.
The premise of this entire site is to connect like minded Outdoor Enthusiasts. We’ve done our best to help promote Outdoor Bloggers via several features.
- Featured Outdoor Blogs of the Week
- Quickfire Interviews
- The Outdoor Blog Directory
- The Community News section (self submitted blog links)
With the exception of the Forum, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to make the OBN a more interactive community. I believe I’ve figured out how to accomplish that by providing another avenue in which you can connect with others, promote your personal blog and discover others in real time style.
Outdoor Members: If you’ve already signed up for an account via the main OBN to use on the Forum, you’re all set. You just need to sign in once and the new system will ‘pick you’ right up. Once you sign in, it’s time to personalize your profile. Click your name—>Click Profile—->Click Edit—>Add Info – Save Changes
Next you’ll want to import your personal Blog Feed to your profile activity stream: Click Settings—>Import a Blog—>Add your feed address
Outdoor Members Benefits: Make it easy for people to find you, follow you and connect with you. Your personal RSS Feed info will update into your own activity stream.
This new feature reminds me a bit of Facebook. The community activity stream picks up ‘activity’ from everywhere in the site and auto posts them here. You can also drop a note, a link, an image, a video…whatever you’d like, into this information feed.
Last night when I was messing around with everything, Mel signed in and I was able to comment back and forth with him in real time and I loved it! If you are checking in at the OBN, I think it would be a great idea to check in on the Community Activity feed and see what’s going on for the day. The more people that use it, the more fun it will be!
I’ve been torn about the OBN Forum for some time. Or maybe I should rephrase that and say, the OBN forum has been tricky, cantankerous and unreliable for awhile now. With the new Outdoor Groups option, I may just take it down (depending on the feedback you all give me) and let Groups do their own thing.
Anyone can create an Outdoor Group. An Outdoor Group can be just a meeting spot, or if someone wants, they can take their Outdoor Group the extra step and the option is there to click “add a forum’ to my group and you can have an activity stream and forum for your Outdoor Group. Skies the limit kind of deal!
For Example: I created the group Idaho Outdoor Bloggers. It’s my hope that I can connect up the Idaho Bloggers into one spot so I can find them all easier. (If YOU are an Idaho Blogger, come join us!)
You can make public groups or private groups. You can invite people to your groups or if it’s public, people can ask to be part of the fun. You can be the only admin of your group or you can assign more admins. You have the control…
So make a new group today! Start a State group, an outdoor specific groups, etc…let’s get the groups going and growing.
Recap and Notes:
It’s a new system. I’m still learning it myself while trying to fix issues I come across. I’d love any and all feedback so I can make it the best feature possible. A lot of things I’d be able to fix, some things I may not be able too…but I’d try!
For those of you that use the old Forum, what’s your thoughts? Leave it? Take it down and bring back the best parts via the Outdoor Groups?
Note* The Blog Directory and the Main OBN run on different databases. Which means if you’ve signed up to submit your blog to the directory, you still need to sign up for an account here to participate in the activities I mentioned above. Sorry about that!
Rebecca (and Joe who is innocent and should not be held accountable for all the changes)
Technical Issues Updates: I got reports of people trying to register and unable to get past the Captcha spam barrier. Not sure what’s wrong with it so it’s gone, zapped, no longer a part of the registration process.