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Community and the New Blog

I’m a massive fan of blog sites. I have been since forever. Having written and developed a bunch of them and actively engaged with many hundreds more, I’d like to think that I know a thing or two about what makes a blog tick.

So what makes a Blog tick?

COMMUNITY makes a blog tick.

Always has, always will.

What’s a writer without an audience? A common group with shared interests and ideals? As a writer, or group of writers looking to cultivate connection, community is everything

If you examine most popular Blog sites these day, the best part is the comments, the feedback from the community and the interactions between those community members. It is often a vibrant, unchecked space, where elves and trolls wrangle attitude and ideas with gusto and hilarity.

Unfortunately in most blog sites, the potential for these interactions is limited, mainly due to the constraints of the platform (usually Wordpress).

Once someone has gone to the trouble of signing up to your blog to make a comment, why not engage with them fully? Give them a real identity and find ways for them to interact with your content and each other that continues to develop engagement and value. All the power of social media,on your blog.

Where the opportunity lies is for Blogging platforms to evolve into social communities. Harnessing the power of the Blog to engage and educate an audience around a shared passion or values and the magic of a social community to explore the full potential of an engaged aspirational, learning community.

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Comments (18)
  • Indeed. Very often I just read a few words from a post, but then scroll right down to comments. Sometime you just know that a post of certain kind would lead to interesting comments. 

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    • TWO places to put comments on? Confusing. No, big one. Imho, messenger good for group/event chat, w/out certain subject (whatsapp chats) where you welcome to miss the point, it' chat after all. In blog, discussion - comments are the place.

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      • Anyway - it's more than good idea to give us (admins) tools to deside: yes chat or no chat in blogs and discussions:))

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        • Andrew, I'm very appreciate your work, but, with all due respect, the only thing I can tell you here: do not touch the pavlova before you finish your goulash. Make, please, your main product working stable in old, ancient, broken world meanings : bugles, intuitive, convenient. simple end efficient. After that - make ever experiment you want, I'll be your most involved tester there, with all passion I can offer. But, please, don't turn your product to experiment playground, we want to use it, to get social, political and money profit on it and now we can't because of endless experiments. There is always something "different and revolutionary" half-baked thing: strange and useless native app in D7, strange approach to privacy in UNA, three different timelines and multiprofile - for what??? You working so hard to crystallize new vision, maybe it not so bad idea to make something working just like others do : FB, OK, VK, Whatsapp, Snapchat, Insta? Just working stable and simple - all we ask.

          It takes me a lot of time to understand (and i still don't) why I can't see in Timeline my friend's posts, like in ALL TIMELINES IN THE WORLD and instead  I need to go to my OTHER timeline in profile to get friends and subscriptions. I can not understand what revolutionary is in Albums without option to add single photo, what the point to have standalone Photo module without ability to make an Album. What exactly I have to tell to my users on question  "what is secret purpose of the groups - w/out albums, blogs, polls?" How exactly would showing out the members list of closed group make our user's world different (except cultivating jealousy, of course)? I can't even imagine why one can't invite to group THE LIST of users and have to do it ONE BY ONE (try to invite 37 mmbrs to your event here and try to do it in FB just to understand the difference). I was shocked when have face the fact that group/event inventor have to join it! and then to make himself an administrator! - are that things not obvious? And why do not to plan it well from first time? Why multiply pic uploaded - is the thing we have to claim? Who decide to NOT put it there? And I don't ask why: I pretty sure - because of being busy on the new revolutionary thing.

          The true revolution is about to make world better, means: more safe, more simple, more convenient, more efficient. My impression is you trying to ensure me that it's very revolutionary to drive on square wheels.

          No offence, please, I'm talking to you from the bottom of my heart. I'm trying to get enjoy of your product almost 5 years, And I can't. Because of endless experiments.

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          • Thank you for this comment. Indeed, it may be very very confusing to take UNA in "stock" variant and work with it as if it's a conventional social network. The whole idea of it is that you can build a network like Twitter or like Quora or like reddit or like Facebook, and in order to have those capabilities that "default" setup has to be rather generic. Once you go through all the implementation stages you can get a conventional experience, but it can be quite frustrating if you have to learn and do all of it by yourself. You see, UNA is a platform, not a solution. 

            So, in order to address that issue we are now making the first "solution", which is focused on a generic "social network" setup, like Facebook. We are basically just pre-configuring UNA to already have the right combination of modules and settings to work like you would expect a typical social networking website to work. This is an ongoing process and we hope to be able to present it in a few weeks. 

            Next we will build more solutions - for LMS, business networking/customer community, team collaboration, etc. They all require different combinations of settings and apps. 

            As for experimenting, what you see is perhaps 5% of our time going into exploration of "new" ideas. Most of the day is spent on improving current features and working with clients directly, configuring live sites (which is also helping the system evolution). 

            It is very important to keep trying and experimenting with new approaches. This is the only way we can give you the tools that will make your projects stand-out. Some of the experiments are done in attempt to solve the ongoing pain-points that simply don't have conventional solutions.  



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            • It sounds very nice, Andrew, indeed. And it definitely make sense. In eyes of  Boonex/UNA newcomer.

              Less on me,  I'm close to 5 yrs here. And I KNOW that there is ALWAYS something unexpactable, something smaaaaaal that makes everything unusable.

              "We are basically just pre-configuring UNA to already have the right combination of modules and settings to work like you would expect a typical social networking website to work." - you tell?


              But look at reality

              1. WHO decide that in close groups list of members HAVE TO BE OPEN TO ALL WITHOUT OPTION TO HIDE IT? It wasn't in D7, it isn't in FB , so  where is promised "to work like you would expect a typical social networking website". I begging Alex not to do it, I'm feel ashamed when I trying to explain  it to my customers but I have no words for it!!! there are no words in no one of 5 languages i speak to explain this stupid thing. 

              2. You make half-baked Albums and half-baked Photos... for what??? make one good working module - it IS what you call "to work like you would expect a typical social networking website", so where it in UNA? in this very "solution"? It suppose to be here, because in ALL social networks it is.

              3. You talking about new approach to networking and in fact you are pushing people out. NOBODY WANTS TO JUMP BETWEEN  T-H-R-E-E   T-I-M-E-L-I-N-E-S!!!! Why? Why? Why you can not integrate In Outline My Friends an My Subscriptions?  It done already in FB, in OK, in BK if you talking about "to work like you would expect a typical social networking website", why you struggle with it? Customers just looking on  site and going back to FB, because they see UNA as unclear, inconvenient, stupid engine.

              And of coarse, we can not change it - nobody can change this small list of disappointing things, and I ensure you, there are more. And I'm not talking about round avatar or square, do mandatory location or not , html_purifier filter or embed.ly - this can be finished by neat and attentive admin. I'm talking about principal things, which you leave unfinished, inconvenient, non-logical. Can you answer - why? No, your previous answer can't be count, because UNA now - is the opposite of "to work like you would expect a typical social networking website to work". Maybe in few weeks we finally could see one good known Timeline with all our user BASIC needs? privacy of gorup's members going to be changed?  one photo upload will not starting with open a new album any more? we can expect it finally here? I would be glad to hear one simple Yes. But can you say it?

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            • Just work on having the comment section auto refreshing to show new comments and it will be just fine.  I have live comments working on a Dolphin site; with a few bugs that need to be worked out; like the pagination doesn't work correctly. 

              There is a principle, KISS; keep it simple stupid.

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              • Well, apart from naming and some traditional UI conventions, I don't see how "chat" is different from "comments". Essentially either is a conversation within certain context. 

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                • Good idea BUT - A Very BIG BUT...

                  Lets Say Mr A makes a post and Mr B, Mr C & Mr D comments on your post, then those comments SHOULD NOT work like messenger like you explain in your post. Because if a 1000 people comment you;re phone will go crazy. 

                  If ANY MEMBER Reply on a persons comment or (2nd Phase interaction) YES, Then messenger like actions would be nice. Hope you catch my drift here.


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                  • Well Andrew, beyond the interface, the use is not the same, the chat is a discussion based on spontaneity, comments should be more reflective and more focused on a specific topic. That's why I think the comments do not need to be in real time.

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                  • This article by Andrew Boon clarifies the differences, pros and cons of each Discussions vs Conversations vs Chat vs Messenger. Probably well worth a revisit;


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                    • Guys, thank you so much for sharing that thread. I realize there are HUGE improvement needed for BoonEx Dolphin to be a "normal" & functional social network.

                      I am not going to blame the developer's team, since I know nothing about programming. But I agree with most users out there, KEEP IT SIMPLE and MAKE IT FLOW should be key.

                      The purpose of having feedback is to take them in consideration.

                      You're so close to be able to thrive, too bad... I had an amazing project for Dolphin, too bad...

                      (What alternatives do you guys advise then, may I ask?)

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