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Musings on the TR Community project

By Beth Blakely ·
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Why bother to blog on TechRepublic?

by Beth Blakely In reply to Musings on the TR Communi ...

<p>Recently, <a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5213-6257-0.html?id=246890">BearyAnn</a> sent
me an e-mail saying that while she'd started a blog, she'd noticed that it was
difficult to find. She wondered, "why bother" blogging on
TechRepublic if people weren't going to be able to find it to read it?</p>


This is not how we want our members to feel
about our new blog feature! I'm so glad BearyAnn took the time to voice her
concerns about blogging. I wrote her back with what I think are some great
arguments for blogging on TR and some insider information on upcoming features. Here's the gist of what I sent:<br />
<p>First, consider that TR blogs offer you a place to post
about technology with a built-in audience of tech pros. While it's true that
it's tough to find blogs on our site right now, we're working on ways to surface
and search blogs more readily. How, you may ask, do we plan to do that? We're
betting on a few site changes that we think will help tremendously: Tags, Blog
Posts from my Contacts, and changes to the TR signature.</p>


<p>Are you tagging your blog posts? If not, shame on you! If
you tag your blog posts appropriately, they'll be searchable by tag and draw
more readers. The <a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5258-6257-0.html">main
Blogs page</a> will soon be updated to allow you to search by tag. Right now,
you can click tags from other members' posts to find related content. For
example, if you're reading Bob21's post titled <a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5254-6257-0.html?forumID=99&threadID=174658&messageID=1776612&id=3467541">"What
I use to protect my computer from mal-ware,"</a> you can click the
"security" tag to find <a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5261-1-0.html?query=security">other posts
with the security tag</a>.</p>


<p>As with blogs, we're still in our infancy with tagging, but
if you and others consistently tag your entries, you should soon find a host of
related material that way.</p>


<p>We've also launched the Blog Posts From My Contacts (BPFMC)
feature, a section that shows you new blog posts from those you've added to your
TechRepublic Contacts list. You can access the BPFMC from the <a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5258-6257-0.html">main Blogs page</a>.</p>


<p>Now on to planned changes for the TR signature that appears
below all discussion posts: We're going to add an "Add to my
Contacts" link for easy bookmarking of your favorite?or not so favorite?TR
members. When you add a contact, you can then access their blog posts in BPFMC.
We'll also be adding a "Read my Blog" type link to help advertise our
members' blogs and allow you to jump right from a discussion post to a blog.</p>


<p>Finally, one of our staffers, <a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5213-6257-0.html?id=3690253">Rex</a>, has noticed that
Google indexes the TR version of his blog much better than the version on
Blogger. His evidence is anecdotal at best, but I did a Google search on
"SP1 on Server 2003" and found BearyAnn's blog on the first page of
search results. That's not bad!</p>


I hope that I've given you reason to continue
blogging with us. The Community team is very excited about the ways we're
changing the site and (hopefully) the opportunities we're providing for IT pros
to connect. We're always interested in your feedback, so don't hesitate to post
or e-mail!<br />

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Improving TR Community: What we're trying to do here...

by Beth Blakely In reply to Musings on the TR Communi ...

I'm an avid <a href="http://www.netflix.com">Netflix</a> user. After paying several outrageous
late fees, I joined Netflix for the rent-by-mail-with-no-late-fees feature.
Recently, though, I've come to appreciate the way Netflix has enabled me to <em>really </em>make the most of my leisure time
by finding films that I'm likely to enjoy.


<p>This new appreciation came to me after my most recent video
rental experience. I had just sent off a batch of viewed Netflix and wanted a movie
to tide me over until my next set arrived. I walked into the video store and
wandered the aisles aimlessly.</p>


<p>I'd pick up a movie, flip it over to read the description
and critics' quotes. I knew I couldn't trust that stuff, though. I needed my
Netflix recommendations! I needed to see how others had rated the film! I
needed my Friends page!</p>


<p>The whole thing reminded me of how we're trying to reshape
the TechRepublic Community to provide a better experience for our members. Just as
Netflix has enriched my cinematic experiences by providing a way to connect
with and learn from other movie viewers, we're trying to provide ways for you to
connect with other IT pros and more easily find the information you need.</p>


<p>Just as Netflix allows me to browse by genre, we're trying
to provide ways for you to find what you need via <a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-6230-0.html?forumID=96&threadID=176731&start=0">Tags</a> and other members' tagged
collections of <a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5263-6257-0.html">Links</a>. And, just as Netflix has provided the ability for my
friends and I to exchange information about movies we've enjoyed, we're trying
to provide features like <a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5211-6257-0.html">Contacts</a> and <a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5213-6257-0.html">Profiles</a> to help you connect with other
members easily.</p>


<p>Now all we need is for our members to embrace and use these
new features. (And feedback is always good, too.) Are you doing your part?</p>

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Getting things done (gtd) with tags

by Beth Blakely In reply to Musings on the TR Communi ...

<p>I just read <a href="http://wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,68103,00.html">this article</a> at Wired News about folks who are so crazy for personal productivity coach David Allen's book <em>Getting Things Done</em> that their using the <a href="http://www.technorati.com/tag/gtd">GTD</a> tag to spread the word about his system for organizing your life.</p>
<p>I could certainly use some help getting things done, so I'll probably check out the book. What I find so fascinating, though, is the way folks are organizing themselves as a group by using the tag. I'm excited to see when members here at TechRepublic really begin to embrace tags as a way to organize themselves around a particular topic.</p>
<p>Of course, we're already seeing the humble beginnings. Consider groups forming around The Trivia Geek's <a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5261-1-0.html?query=creative%20writing">creative writing</a> tag, fans of Oz_Media's <a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5260-1-0.html?query=friday+yuk">Friday Yuk</a>, and the big list of members who are interested in <a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5212-6257-0.html?select=by+interests&query=security">Security</a>. It will be interesting to see how the <em>folksonomy</em> (yeah, I used that word) develops.</p>
<p>I love it when I see members encouraging one another to tag in order to keep up with specific postings. That's how we grow together as a community!</p>

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Getting things done (gtd) with tags

by Jay Garmon Contributor In reply to Getting things done (gtd) ...

Thanks for the <a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5261-1-0.html?query=creative%20writing">tag</a> shout-out.

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Something to blog about: OSCON 2005

by Beth Blakely In reply to Musings on the TR Communi ...

<p>If
you're planning to attend the 7th Annual <a href="http://conferences.oreillynet.com/os2005/">O'Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON)</a> in Portland, Oregon from August 1-5, blog about it! Use the tag "OSCON
2005" so your posts can be easily found by other attendees.</p>

<p>This year, the conference leaders plan to explore " three deep trends
affecting open source: the commoditization of software, network-enabled
collaboration, and software customizability."</p>

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TR adds email notifications for blog comments

by Beth Blakely In reply to Musings on the TR Communi ...

<p>Hello TechRepublic bloggers!</p>
<p>We hope you're enjoying our beta blogging period. This week we've finally added a much requested feature to the TR blog experience: E-mail notifications for comments. </p>
<p>It works just the way you'd expect. Your blog will be checked for comments at regular intervals. Any new comments will be e-mailed to you.</p>We're excited to bring this new level of connectivity to TR members and their blogs. If you find that you receive too many e-mails, you can turn this feature off by visiting the Blog Settings page and removing the check from the Receive an e-mail for comments submitted to your blog box. <a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5247-6257-0.html?edit=true">http://techrepublic.com.com/5247-6257-0.html?edit=true</a>
<p>When you receive comments, we urge you to check out the members' profiles and add them to your list of Contacts if you find that you share the same interests. <a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5211-6257-0.html">http://techrepublic.com.com/5211-6257-0.html</a> </p>
<p>Adding members to your Contacts allows you to view all their Discussion posts (via the main Discussion page) and Blog Posts (via the main Blog page) more easily.</p>
<p>If you have any comments or suggestions for improving TechRepublic or the blogs feature, please feel free to comment in our Site Ideas / Feedback forum. <a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5204-6230-0.html?forumID=96&start=0">http://techrepublic.com.com/5204-6230-0.html?forumID=96&start=0</a></p>

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Flock - This is going to be good

by Beth Blakely In reply to Musings on the TR Communi ...

<p><a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5213-6257-0.html?id=2727770">Smorty</a> just filled me in on <a href="http://socialsoftware.weblogsinc.com/entry/1234000047056283/">Flock</a>, the social browser. The blogging features (like drag, drop, and manipulate <a href="http://www.flickr.com/">Flickr</a> photos) sound incredible.</p>
<p>I can't wait to see this!</p>

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Flock - This is going to be good

by HutchTech In reply to Flock - This is going to ...

<p>Very interesting.  I'm going to check this out!</p>
<p>- Hutch</p>

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Something to blog about: PDC05

by Beth Blakely In reply to Musings on the TR Communi ...

<p>If you haven't already registered for the <a href="http://msdn.microsoft.com/events/pdc/">Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC05)</a>, your only hope is to get on the waiting list. The conference will take place in Los Angeles from September 13-16. If you're going or have some opinions about this year's agenda, post to your TR blog using the tag <a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5261-1-0.html?query=PDC05">"PDC05."</a></p>

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Help crown TR's Geek King and Queen

by Beth Blakely In reply to Musings on the TR Communi ...

So, it's no newsflash that IT pros are often labeled geeks. Some wear the label proudly while others rebel.<br /><br />Whether you're a pocket-protecting, socially challenged nerd or a perfectly "normal" (whatever that is) person who enjoys some activities others may find "geeky," you can find friends at TechRepublic. Our blogs provide you with the perfect place to talk about your unusual hobbies, whether you're like JCK and like to make and drink your own <a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5261-1-0.html?query=beer">beer</a>; or like THE TRIVIA GEEK, who is very into <a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5261-1-0.html?query=comic%20books">comic books</a>; or even like GADGETGIRL whose passion is <a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5261-1-0.html?query=boats">boats</a>.<br /><br />What level of geek are you? If you're not sure, just check out the <a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5254-6257-0.html?forumID=99&threadID=173914&messageID=1773352&id=1438946">Geek Hierarchy Chart</a>.<br /><br />In any event, there's no shortage of geeks or geeky behavior at TechRepublic. We celebrate you. We bow to you, oh geek royalty. With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to have an impromptu crowning of the King and Queen Geek at TechRepublic. The only prize will be the glory and (limited) fame.<br /><br />Be sure to nominate and support your candidates for King and Queen Geek in <a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-6230-0.html?forumID=96&threadID=181148&start=0">this discussion</a>. The only rules are that the nominee has to be a TechRepublic member, and you have to support your nomination with evidence of supreme "geekhood" from the members' discussion or blog posts.<br /><br />I'll be the judge and crown the winners in next week's <a href="http://techrepublic.com.com/5260-1-0.html?query=blog%20roundup%20newsletter">Blog Roundup newsletter</a>. Until then, have fun!

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