One aspect of the Inspire web site that was much commented-on in the past was the lack of community functionality. When we relaunched the site last October, the first set of new community-oriented features was put in place. Today we are launching the second round.
Below, I’ll describe some of the most important new features . . . and be sure to log in when visiting inspirewriters.com as this functionality is only available to logged-in users. In fact, I recommend always logging in when visiting the site.
New Community Groups and Forums
Available from today is the first set of genre-specific community/discussion groups. We will be launching new groups throughout the year. If there is a genre you would particularly like to have available, please email me at email@example.com.
Christian Living Writers – for those of you who write in the “Christian Living” genre.
Nonfiction (General) Writers – this is for discussion of general nonfiction topics, issues, etc. We will be launching groups for some specific nonfiction genres soon!
Fiction (General) Writers – for general fiction-writing discussion. Again, groups for some specific fiction genres are coming soon.
Inspirational Writers – this is the meeting place for all of those that write Inspirational works, including devotionals. You know who you are!
YA (Young Adult) Writers – if you write for the YA audience, this is the group for you.
Each of these groups also has a more formally structure discussion forum, which will probably be your main go-to place for question and answer discussions.
The Community Activity page is Inspire’s equivalent of your Facebook or Twitter feed . . . it provides details of various activities carried out by fellow members on the Inspire community web pages. You can also post your own “status updates” here. Each group also has its own Activity feed.
When you are logged into inspirewriters.com, you will see a “Community” menu near the top-left of the page. The 2nd item in the Community drop-down menu will take you to your Profile page. This is probably your main go-to page for all community-related activity. From here you can see any new notifications, send messages to other members, view your Inspire “friends” (think “Facebook friends”), view the Groups and Forums that you belong to, view your Events and change your Settings.
However, this is primarily the place to upload your profile picture (best size is 150 x 150 pixels) and, if you’re really daring, a cover image (the wide but not very tall “background” image). The best size for the cover image is 1030 x 225 pixels. Here is where you can also enter your community bio and add links to your web site and social media pages. I encourage everyone to upload a profile picture – it adds so much to the Inspire community when you can put a face to a name. And, if you need help, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As mentioned above, you can now become “friends” with other Inspire members and send messages directly to members. The easiest way to “friend” another member is to find them in the member listing and then click on the [Add Friend] button.
One way to send a message to another member is also to find them in the member listing, then click on their name in order to view their profile. From there, you can click on the [Public Message] or [Private Message] button. If you select the Public option, this is similar to writing on a Facebook friend’s wall (and visible to other members), whereas a Private message will only be visible to the recipient.
You can also send messages from your main Profile page: click on the Messages option, then Compose. You can even “tag” other members in your messages (and Activity/Status posts) using the format @memberid. For example, to tag me, you would use @ianfusa.
As you begin to use more and more of these Community features, you will not only find them easy to use, they will become a natural, everyday part of your Inspire life . . . and you will enhance the experience of being an Inspire member not just for yourself, but for everyone else.