Last week I was having dinner with my friend Daniel Odio. He's a successful tech entrepreneur whose given me a bunch of good advice on SETT, and will be the first person who's not named Tynan to switch his blog to SETT. In other words, he's a dude who knows what's up.
He asked me how SETT was going, and I told him that everything was going great-- the site is functioning really well, the discussions following each blog post are far more substantial than before, I'm enjoying blogging more than ever, and people are embracing a bunch of the new features we've rolled out. The only thing I was hoping for, I told him, was for the community section to be more active.
"Hmm... what's that?"
Oops. I guess there's a problem when one of your main differentiating features has been overlooked by someone smack dab in the middle of your target audience. Since then I've done a little bit to make it more visible, and am working on other ideas to make it even more obvious, but a quick explanaton of the community section and how it came about is probably in order.
The central idea behind SETT is that a blog should be a natural starting point for a community. After all, if you're reading this, you probably share at least a few ideas with fellow readers. You might be into travel, independence, or health, for example. But with previous blogging platforms, there was no real way for you to initiate a conversation about any of that. The only way your voice could be heard would be through a comment on one of my blog posts (and I won't even get started on how bad those comment systems are).
SETT's solution to the problem is to have a community section. You can go there directly at http://tynan.com/community, or you can click the community button on the front page of the blog. While the styling of the community section is identical to the front page, there are two big differences in how it functions.
First, anyone can post there. If you click the "create new post" button at the top left of the community section, you can start a new topic. The best way to think of this is like a messageboard. On my particular blog you'd probably get the best response posting something relating to the topics I post about (one of the best threads going right now is one where my friend Brian is detailing his Rialta RV conversion), but you're welcome to post about anything.
Second, when posts are sorted by date, replying to a message will bump it to the top. If you've been active on a forum before, then you're familiar with this concept. On the other hand, the rank sort works a bit differently than the front page. On the front page, sorting by rank will show the all time highest rated posts, but on the community page we weight by recency, to show what's hot right now.
Also worth knowing is that as the moderator of this blog, I can promote any post from the community section to the front page, and it will show up as if it was a guest post. So, for example, if someone writes a guide to motorcycling around Indonesia, and I think it's great, I could promote it for my whole audience to see.
If you haven't checked it out yet, take a look at the community section. I'd love for you to post there, or just join the existing conversations going on. Right now I'm too busy working on SETT to post more than once a week, so if you have something great to post, I'm definitely looking for stuff to promote.
By clicking the subscribe icon in either the front page view or community view, you can also subscribe to the community section and be notified whenever there's a new post there.
Picture is my recently found POGs collection. Don't ask why.
This is the first blog post I've ever written on a treadmill desk. I set one up at my mom's house and am scheming on how to do the same in the RV. I may have to cut a hole in the roof and put in a dome for clearance.
I saw a Rialta with a solar panel on it in the HEB parking lot in Austin today. Whose was it?
Tynan, I'm super thrilled to soon be moving my blog over to the SETT platform, and honored to be the first to do so. My goal has always been to create an environment where entrepreneurs can help each other succeed, and I've continuously found myself frustrated, as you have, at how much of a one-way "broadcast" blogs tend to be.
What you're pioneering is something very near and dear to my heart -- the concept of an interest graph that connects people with shared interests. Those of us who read your blog will never all be 'friends' on Facebook or all follow each other on Twitter. But we all share a common interest in one thing: Tynan. And the ability of SETT to bring all of us together and 'turn the lights on' so we can all interact with each other is nothing short of amazing.
I can't wait to turn the lights on for entrepreneurs at DanielOdio.com with SETT. It's going to be awesome.
@Tynan Daniel spoke at mobileX - a mobile tech conference series I started with Brian (the other guy you went shortroping with a few yrs ago http://tynan.com/shortroping). Super cool guy! What are the odds?... - this is a promo video for the conference - just trying out all the SETT features - embedding media (Daniel's NOT in this video - it's from a year ago)
That wasn't my Rialta, but I do live in Austin and am thinking seriously thinking about buying one after getting a glimpse of yours. I noticed that some models of the Rialta are 22'. Would you get ticketed or have other problems in a city like San Francisco with that length?
Great work mate - just one piece of feedback for you - remove the link from the entire post content. I have a (perhaps neurotic:)) tendency to select the text I'm reading and every time I do that it goes to the post page. Oh yea, Facebook login would be good:) - Ivan, freelance web developer
Tynan, I think this blog could be a good user of SETT
Dude, there are a whole load of problems using SETT on an ipad. Comments don't work at all and all the buttons are really unresponsive.
Glad to hear SETT is working out well! After multiple visits to the new platform, I also didn't noticed the community section, so I'm glad you mentioned it. Love the idea that community members can author guest posts that can be promoted to the main blog - very cool. I've been interested in sharing some business & travel experiences with the community here, and will be writing a guest post in the near future.....
Well I definitely have become way more active compared to your old blog. Not 100 percent sure if it will wear out, but it definitely seems much easier to contribute which I really like.
For people new to the site though, I don't know if just a little Community button you have will be obvious enough. Maybe do some split testing on making it more prominent.
I really like the idea of SETT, though it wouldn't work for my main site.
That being said, it would love to give it a try for an upcoming site I'm about to roll out. Will you be releasing it to the public?
any thoughts on the "community" section being added to disqus? http://blog.disqus.com/post/22325598158/try-out-disqus-2012
One post that people request occasionally is a post about how I go about finding the best of something to buy. It's a bit of an obsession for me, as you may know.
I'll write that post some day, but right now I'm on an airplane so I don't have the necessary internet to get all of the links and such.
Today will be a sneak preview of the steps I took to decide which RV to buy and how I will get the best price on it.
That was me circa 1990 right after I graduated from the University of Colorado. My focus was to get "On the Road to Find Out" and decide if not what I wanted to do with my life when I grow up, where I wanted to settle down at least. Purchased a 1976 VW Westfalia pop-up with the idea that the window in my life I was currently in was a fleeting one and if I was ever to go on this wild adventure this was my one opportunity to do so. I had no immediate need to work, a few thousand in savings, two empty credit cards to get in serious financial trouble with, and plenty of time yet until I entered "the real world"... saddled by the monthly mortgage payment, meager paychecks that would leave me with more month than money, and all that comes along with a wife, children and raising a family.
My original plan was to leave Boulder and take a figure eight journey around the country, traveling as far North as Quebec, the French Gaspé, Turtle Island and Vancouver, and as far South as Key West, Pony Island and Baja California. I planned on following every inch of the US coastlines that I could, seeking out as many new adventures and experiences as possible. The estimated time table the trip would require was approximately 2 months to complete from start to finish, with many different family members and friends to stop in and visit along the way.
As one of my favorite quotes from John Lennon goes - "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."