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
Sunday night was a scary time for me. After more than a year of work, SETT was ready to be deployed on Tynan.com. Well, maybe not "ready", exactly, but I was sick of putting it off. One line in a configuration file was changed, and my site switched from WordPress to SETT. And then... nothing happened. This was encouraging. The server didn't melt (although there is definitely some optimization that needs to be done), and importantly, most new visitors to my site didn't realize that anything was unusual. Eventually a few people realized that things were different and left feedback. Now, with five days of history, SETT is actually functioning as envisioned. It's an amazing experience to watch our baby start to crawl. Before I get into the details of what makes SETT unique and how to best use it, a quick disclaimer: this is alpha level software. Some parts of it are extremely polished and functional, while others are barely usable (person to person messaging, for example). Right now I don't need bug reports, because I already have a huge list of bugs that I'm working through. What I would LOVE from you is feedback on the experience. What is confusing? Where do you get stuck? What do you hate? What do you like? When designing SETT, we tried to consider the various groups of users that interact with a blog, and how to best serve them. For example, most of my readers are casual readers who stop by, read some posts, and leave. I want their experience to be nearly identical to any other blog-- there shouldn't be any new terminology or steps that they have to go through. The only changes we've made on the reader side are a wide content area for media like images and videos, well formatted text, and (for logged in users) indicators for whether or not they've read a post. For the average casual reader, this is a marginal improvement over a normal blog. Most of SETT's ambition lies with community members. I believe that until now, dedicated readers have been marginalized. I think that out of the 12,000 or so readers I have, there are hundreds who would love to be an important part of the community surrounding this blog, but aren't currently offered any tools to do so. All SETT blogs have two sides to them: the front page and the community view. If you go back to the main page of this blog (click the header at the top) and then click "community" in the action bar, you'll see the posts that have been created by members of the community. This is similar to a forum or message board. Unlike a forum, I can promote any post to the front page with a single click. That's how Brian's post about Pina got there. Besides creating original content, you can also vote things up or down. If you login or register for an account, you'll see voting arrows next to every post. Your votes help new readers see what this blog's best posts are, filter out spam, and indicate to me which community posts I should consider promoting to the front page. There's a lot more that's new with SETT, but I'll keep this short(ish) and let you explore. If you want to help SETT develop, please vote on stuff, leave comments, and create posts in the community section. Please do NOT link to this post (or blog) on any high traffic site just yet. My server can handle it until we implement caching.
This blog is powered by SETT, a brand new state-of-art blogging platform created by Tynan. Unlike traditional Wordpress blogs, SETT provides a lot more opportunity for reader interaction.
Do you see the Community link at the top of this page? That's where any one of you can create your own posts and share them with the rest of my readers. If your posts are good, I'll immediately promote them to the front page of this blog so that your ideas get even more exposure.
The community section of SETT takes reader participation to a whole new level. In traditional blogs the reader is only allowed to leave comments at the end of each post (which usually don't get read anyway). On SETT, however, readers get their own section of the blog in which ideas can spread beyond what's possible on traditional blogs. Check out the community of Tynan's blog to see what it looks like when the audience gets involved.
Every post and every comment on SETT can be voted up or down using the arrows on the top lefthand corner. That way you can let the author know whether they're doing a good job and provide feedback with just one click. Over time as more people vote the unpopular comments will sink to the bottom, while the good ones will stay on the top.
Another thing worth mentioning is how well SETT handles comments. Multiple nested comments look fabulous on SETT, and there's usually a lot more discussion going on as well. When you reply to someone in a traditional blog, in most cases they'll never even see your comment. However, on SETT the person you're responding to will be notified via email so that they know about your response and the discussion can continue.