Hello from the engine room deep in the belly of StartupNation! We’ve been working on a major community upgrade and website re-release for the past year as some of your may know. I’m happy to provide a preview of some of the new Community features for you.
Before jumping into the fun stuff, I wanted to address a few important points regarding how this change will affect your current StartupNation membership.
- Members will still log on with their email address and existing password. (Members can also now use their nickname to log on instead of their email)
- All existing member information will automatically transfer over to the new community, including photos, avatar, forum posts, marketplace listings, contacts, private messages and other profile information.
- All features in this new community release are still free to members.
Ok…now for the fun stuff!
The main community page is now a dashboard of all the activity within the community.
Click on the image below. When it loads, click on it one more time to see it in larger scale.
Locality is a great new enhancement in the soon-to-be-released StartupNation Community. Members can search locally, network locally and do more business locally.
In addition to including powerful local searching within community sections, we’re also introducing a new section, “Local Connections,” that’s dedicated to doing business at a local level. We’re introducing interactive maps, including Google Maps where members can pinpoint and reach out to other members in their area.
Screenshots (Click on images below. When they load, click one more time to see larger scale.)
StartupNation is introducing a robust Groups platform through which members can create and join private or public groups around common interests, industries, business partnerships, locality and anything that will best serve their needs.
Group features include:
- Group Forum
- Events calendar
- Photo gallery
- Video gallery
- Private or public groups
- Member invitations
- Sitewide features (public only)
Classifieds (formerly “StartupNation Marketplace”)
The current Marketplace section is becoming “Classifieds” and will be an integral part of the new Community. Members will still be able to post free classified ads, which will be featured in one’s profile, in Local Connections, in the Classifieds section, of course, and throughout the website and community.
To keep classifieds current, we are introducing a 30-day life span to listings. Before an ad expires, an email will be sent to you with a link to renew the ad. This will ensure that inactive and outdated ads are filtered out of the Classifieds section, while current and active posts get more exposure.
The StartupNation Community Forums, for the most part, will not see any significant functional changes as they work really well. We don’t want to fix it if it ain’t broken!
Polls, however, will no longer exist in the Forums but instead will become part of member profiles, groups and spotlights on the Community home page.
All existing activity within the Forums will also be carried over to the new system.
Member profiles will be significantly enhanced with this new release of the StartupNation Community.
New member profiles will include:
- Photo gallery
- Video gallery
- Audio gallery
- Events listing
- Contact list
- Forum posts
- Classified listings
- Profile comments
We will continue to add functionality and features to make your StartupNation profile a place for you to hang your “Open” sign.
My StartupNation Dashboard
Logged in members will now see a “My StartupNation Dashboard” link at the top-right on the site on every page. This is a member’s one-click access to all their account features.
This is replacing the existing the “My StartupNation” tab that is currently on the site.
Members will be able to have their own, unique RSS feeds for all their StartupNation content, posts and classified ads. These feeds can be used to promote their activity on other websites, social networking pages and more.
Enhanced Contacts and Networking
Members’ buddy lists are now called “Contacts”. Members can create categories to segment and organize their contacts.
Guestbooks are being added as a new way to foster member networking and introductions.
Google maps has been integrated into a member’s account page to display up to 1,000 members in their immediate vicinity. (note: members are only displayed by city, not their mailing address, so as to respect privacy.)
And for privacy and preference purposes, members can still ban other members with whom they wish to have no contact.
More Stuff Still Coming….
We have many more new features and tools in development that simply couldn’t fit into this release of the new Community system.
You can expect to see more business matchmaking, robust multimedia sections, member blogs, member articles, online chat, file sharing and many other features rolling out throughout the rest of the year.
Beta Testers Wanted!
We plan on beginning a brief beta test of the new Community next week.
We would like to create a diverse group of 20 or so beta testers in the system to poke around, try out the new features, and let us know what works well, and most importantly, what does not work well.
If you’re interested in being a beta tester, please email me directly and I will include you in the (random) selection process. It doesn’t matter if you’re an online novice or a professional computer engineer. All levels of internet users are desired for beta testing.
Please include in your email:
Subject Line = “StartupNation Beta Tester”
- Full name
- Year of birth
- Your stage (Starting Up vs. Existing Business Owner)
- Your industry