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Over at our forum we’ve upgraded to a new version of our forum software and it has brought with it a few new forum features that I thought I’d introduce here on the blog. They are:
Let me unpack each:
1. Social Groups
With the upgrade has come the ability to create ‘social groups’ – or groups that focus upon a particular type of photography. Social groups are available for all members to join (and create) and are a place that you can share photos and talk about the topic that the group is focused around. They look like being a good place to connect with others who have a similar passion to you.
So far we have three groups (they’ve only just started so they are small) – Scrapbooking Photography. You’re welcome to create others and invite your friends to join them.
Another possible use of ‘social groups’ would be to set up localized groups – so you could start up one for your city and see if others in your area want to share information about where there are good events, places to shoot etc – and perhaps even arrange meetups/photowalks together.
2. Updated Portrait Pages
Speaking of ‘friends’ – profile pages on the forums have had an overhaul and now are much more ‘social’ in nature. You can befriend other forum members (like on facebook or myspace) and leave public messages for other members. Also new in the profile areas is the ability to customize the look of your profile (change colors etc) and display ‘albums’ of your photography.
This feature is pretty cool – now at DPS you can upload up to 60 of your best images to your very own DPS Album to share with us. For example – one of our most prolific forum members – Little Wonders album that looks like this:
4. Social Bookmarking
At the bottom of each thread on the forums is a new ‘bookmarking’ area that looks like this:
This area is for those of you who like to bookmark and share what you’re reading on the web. The four services that you can currently bookmark forum threads to are Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon and Google. I’m presuming you’re all familiar with Google but Digg, StumbleUpon and Delicious are great sites for sharing what you’re reading with others and finding what is popular on the web at any given point in time. All three have very strong photography areas and are worth learning how to use.
We’d love you to bookmark DPS (both the blog and the forum) because it helps spread the news of our site to others. You can bookmark here on the blog using the little ‘bookmark’ button at the bottom of each of our posts that looks like this:
Another new feature in the forum is the ability to ‘tag’ threads of conversations. Tags are a nifty way of classifying/categorizing threads and finding others that relate to them.
For example – in this thread Focus Stacking – if you scroll down the page to the ‘tags’ section at the bottom you can see that someone/or some people have ‘tagged’ the thread with four tags – d300, flower, focusstacking, macro and nikon.
If you click on any of these links you’ll be taken to a page which lists any other threads of conversation that have been tagged with the same terms. For example you might be interested in ‘macro photography’ so you click that tag and get taken to a page with other posts about Nikon tag page. The good thing about this feature is that it helps you to find related posts across the full forum. For example in both the macro and Nikon tag pages there are threads of conversation from areas other than our Nikon and Macro sections of the forums.
At the moment tags are only just starting to be used so only popular terms have them – but as more and more people ‘tag’ threads this feature will become very useful.
You can see a list of the ‘tags’ currently being used on this tags cloud page. The bigger the word the more times it’s been ‘tagged’.
Looks like there’s a lot of discussion about ‘RAW’ at the moment.
In addition to the above new features there are a variety of other smaller changes around the forum. Many of them are in our back end/admin area and a few others are things we might switch on later. We are experimenting with the above features and would encourage you to take them for a test drive. There is a chance we might need to modify how some of them are used in future – depending upon how people use them (things are always open for abuse) but at this stage we think they’ll really add a lot to the forums. Please enjoy!
Lastly – with every upgrade there is always the chance of bugs and problems. We’ve found a few of these and fixed them already – however if there’s something wrong that you notice I’d encourage you to go to this thread on the forum and leave your feedback.