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IP.Board 3.1.0 Dev Update: Profile Customization (II)

We recently blogged about our new profile customization options. I've made a few updates since and wanted to update you on them.

As you may already be aware, we have added Twitter integration into IP.Board 3.1. This enables you to 'connect' your Twitter account to your forum account to share links, status updates and to allow you to use your Twitter photo on the board.

I've taken this a step further and added an option to allow you to import your Twitter background preferences to your profile:


My test Twitter account with using a different Twitter theme


The background preferences (img and color) imported into IP.Board


The preferences control panel

I've also added a few handy links to the Profile Customization control panel. These links allow you to revert all customizations, remove just the background image and load your profile to see the changes:



I've also included a quick way to remove your own customizations while viewing your profile:



And if you are a "Super Moderator", then you remove and remove and disable customizations on any profile you view:



We hope that you enjoy this feature and allowing Twitter to set your background further personalizes your board profile and re-enforces your own personal brand.

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Some nice stuff there Matt - but can I just say I think FB/external site integration/advertising is imo, dangerous for smaller communities. Just today we had a thread wondering why the site has been quiet lately - one of the replies said:

  If I have photos I put them on there as it is easier and then just feel if I put them on here most have already seen them.


I think it's more instant on FB so those of us on there chat on there a lot.


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[quote name='Razasharp' date='19 February 2010 - 06:38 PM'] Some nice stuff there Matt - but can I just say I think FB/external site integration/advertising is imo, dangerous for smaller communities. Just today we had a thread wondering why the site has been quiet lately - one of the replies said:


We've discussed this before, and to put a long story short, we disagree with this sentiment.

Nevertheless, you do not have to allow any Twitter or Facebook integration on your community if you don't wish to use it. All of the integration options can be disabled in the ACP.

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I personally feel that by incorporating FB/Twitter into your site makes it easier for people to participate or return.

Of course, one size rarely fits all and you don't have to enable these features if you feel they are not right for your community. :)

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Matt, they have no fear that the boom once Twitter and Facebook is finished? They have invested a lot Time for Twitter and Facebook in the IPB, I hope not to angry them then because of the work and development? My fear is that Twitter and Facebook are just a trend nowadays, but also for tomorrow and beyond and the Future? However, they did have make a good job, no question! :thumbsup:

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[quote name='Energizer' date='19 February 2010 - 07:34 PM']
Matt, they have no fear that the boom once Twitter and Facebook is finished? They have invested a lot Time for Twitter and Facebook in the IPB, I hope not to angry them then because of the work and development? My fear is that Twitter and Facebook are just a trend nowadays, but also for tomorrow and beyond and the Future? However, they did have make a good job, no question! :thumbsup:


I say rather than fearing Facebook and Twitter use them to your advantage as a means of promoting your community. Remember that Facebook and Twitter are designed to talk "to" each other rather than a forum which is designed to talk "with" each other about a common interest. I consider that a key difference.

As for them being a fad or not I consider that irrelevant right now. If they stay around a long time: use them to your advantage. If they don't stay around a long time: use them to your advantage until they're gone. Either way I say leverage their broad user base to your advantage.

Of course if you fear the two networks then disable all the access points and don't worry about it.

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WOWzers... Go go Gadget Profiles!

Just tossing out a thought here (you KNEW this was coming).. For real though people might like this..

Customize their background image (as per the other customization announcement), but also be able to customize pictures for the different tabs. Like for a twitter tab (profile with twitter updates listed), use their twitter background image if the member wants to do that. Click on a facebook tab and be able to have a different image for that (possibly importing something from their facebook account?)


Absolutely love the moderating options being right on the profile. Can be very handy if someone happens to put up an extremely offensive picture and needs to be removed A.S.A.P.

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[quote name='Charles' date='19 February 2010 - 07:39 PM']
As for them being a fad or not I consider that irrelevant right now. If they stay around a long time: use them to your advantage. If they don't stay around a long time: use them to your advantage until they're gone. Either way I say leverage their broad user base to your advantage.

Reminds me of an episode of iCarly (one where Spencer is supposedly dead). Carly asks if he feels bad about letting people think he's dead just so they'll pay more for his art. Sam pipes up that its stupid people who do that and it's mentioned that it's what stupid people are for, to give their money to other people.

Basically, use something to your advantage. If it stays around a long time and works to your advantage, that's good. If it's around for only a little while and works to your advantage, that's good. Not your fault if it disappears after a short period of time, but while it's around, may as well try to sucker in as many victims to your site as you possibly can. In retrospect, it's actually a community service to do it, because if that site goes under, then you will be providing those orphaned members with a new place to call their home.

:)

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[quote name='Charles' date='20 February 2010 - 12:39 AM']
I say rather than fearing Facebook and Twitter use them to your advantage as a means of promoting your community. Remember that Facebook and Twitter are designed to talk "to" each other rather than a forum which is designed to talk "with" each other about a common interest. I consider that a key difference.

As for them being a fad or not I consider that irrelevant right now. If they stay around a long time: use them to your advantage. If they don't stay around a long time: use them to your advantage until they're gone. Either way I say leverage their broad user base to your advantage.

Of course if you fear the two networks then disable all the access points and don't worry about it.

Yes they can be used to promote your sites, but I feel it is short-term gain and we should be wary. Especially when it comes to facebook, overall you are strengthening their brand (which = more users) above anything else. They're not daft - if they're not getting _more_ out of it than everyone else they wouldn't do it. Although I will say that sadly, thanks to the BBC and all other mainstream media they've had so much publicity now that even if you didn't integrate it wouldn't count for much.

Will add tho, just because they're 'not' doing something now, doesn't mean they won't change their mind. Facebook has groups and basic discussions already. And they've also just taken on a leading ex-vB dev. All they need is to set up a small team to create what will essentially be forums like ours. I don't trust them one bit and think we should think very carefully about doing anything that strengthens their position because it could come to bite us in the arse later.

I actually have plans to launch a SN site to compete with the biggies at some point - but one which is more sympathetic to smaller communities like ours too.

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Well as everyone has pointed out if you're afraid of them then you should shut off the features :)

Others see that sites like FB and Twitter are user-centered whereas forums are subject and conversation centered. As in you talk at people on those sites but you talk with people on a forum.

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[quote name='Charles' date='19 February 2010 - 08:18 PM']
Others see that sites like FB and Twitter are user-centered whereas forums are subject and conversation centered. As in you talk at people on those sites but you talk with people on a forum.

I see Twit and FB as sources of free advertising. If someone makes a post on my site and then gives a link to it, then a good number of their friends/followers will click the link to see what it's about. Boom, free clicks to my site and the possibility of new registrations!

If I could have a site of mine advertised for free on a huge site like IMDb, NBC, Nvidia, etc for just one day, I just know I'd get a few sign ups. A few members talking about my site is essentially the same thing, especially if they have a huge following or can get someone (with a huge following) to do the same thing a few times.

I welcome free advertising. :)

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[quote name='Razasharp' date='19 February 2010 - 08:14 PM']
Will add tho, just because they're 'not' doing something now, doesn't mean they won't change their mind. Facebook has groups and basic discussions already. And they've also just taken on a leading ex-vB dev. All they need is to set up a small team to create what will essentially be forums like ours. I don't trust them one bit and think we should think very carefully about doing anything that strengthens their position because it could come to bite us in the arse later.

Let's say that they do create a forum for their members to post on.. Do you know how much chaos would ensue? Someone makes a post and then a few minutes later, there may be 10 replies. A lot of people would give up on trying to be part of the community there. Even if it were broken down, it would be HUGE and would intimidate a large number of people, thus scaring them off to other sites which are much less 'busy'. Things balance themselves out, it's the natural way of things. After all, there comes a time, when we heed a certain call, when the world must come together as one.

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I totally see your point about being flooded if it was just your usual forums - but they'll be thinking of things relevant to them and make their forums work for their set-up and size. They may go down the yahoo answers route, or similar for example - with the big difference being they already have so many of your members and potential members as their own members.

Like I said tho, they've come so far now that there's little IPB/vB can do to change things - but I just wanted to stress that companies like IPB should concentrate more on strengthening their software above supporting those 3rd party biggies.

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[quote name='Razasharp' date='19 February 2010 - 09:28 PM']
Like I said tho, they've come so far now that there's little IPB/vB can do to change things

Using your own point of view against you, let's consider that saying, "If you can't beat them, join them." Just about everyone has heard of FaceBook and Twitter. It's mentioned quite frequently on the news and it's like a big burning hole in the internet, with people flying to it like moths.. So if it's getting that much exposure, why not pop your site up within that crowded mess, where it stands a huge chance of people seen by others who may have otherwise never seen or known about your site?

If your members are going to join the mugshotbook or the place for twits, then they're going to do it regardless of your site, not because of it. The only difference your site could possibly make is in the timing of when they do it. But let's compare, FB's over 400million members -vs- your under 1million members (I'm going on the assumption that your board has under 1million members, please correct me if I'm mistaken on this). There's not many people they can stand to gain from you, but there IS a large pool of suckers that you can lure to your site from them. Just the odds alone are in your favor.

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And I'll use yours against you :p How many times have you seen 'add me on facebook' type threads on forums? People may well have heard of or joined facebook but those threads hurt you most - because it gives 'your' members a place to chat elsewhere - and let's face it FB is done pretty damn nice, so people are going to want to spend time there anyway. A nice slick interface, feature rich and lots of people or your outdated somewhat limited forum with less members. Forums are in decline, it's much harder to get a new forum going these days, FB however is still growing.

I do hear what you're saying about using them - but I really don't think FBC gets you that many more members. If people want to post on your site they will most likely register.  Has anyone got any before and after data - showing that adding FBC got them more members? If it is proven to work I may even give it a go on some of my own sites. (Whilst talking about it - how does it work? Do you get the users email address? If so that's good).

As I mentioned previously, I do think that it is so big now and it won't make much difference adding FBC to vb/IPB - but still I'd want to see CPPs be more feature rich and not just become supporters of these super sites. We need to find ways to get members to join our sites, and to keep coming back.




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[quote name='Razasharp' date='19 February 2010 - 11:06 PM']
We need to find ways to get members to join our sites, and to keep coming back.

Yeah, you get to work on that and lemme know what you figure out... :lol:

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