10-20-2011 04:19 AM
Let me count the ways…....
WARNING, this is a long, boring one…
And no, this is not the 10 Step Method either. LOL! :D
- A Lurker – I began as a Lurker almost three years ago when a young student of mine told me about this site. He brought some of his wooden rings to the last day of class and I was so fascinated with them. Interestingly enough, I don’t believe that student has been back here in almost two years. Its not for everyone. I began lurking around for a bit off and on, maybe for a year I did this. Lurking sufficed for me for a while, but then I wanted to start tagging things for later retrieval. I also desired to add my own comments to certain posts. That meant I had to sign up and log in.
- I Signed Up – So….. I signed up. At first, I used my Watchlist to tag what I wanted to go back to. This worked for a while until I realized that I can’t see out past 30 days worth. I fretted over this a bit and struggled along and started putting links to these in my Palm Pilot. Then, much later, I realized I could use the ‘Favorite’ button. I hesitated from using this button for so long because I didn’t properly understand what it was put there for. I thought it was for some kind of voting on folks’ projects and such. Heck, some folks(including me in the beginning) seemed to have a prime goal of getting the most views, comments, or favoriteds on their projects and such. Don’t get me wrong, It is nice to see high numbers, but I think most members eventually get over that. One of the things I believe that LJ could improve upon is informing members of some of the obscure functionality of the site. There’s more here than the casual user thinks. Really.
- Mastering ‘Favorites’ – I eventually just jumped in and started Favoriting anything I thought was cool. Actually, I think it should be a ‘Cool’ button, not a ‘Favorite’ button. Heck, I have over 400 favorites(projects, blogs, and forum topics) now. Sorry Steve, but I don’t think I’ve Favorited a single video. I should go back and tag the best one you ever did though. That’s the Christmas Ornament. It is truely a classic for all ages and skill levels.
- Testing through Hard Times – We all had to muddle through the bad times with the mish mash and the stuff that led up to the removal of the Coffee Shop. We even lost some very good members such as DaveR. Things eventually settled down a bit and that forum topic was brought back(but under a different name). During those times, we used LJ to test our longivity.
- Others’ Friendships – Somehow between then and now, I saw right before my eyes some of the friendships that had been forming between other Jocks(and Janes). Real friendships. Folks were snail mailing tools, wood, and projects to other members that they thought highly enough of as a token of appreciation, respect, gratitude, or for other unspoken reasons. And some of these folks STILL have not met in person. You ever heard of a Pen-Pal? It’s virtually the same thing. I hate writing, so I never had pen pals growing up. We also lost Chip at somepoint in the journey.
- My Friendships – I then began to get emails notifying me that I had been Buddied by someone. To this day, it still baffles me as to why most of them have done this. Sometimes you’ll get an associated PM but most of the time not. [Side Note to Martin: As a suggestion, I think it would be a GREAT addition if you could include in the ’Add to Buddies’ process, the inclusion of a PM to be sent to the person they are ‘Buddying’ letting them know why they just got Buddied. Simple freeform text, not a dropdown list.] Following this Buddying, I started finding myself forming real friend relationships with some members here, and not all are Buddies. Understand, I don’t Buddy back everyone that Buddies me. I’m just different, but that’s ok. It still makes me curious why some folks I have never had contact with are Buddying me. I admit, I have Buddied a couple of members because they make really cool stuff, and I want to be notified when they post new threads. For some, a real relationship has not formed. Following this, I have since received packages from other members. Some wood, some projects(or parts, thereof). I have not forgotten you all, I will be recognizing you publicly later. :) I hope this is not rude.
- Lurking a Lurker – And now Today, I commented on a somewhat obscure post and noticed that however odd this Blog was, a few folks still found it helpful and had Favorited it. I peeked to see who, and clicked on a member’s name that had what looked like familiarities in it. It turns out that the familiarities were unfounded, but I went to his home page. This user had only 7 posts in over 700 days, and none in almost 500 days. But yet he had just Favorited this Blog. No projects, blogs, reviews, or forum topics himself, mostly lurking and Favoriting. He had over 400 Favorites. Hey, I see absolutely nothing wrong with that, really. I then began lurking amongst HIS favorites and discovered maybe another new way of using LumberJocks. I might do more lurking of Favorites of my Buddy’s lists. Its funny how other folks can often Favorite projects you also find interesting. You could find some you’ve somehow missed.
- Using the Tabs – I find myself sometimes skipping a couple of days at a time from getting on LJ. For this, there’s the maybe more common way of perusing LJ. You can use the Tabs at the top of every page and pick a category and just drive down that one specific road. And for Forum topics, you can narrow that road to be more specific. A similar method might be in using the Search engine, but as it has been pointed out, it is not known to be the best. It sometimes suffices though.
- Tried & True – My tried and true method though has been the Pulse page. Mostly the summarized version at the bottom of most pages. I do go to the full page version when I want to see all my Watchlist, but I normally keep it on All Activity.
I hope this has not been too boring. I’m sure there are plenty of other diverse ways of using LJ. I just wanted to document my thoughts on this and thought other folks might have other ways they use LJ. I think LJ is one of the best kept secrets on the internet. It can be used in so many different ways. Its a lot more versatile than most of the other Special Interest forums out there. It won’t replace a good personal website for small commercial purposes, but it has been very helpful to me in the last three years. Thanks for getting the ball rolling Martin.
-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--