Friday, April 05, 2013

Interactive Features on the GCL Blog

The Guelph Civic League blog has been up since the fall of 2011, and with over 35,000 page views and a growing readership, it appears to be successfully serving as a hub for community information.

However, there was hope that the blog would also serve as a hub for community discussion of the important issues of the day. To date, that aspect of the blog has not had as much success.

One reason may be the odd way in which Google's 'Blogger' handles comments on posts. We have heard from some people that they couldn't figure out how to comment when they had something to say. And we suspect that many more didn't see an easy way to comment so just never tried.

There are also other interactive features that appear to be rarely used, including 'reactions' and social media buttons.

So, here's a quick primer on how to use the GCL blog's interactive features.

COMMENTS:  At the bottom of each new blog post, you'll see the words 'No Comments:". This is telling you that no comments have been posted yet, but it is actually a link to the comment form as well - a bit confusing. To post a comment, just click on the 'No Comments:" link and you will see a comment box appear. Enter your comment in the text box and then click on the 'Comment as:' button. You will see a list of options for identifying yourself. Most people choose 'Anonymous', but we'd prefer you choose 'Name/URL' and at least provide a first name. From there you have the option to 'Preview' your comment, and then you may finally click on the 'Publish' button to submit your comment. That's it - easy! Since comments are moderated, it may take a little while for your comment to show up. And note that if a comment has already been published, the link at the bottom of the post will show up as '1 comment:', for example, instead of 'No Comments:'.

REACTIONS:  This is an even quicker way of providing some interactive feedback on a GCL blog post. The options here are: 'Agree', 'Disagree' and 'Useful!'. Just click in the box to register your reaction and provide feedback. The boxes are located at the bottom of each blog post.

SOCIAL MEDIA:  There are various buttons near the bottom of each post for sharing the post via email, 'BlogThis!', 'Twitter', 'Facebook' and 'Google +1'. Feel free to share posts with friends and colleagues!

POLLS:  And of course, there are the popular monthly GCL polls. These are found at top right. Most polls provide a list of responses from which you may choose one. But in some cases (such as the current poll for April), you can choose multiple responses.

We'd love to see more interaction among the readers of the GCL blog, so we hope this primer will help. All comments and reactions are welcomed - both positive and negative, and everything in between! We only ask that you keep it 'family friendly' and respectful.


  1. First, I would like to commend Dave on his great work on this blog. It is not an easy job, and requires quite a bit in the way of time commitment. I also appreciate Dave's style: clear, easy to read and friendly.

    Second, I would not despair as yet about the low number of comments. The blog is fairly new; it needs time to catch on. I help to run a website for a seniors' organisation which has a comments section. After four years, the number of posts can be counted on the fingers of one hand, sigh.

    It may also be that people who are seriously interested in the political doings at Guelph belong, like me, to an older generation, less familiar with technology (I avoid Twitter, Facebook, etc). And the younger generation, more at ease in the social media sphere, just might be less interested in local issues and politics. Pity, but perhaps inevitable...

  2. Thanks for the kind words and encouragement, Dana =)

  3. Thanks for the good information! :D