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Building Online Community: Content


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In today's episode, we talk all about the building blocks of an online community. We talk about types of content that will make for an interactive and engaging community type. We've got the roundup of usual suspects when we talk about how podcasting, blogging, forums, groups, resources, and a community blogroll can help enhance your church community website.

We also talk about how a community site is going to feel a little less structured (ie. more organic) than the past site structures that we've talked about, with content bleeding over from one area to another.

But before all this, we propose a test: How do you know if your church is ready for a community website?


OK, I figured out an alternative to forums on a church website, and it's so obvious, I can't believe I didn't think of it before: social networking! Using modules like buddy lists, organic groups, etc., you can create a Facebook-like social network on your site. I haven't thought it all through yet, and you'd probably need some way to protect youth, who would likely be the first ones to use it, but I'd think a day or 2 of work would be enough to get it set up. What do others think of this idea? (Ok, I just listened a bit further into the show, and it sounds like you guys beat me to it, but for people who are used to Facebook, it shouldn't be too tough to create a Facebook-like experience.)

And BTW, I'm amused that you guys recommend simplefeed since it's the successor to Leech, which I recommended to you maybe a year ago, and you panned it because you thought I was talking about leeching other people's sites. I was actually talking about my own rss feed being converted to Drupal nodes, sort of the opposite of the way it usually works.

Also, for those who like forums, I just discovered UIE Forum for Drupal, which looks a bit more full-featured than the default Drupal forums.

Cohost, CrossFeed Religious News Podcast

your own Social Network/Robots.txt

Dale, I suggest you check out Ning, where you can create your own social network. You can even use your own domain name for it. You could use a Ning network as a "trail run" to see if the idea will work with your community, and then if you want to, move on to a more home grown custom solution. (Though the data porting issues might be interesting!)

About robots.txt - that won't actually stop the photos being viewed, and if someone reads your super-sweet-awesome-church's robots.txt file, they could then go to all the bits of the site they know you don't want them really knowing about!


You said 'super-sweet-awesome-church'.....a man after my own heart.


-Rob Feature
Geeks and God Co-Host

-Rob Feature
Geeks and God Co-Host