Buffalo Rumblings has a rather large readership (and we are grateful for every one of you, by the way). We also have a large amount of registered users, and a fairly significant pool of readers brave enough to wade through - and more importantly, contribute to - our Buffalo Bills discussions on a daily basis.
The idea of this post (on a slow Friday in June in which everyone's waiting for bigger news tonight) is to get everyone on the same page regarding the technology of our little corner of the Internets. This is a reader-requested post, and though we expect this will be review for many of our veteran posters, we hope y'all can still learn a thing or two from this exercise. All of the user account basics you need to know to get the most out of your sports blogging experience are after the jump.
PART 1: USER ACCOUNTS FOR LURKERS
Many people don't like creating user accounts online, for a myriad of personal and security-related reasons, and that's fine. If nothing is holding you back, it really is worth your time to have an SB Nation account, even if you don't plan on participating in discussions the way our daily commentators do.
Create an SB Nation account right here if you don't have one. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process - and if you're already a user on Facebook or Yahoo!, the process is even easier. What advantages does a user account offer fans that don't participate in our discussions?
- Ease of reading comments sections: An SB Nation user account allows you to more easily keep track of what you've read, and what you've missed, in comments sections. Users logged into an SB Nation community can press the 'z' key on their keyboards to mark comments as read on specific posts; that way, if you leave a post and come back, the 'z' key will only take you to comments you haven't seen yet. This is a convenience that you'll yearn for on other sites when you leave SBN. Trust me.
- Ease of joining other communities/hubs: We're glad that you love the Bills, but we're guessing that you love other sports teams, too. SBN has communities for just about every pro sports team out there, as well as for many major Division I colleges, specific sports (like Baseball Nation), and regional hubs (like SBN New York). The same goes for SBNation.com, our national site. With a user account, joining new sports communities is as simple as clicking a button and agreeing to community guidelines.
- Recommending work: It's especially true at Buffalo Rumblings, but it's generally true across SB Nation as well, that there's an awful lot of reading and writing going on on a daily basis. Not everyone reads everything written here, simply because there's a ton of it. With a user account, you can recommend SB Nation's best work by clicking the "rec" button - this is a great way to give your fellow fans some kudos while enriching the rhetoric of our sports blogs. (Recommended work, with enough "rec" support, will turn green.)
- Improved screen real estate: Work (ahem, read in your own free time) on a wide-screen monitor? SBN sites rendering in a tiny strip down the middle of your screen? Toggle between "narrow" and "wide" view to get the most out of your screen real estate. Many of our readers are not yet aware of this feature.
PART 2: USER ACCOUNTS FOR DISCUSSION-READY FANS
Maybe you're looking to build up a blogging portfolio. Maybe you're looking to simply record all of your impeccable analysis and prognostications to point to when your friends question your sports acumen. Maybe you're already knee-deep in our daily discussions, and simply didn't know some of this technology was available to you. This is worth knowing if you already have a user account - and if you don't, maybe this will entice you to join up.
- Your own sports blog: Did you know that any FanPost you write anywhere is aggregated on your user profile page? The same is true of comments you make and votes you cast in polls. Everything is archived, but the blog feature is especially cool. As an example, check out our own J2's SB Nation blog - if he posted FanPosts or FanShots on other SB Nation blogs, they'd aggregate into that feed, as well.
- Facebook and Twitter integration: All of that work aggregating at your SB Nation user profile? You can share it easily simply by linking your Facebook and/or Twitter accounts to your profile here. From your profile page (just click your username in a thread if you're lost, or find it up in the network bar next to the word "SB Nation" in the top left corner), then click "Edit Account." From there, you can link up Facebook and Twitter - and then any time you publish a FanPost or FanShot, you'll see check boxes that allow you to share the story immediately with your friends. (You can also share after you've posted, in case you're waiting to see if the post is well-received. This is something I have done.) You can also share any work written by any other SB Nation user to your own profiles via Facebook like and Tweet buttons. SBN is full of great work. Spread the word!
The entire point of SB Nation, at least to my eye, is to empower fans technologically to add to sports discussions in very meaningful and cutting-edge ways. Our publishing platform is second to none for those of you looking to do exactly that.
MRW and I run this blog with the intent to share as much great fan-generated Bills content as we can. We're more than happy to share the opinions and analysis offered by our outstanding community. Case in point: MRW started out as a simple registered user, and after he took over our FanPost section with the high-quality work you've come to expect from him as Assistant to the Regional Manager, I asked him to join the editorial staff. We have the power to promote user-generated content (we prefer well-written FanPosts) to our front page for even more exposure. For too long, this space has belonged to MRW and I. We'd like it to feel more like yours from this point forward, and the tech is ready and waiting for you to take us up on that offer.
There are many, many things that we have not touched on here, because the thrust of this post is intended to be content-oriented. Registered users can tweak many blog settings to suit your own preferences (like your time zone, for starters), add avatars and signatures to give your digital self some personality, and "favorite" your... favorite... SBN sites for easier access in the "My Blogs" menu in the network bar. These are all conveniences to the user, as well - and if anyone has any questions about anything as you poke around these preferences, we'd be happy to field those questions.