…and oh what a beautiful thing it is. We made no special announcement, and we have kept the profile data to a bare minimum, and Martha just pulled the whole thing together with the awesome new theme (and who’s work shows no fear!). And I have to say I love the visual integration with BuddyPress, the entire space now works seamlessly and makes a huge difference. I’m interested to see if and how people find and discover one another through the blogs directory. When I just opened it up, I saw a number of cools blogs, our Strategic Planning site (another brilliant Martha Burtis design being stewarded beautifully by Nina Mikhalevsky out in the open), Tim O’Donnell’s and Jeff McClurken’s Ted Seminar is a featured blog, and Theresa Grana’s Bioinformatics syndicated Lab and Learning notebooks is front and center. It is another way at this community, and it opens up all kinds of possibilities for serendipity.
I find myself using the members directory to search known users and find new ones, I also use it as a kind of trace of who’s on now. And when I see an old friend, I friend them 🙂
The Groups directory is something I am thinking a lot more about. No one has used it really, but in the Looking for Whitman experiment, faculty are using it to direct message/email the entire class, and it works. It is also wold be interesting, as Martha pointed out, to experiment with a class forming a group, which immediuately spawns a blog that they can use to author, or simple work within the forum/wire of the group. What if groups had more of a twitter design for members, and allowed that conversations throughout the site in these unique groups, but then re-aggregated all together? Maybe, or maybe not. We’ll see.
Finally, the Profile page template is undergoing a much needed simplification, and it can be that very dashboard Gardner has talked about again and again, but something that show you your comments, blogs, friends, and various other things that allow you to frame an aggregated identity across the site.
Only time will tell, but I see the BuddyPress suite of features building in a rich means to explore the community that didn’t exist for WPMu before, and that in many ways brings some important sinews of connection between people into the architecture. Grafting that on top of thousands of blogs asn users opens up a space to see if and how people use it, and how might we be able to make it further illustrate the work that is going on throughout UMW Blogs.