This morning, we rolled out some new social networking features on the Web site and addressed some bugs as well.
The biggest thing we've done is added a new community-building tool called NPR Groups. We now have the ability to create individual communities on the site that feature their own discussion boards, a group blog, event listings, and galleries for user-generated photos and video. They're not unlike the groups you see available on Facebook and other social networking sites.
With today's release, we've set up groups capability for almost 300 NPR member stations and station networks. You can browse or search the list of stations in our new station group directory. Initially, most stations won't have the new tools activated for their group pages, but you can still friend them by going to their group page and clicking the "join" button on the right side of the page. Stations with group pages each get to decide for themselves whether they'll use the new community tools or not, so not all of your favorite stations will have the full functionalities set up. One example of a station that has just activated the community tools on the site is WDAV Classical Public Radio in Davidson, NC. If you've already listed any favorite stations by editing your account on NPR.org, you'll automatically be added to those groups; they'll also appear on your user profile as well.
The new groups tools aren't just for stations. We're also making them available to NPR shows and journalists, so we can roll out new community spaces for a variety of topics. This will happen over the course of the coming weeks and months; I'll post updates about new groups on the blog.
Meanwhile, today's release addresses several bugs and other fixes, including some that were suggested by blog readers.
- Added text to the NPR.org registration page to clarify that user's full names are displayed in their profiles and comments
- Fixed the bug that prevented users with apostrophes, dashes and other characters in their names can register successfully
- Fixed our blog software so blog posts are displayed properly in various parts of the site in relation to our social networking tools
- Comments written with multiple paragraph no longer appear as one long paragraph
Like I said, I'll post updates as new groups roll out. In the meantime, please feel free to let me know if you have any questions or comments.