** UPDATE: Friday, November 18 **
It’s time! We're getting closer to moving, so now is the time to *really* start paying attention! Our estimated move date is in mid-January. Starting next week, you can expect regular updates as dates firm up. Here's what we recommend doing now:
- Check your notification settings. If you're worried about missing any crucial information, make sure that you are set to receive email from BecomeAnEX. Go to http://www.becomeanex.org/edit-profile.php# and make sure that "Announcements from EX" is checked.
- Read Mark's blog. He'll be posting regularly to help you get ready for the move and to be prepared for changes on our new platform.
- Please watch for emails from BecomeAnEX - and read them! You will get specific instructions via email if you need to make changes to your particular account. If something doesn't affect the whole Community, there likely will not be a public post about it. You can always send Mark a private message if you think you may have missed something, or if you don't understand an email you receive.
- Join the EX Community Advisory Board (ECAB). Being an ECAB member will give you opportunities to weigh in and help shape the new platform. Plus, you'll get sneak previews of new features! Sign up here: bit.ly/ECABsignup
- Take a deep breath. Our EX team is working overdrive to make sure that the move goes as smoothly as possible. We are committed to making sure you can focus on why you're here: to quit tobacco and keep the quits going strong! Let's all take a collective ommmmm.
** UPDATE: Thursday, Sept 8
If you have seen a "pardon our dust" message just now, this is the first of our technology changes. More details are available here.
It’s been several months since my last post, so first and foremost, I hope everyone has had an enjoyable summer. Things have been hopping for us behind the scenes and I have some important and exciting updates to share.
EX Is Moving To Jive!
As I mentioned in my blog post back in March, we have been investigating different options for new Community software. Currently the site runs on a platform called Elgg, which is quite outdated and lacks a number of helpful features which are now considered standard among community platforms. After an intensive and rigorous selection process, we recently signed a contract with a software provider called Jive. They support some of the most vibrant online communities, and have a platform that we’re really excited about. The input that you all have shared over the past year was an integral part of this selection process and so helpful in our decision making. Hands down, Jive will provide a community experience that we are confident will meet and exceed your expectations here on EX!
Just a Few of the Reasons We’re Excited About Jive
- Notifications! On the current version of EX, it’s tough to stay up to speed on what’s happening in the Community. This is going to be much easier going forward. In addition, you’ll now be able to mention users or groups of users in your posts by putting the “@” symbol in front of screen name(s) which will send them a notification. It’s (sort of) like wall posts, only so much better!
- Reply by email. If you’re on the go and don’t have time to log in, you will have the ability to just reply to your email message notification and it will go right back into the community. Stay engaged with others, right out of your email inbox!
- Ask questions and start discussions. Jive will make it much easier to see questions that have been posed in the community, especially ones that haven’t been answered yet. Groups will be coming with us, and it will be much easier to find the ones that are most relevant to you. And there will be other ways to contribute beyond just blogs and blog comments: ask a short question, share a quick thought, keep your own journal… and more!
- Sharing your quit date… easily! The new technology is going to make it possible to link your quit date more directly into your personal profile so others can see your commitment to quit or how long it’s been since you had your last cigarette. You won’t need external tools to show this information anymore!
- Mobile, no longer a problem. The new version of EX will look good on every screen size, whether you’re on your personal computer, your tablet, or your smartphone. Access EX, anytime, anywhere, in the way you prefer. It will just work. We’ve been making a few improvements to the mobile experience recently, and while it’s not perfect yet, it will be better soon.
What Does This Mean For You?
The move is planned for November. Yes, it’s happening that soon!
We know this is a place where you choose to spend your precious time and we do not take that for granted. Our intent is to switch over to the new software platform with the LEAST disruption possible. Ideally, there will only be 24 hours when you won’t be able to post to the site. We will communicate exact dates as soon as we know them. And we will communicate it to you often, via the site itself and by email. We will do everything to make sure you’re not caught unaware.
So what’s involved with a change in technologies like this?
Think of it in terms of moving from one house to another. As you might imagine, there’s a LOT of stuff that the EX community has accumulated over the years… hundreds of thousands of blog posts, blog comments, pictures, group discussions…. user profiles and all the content that lives in each person’s profile. We’ll be doing some necessary housekeeping before the move, but for the most part, everything in the house is going with us! We’ve hired the best “moving company” that is bringing the biggest, strongest, heftiest movers to the job (i.e., amazing tech folks, designers, project management staff, etc.). They’ll make sure everything gets where it needs to go, safely and securely!
The Jive platform has a lot of functionality that is available right out of the box. But there are some key decisions that we will need to make about how we want to customize it. This is where your input will be very helpful! We would like to create an EX Community Advisory Board to help gather feedback and input, and make decisions in an efficient way. It will be open to anyone and everyone who wishes to participate. You’ll get a sneak peek of upcoming features in the new experience and the opportunity to provide feedback during the customization phase. What we’ll get are your ideas and reactions to the work we’re doing, which is of the utmost importance to us.
“Please Pardon Our Dust”
You’ll see this phrase in various forms over the next few months. What it means is that we’ve got a big project ahead of us that will ultimately result in a fantastic improvement here on EX. But there may be some bumps and “mess” along the way. We ask for your patience and good humor and continued great ideas as we move ahead.
I hope my excitement is infectious. I have the most amazing team here at Truth Initiative and with our outside partners. I am confident we will deliver an experience that helps to support and nurture the amazing relationships that already exist and the ones that are yet to come here on EX.