Saturday, May 15, 2010

Following - The Implications #2

The immensely popular Blogger social networking feature Following has been with us for over 18 months now, and we've seen quite a few improvements. We had privacy and security concerns about it, in the beginning. Even today, in Blogger Help Forum: How Do I?, we see more bloggers with concerns.
How do I Follow a blog, without cluttering up my Reading List?
and
Can I Follow a blog without showing what other blogs I Follow?
and
How do I include a link to my blog, from my Following picture?
and
How do I know when somebody new decides to Follow my blog?
In the beginning, none of those questions could be answered, with any encouraging details.

Following has gotten better, though, with various site specific options, that should satisfy your dual need for privacy and for publicity.

You start from the "Manage" button at the bottom of your Blogger dashboard, which gives you the "Manage Blogs I'm Following" menu. Similar to your Blogger dashboard, the menu contains a list of the various blogs that you are Following, with a Settings link for each blog. Alternately, after you sign in to Following from any blog that displays the Following gadget, you click on the "Settings" link.

Note that the Following gadget allows you to Follow using any of several different profiles. You have to sign into the right one!
  • Blogger
  • Google
  • Orkut
  • Netlog
  • Plaxo
  • Twitter
Conversely, the dashboard "Manage" button will let you access only your Blogger profile, and you will not have to sign on, specifically.

Depending upon your membership level in any blog, and how you are Following that blog, you'll have quite a few options available to you, from the Settings wizard.
  • Basics.
  • Messaging.
  • Sites you've joined.
  • Manage friends.

Basics gives you the ability to select what profile you wish to use, with various options for each profile. The basic Following profile lets you add or change your picture, and add links to your various sites. Your Blogger, Google, and other profiles, which you edit separately, will have still more options.

For each site, you'll have the option to use any profile that you have setup (which may be any one of the 7 listed above). If you wish to use the default Following profile for any site, you unlink the profile that you are currently using.

The Basics tab will have a link to "Stop following this site" - though you may have to look carefully, to find the link.

Messaging lets you change the email address associated with your photo. For a site which you manage, you'll have the option to receive email announcing a new Follower. For all sites, you'll have the options to receive communications from the site owner, and from the other site members.

Sites you've joined gives you a replica of your master list of Followed sites, with the option to "stop following", for each different site.

Manage friends gives you the ability to manage settings relative to the various Followers with which you setup a dual relationship.

All in all, there are numerous settings which should give you the ability to control your exposure as a Follower, and as a Followed person.

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1 comment:

#1Nana said...

Thank you for a very clear explanation of how it all works. It's very helpful to a not very techy user.